Brine Shine

Study of waves, wave-crests and foam by the Armenian artist Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900)

Aivazovsky was a citizen of Imperial Russia whose name is Հովհաննես Այվազյան in Armenian and Иван Айвазовский in Russian.


Hans Holbein the Younger, Bildnis eines jungen Kaufmannes (1541) / Portrait of a Young Merchant

Previously pre-posted portrait posts:

Fur King Hal — Holbein’s portrait of Henry VIII
Anne’s Hans’ — Holbein’s portrait of Anne Cresacre


Cornelis de Heem, Stilleven met fruitmand / Still Life with Basket of Fruit (c. 1654)
(click for larger)

Note: The title of this incendiary intervention is a blend (or mash-up, as the non-conformist maverick community might say) of Latin cornucopia, “horn of plenty”, and Greek scopos, σκόπος, “seeing”.

Eyeway to Shell

Previously pre-posted:

Eyeway to Ell — a better paronamasia than this one…

Ruff Stuff

Zelfportret (1601) by Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638) (pron. roughly OO-tuh-vaal), as seen in Phaidon’s 500 Self-Portraits

Previously pre-posted:

She-ShellPerseus Rescuing Andromeda (1611) by Wtewael

Rock’n’Roll Suislide

Q. Each face of a convex polyhedron can serve as a base when the solid is placed on a horizontal plane. The center of gravity of a regular polyhedron is at the center, therefore it is stable on any face. Irregular polyhedrons are easily constructed that are unstable on certain faces; that is, when placed on a table with an unstable face as the base, they topple over. Is it possible to make a model of an irregular convex polyhedron that is unstable on every face?

Portrait of Luca Pacioli (1495)

Portrait of Luca Pacioli (1495)

A. No. If a convex polyhedron were unstable on every face, a perpetual motion machine could be built. Each time the solid toppled over onto a new base it would be unstable and would topple over again.

 — From “Ridiculous Questions” in Martin Gardner’s Mathematical Magical Show (1965), chapter 10.


Perseus Releases Andromeda by Joachim Wtewael (mirrored)

Joachim Wtewael (sic), Perseus Rescuing Andromeda (1611) (mirrored)

When I first came across this painting in a recent edition of Arthur Cotterell’s Classic Mythology,* it had mutated in two ways: it was mirror-reversed (as above) and Wtewael’s name (pronounced something like “EET-a-vaal”) was printed “WIEWAEL”. At least, I assume the painting was mirror-reversed, because almost all versions on the web have Andromeda on the left, which means that Perseus is holding his sword in his right hand, as you would expect.

I think I prefer the mirrored version, though I don’t know whether that’s because it was the first one I saw. In either version, it is a rich and dramatic painting, full of meaning, seething with symbolism. It’s displayed in the Louvre and if French etymology had been a little different, I could have called it La Conque d’Andromède. Here is the commoner version:
Perseus Releases Andromeda by Joachim Wtewael

*Mythology of Greece and Rome (Southwater 2003).