Saturday, January 19, 2019

NIKOLAOS GYZIS - The Hellenic Art-Master


Nikolaos Gyzis was born in the village of Sklavohori, in Tinos island on the 1st of March 1842, and died in Munich, on the 4th of January 1901. He is considered to be one of the most important Greek painters of the 19th century, of the so called “Munich School”. Throughout his studies he acoomplished great things, and won many prizes in block print, painting and etching.

He grew up in a family of six children. His father, Onoufrios was a carpenter, and his mother, Margarita, a housewife. His family decided to move to Athens in 1850, and that is when the young Nikolaos decides to study at the Athens School of Fine Arts, first as an auditor, and then as a full time student (1854-1864).

In the last years of his studies he meets the rich art lover Nikolaos Nazos, who played a great role in Gyzi’s scholarship from the Institution “Naos tis Evagelistrias tis Tinou”, with which he managed to continue his studies in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.

Gyzis moved to Munich in June 1865, where he met his friend and colleague, Nikiforos Lytras. Nikiforos helped him adjust quickly in the german atmosphere of the time. Hermann Anschütz and Alexander Wagner were his first mentors in Munich. In June 1968 he was accepted to study in the Karl von Piloty laboratory. He completed his studies in Munich in 1871, and the April of the next year Gyzis returned to Athens, in order to transform his family home (Themistokleous street) into an atelier. Along with Nikiforos Lytras, he traveled in 1873 to Asia Mino
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Read the full biography HERE....

Several of his works to the videos that follows:


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Jack London and The Forefathers of Sword & Sorcery




Article taken from: 

"I have carefully gone over, in my mind, the most powerful men – that is, in my opinion – in all of the world's literature and here is my list: Jack London, Leonid Andreyev, Omar Khayyam, Eugene O'Neill, William Shakespeare. All these men, and especially London and Khayyam, to my mind stand out so far above the rest of the world that comparison is futile, a waste of time."

 --Robert E. Howard, 1928

 " As far as I'm concerned, [Jack London] stands head and shoulders above all other American writers."

 -- Robert E. Howard 1933

Jack London was born on this date in 1876 and we should be damned glad of it. His intense and gritty prose, imbued with the bleak lyricism of a street poet, inspired admiration not only in Robert E. Howard, as the quotes above demonstrate, but also other sword and sorcery authors as well as a few of his fellow "forefathers."

When it comes to exerting a direct influence on the first generation of sword and sorcery authors, London had by far the greatest effect on REH. Howard boasted several London volumes on his bookshelf and you can bet he read plenty more than that. White Fang isn't just a tale about a wolf-dog, it's the story of a barbarian progressively making his way in civilization and ultimately triumphing. The Sea-Wolf features one of the most memorable hardasses known to literature in the person of Wolf Larsen. There's a good chance that REH had Francis X. Gordon be nicknamed "Wolf" Gordon during the Pacific phase of El Borak's career as an homage to that novel. Before Adam tells a tale of prehistory that obviously influenced both Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.


However, the Conan/S&S fan's greatest debt to Jack comes by way of The Star Rover. In 1930, REH had this to say about London's novel:

"London's The Star Rover is a book that I've read and re-read for years, and that generally goes to my head like wine."

The Star Rover's protagonist is being regularly tortured. To escape the agony, he frees his mind and lets it drift back to previous incarnations. Check out these quotes from Chapter 21:
"In single jacket trances I have lived the many lives involved in the thousand-year-long odysseys of the early drifts of men. Heavens, before I was of the flaxen-haired AEsir, who dwelt in Asgard, and before I was of the red-haired Vanir, who dwelt in Vanaheim, long before those times I have memories (living memories) of earlier drifts, when, like thistledown before the breeze, we drifted south before the face of the descending polar ice cap."

"Mitra likewise was a good old Aryan god, ere he was filched from us or we discarded him."
 
That first paragraph is paraphrased time and again in "The Hyborian Age" and in most of the James Allison yarns. That second paragraph, I guarantee you, is why Mitra was made the god of the Hyborians by Robert E. Howard. Not Roman "Mithras." London's Mitra. There are other little bits found throughout The Star Rover that REH used in various tales, but those two paragraphs constitute a significant chunk of the worldbuilding found in Howard's tales of the Hyborian Age.



As far as other "First Generation" sword and sorcery authors are concerned, we just don't know about either CL Moore's or Henry Kuttner's feelings toward London. Clark Ashton Smith's mentor, George Sterling, was good friends with Jack. We know that CAS deeply regretted not having the funds to go visit Jack when London extended an invitation to Clark to come stay at Glen Ellen. Fritz Leiber was one of the first fantasy scholars to spot the influence of The Star-Rover on REH's Hyborian Age. Fritz also had London make a cameo in his classic, Our Lady of Darkness. 


So, as with Harold Lamb, London is an S&S forefather whose main influence seems to have flowed chiefly through Robert E. Howard. However, even moreso than with Lamb, that influence was massive. Jack London struck a very deep chord in the soul of REH.

I mentioned that a few of the other "forefathers" were also fans of Jack's work to some extent. This is absolutely true of Edgar Rice Burroughs, who rated London at least as high as Haggard and Kipling, to the point where he thought about doing a biography of Jack. A. Merritt was a fan and Harold Lamb probably was as well. As it turns out, Lovecraft read The Star-Rover and liked it. It is also possible that London's tale of savagery and cosmic dread, "The Red One," was read by HPL.

So, celebrate the birthday of a great American author whose work continues to reverberate here in the twenty-first century.

For a treasure trove of Jack London info and great e-texts, check out this website.

“I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.”
— Jack London

SEE ALSO:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Out of The Deep Forest


 
A hatch stood open, a rider appeared.
A cold mist had lain upon the field.
Nine black horses and nine armed men.
An eye stared furiously down from a flag.

Silence fell, as the company stopped,
They stopped in a circle around the stone.
Silently they rode towards it, and disappear when they arrived
For stones were a thought filled with power.


Stars on a sky, that never fall down.
Lightning in a night that lasts forever.
A thousand cold winters, with only chill and hatred.
There is no summer without winter.



In an old forest, where trolls and gnomes wandered,
There was a stone that moved and came to life.
Nine armed men,on nine grey proud horses,
Bore a flag upon which the eye appeared.

Each night is a new darkness.
Each winter I freeze, And yet never shall I cry,
For proud I did ride times behind
Out of the deep forest.


                                               Original title : En As I Dype Skogen
                                         Written by : Count Grishnackh - 1993 a.y.p.s.
                                 Taken from : DARKTHRONE - Transylvanian Hunger


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

C.G. Jung - The Demigod and The Man of Action





Carl Gustav Jung, interview at "Cosmopolitan Magazine" 
(New York - January 1939)
Taken by H. R. Knickerbocker

 
"Hitler is a spiritual vessel, a semi-deity or even better, a Myth. Mussolini is a man and therefore everything in Fascist Italy has a more human character than in Nazi Germany, where things happen by revelation. As a man Hitler scarcely exists. In any event he disappears behind the role… I have seen the Duce and the Fuhrer together when on an official visit. I had the good fortune to find myself only a short distance from them and thus I could study them well. I saw Mussolini looking like a child at the passing of a parade of German soldiers (goose step) and with the passage of the cavalry military band, where the cavalry drummers directed the horses with pressure from their legs alone; Mussolini would use his hands to strike the big drums of his thighs. (We, in Chile, know this well, or knew it, since our cavalry still marches in goose step, luckily). Mussolini did not hide his aesthetic emotion with the spectacle and, on returning to Italy, introduced the goose step into the Italian Army. In truth this marching is the most impressive that can be seen… 

In comparison with Mussolini, Hitler gave me the impression of a frame ("scaffolding"), a wooden structure covered with clothes, an automaton with a mask, like a "robot," or with the mask of a "robot." During the entire ceremony of the military parade he never smiled and remained aloof. He did not show any mark of the human. His expression was inhuman, that of a being with a continuous purpose, with no sense of humour. (Humour…! Something the beings of the Kali Yuga make so much use of, and the Demons too…) Hitler seemed the double of a real person
(I have put this in italics because of its importance) as if Hitler the manwere within, like an appendage, deliberately hidden so as not to interfere with the mechanism."

 


"What an extraordinary difference between Hitler and Mussolini! With Mussolini one feels that one meets with a human being. With Hitler one is astonished ("scared"). We know we can never talk with this man, because there is no one there. He is not a man, but a collective. He is not an individual but a whole nation. (A Tulku, in pristine and sacred words). I accept as literally true that he has no personal friends. Hitler can not be explained by means of personal contact, as a work of art can not be explained by the personality of the artist. The great work of art is the result of the entire world in which the artist lives and of the millions of people who surround him and of thousands of currents of thought…
Mussolini can find a successor, but I see no one who could replace Hitler…"

 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tania Stene - An Artist that Works from The Shadows




Tania Stene is a Norwegian woman known as "Nacht" and except her participation in the excellent project AGHAST, she is also well-known amongst the Black Metal circles as the painter of some of the most iconic covers of the Norwegian scene. Over the years, there are no details known about her personal life and also there is really very few selected photos of her around. 
Even if there are not good Norwegian albums any more, I hope she will continue to practice her craft as in my opinion she had really the touch of capturing the darkness and melancholy of the Norse landscapes.

For those not familiar with her artistic works. Below are some of them.

ULVER - Nattens Madrigal (1997)

ULVER - Bergtatt (1995)

BURZUM - Hlidskjalf (1999)

BURZUM - Daudi Baldrs (1997)

BURZUM - Balder's Dod



DARKTHRONE - Ferdasyn (1994)

DARKTHRONE - Taakeferd (1993)

SATYRICON - The King of he Shadowthrone


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