Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Blog Explained

This Blog has a core place for examples, information, historical interpretation, geocaching, and more for the two courses I taught for this year's London Quarter at Cal Poly Pomona. There are 9 student blogs associated with this one in which students fulfill assignments given to them. The two courses CLS 362 and CLS 482 focus finding key historical points in London and on philosophy of art in London as only London can make possible with its many wonderful (and free) museums.

In the first 3 weeks, the course was anchored in a Blackboard website, but from early on we migrated to the set of blogs made possible by Blogspot. The student blogs developed through answering weekly assignments and mirrored this core blog. All of the students mastered the basics of blogging. Some did so very well. Priscilla Ngo's blog is a good illustration of this, but do look at all of them at the URL's indicated in the previous posting.

Best,
Jim Manley

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Garsington (and the End of the Quarter)


We return to the US tomorrow morning. The time has been incredibly compressed. I managed to get to a performance of Fidelio at the Garsington Opera, primarily to see the manor and grounds, but the opera was first class. Perhaps I'll have occasion to say more in this Blog.

But for those of you who are following this blog from the US and elsewhere, don't forget to check out the student blogs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Freud Museum in Hampstead

The original couch was in Vienna but Freud did come here in 1938 because Hitler had made staying in Vienna untenable.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Which Keats' Poem? Not "On Seeing the Elgin..." but...



The British Museum label identifies "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; in particular,
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

But he must have been inspired by multiple objects: not only the Grecian Urn, but paintings by Claude Lorrain and Raphael which were on display at the British Museum in 1819. And the poem "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles" doesn't at first glance make reference to the Elgin Marbles at all!

From Pope's "Rape of the Lock"

What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing--This verse to Caryll, muse! is due:
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays...
See also this source.

Tintern Abbey

...And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear, -- both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Keats 'On Seeing Elgin Marbles for the First Time'

My spirit is too weak; mortality
Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagined pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.
Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep,
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep
Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an indescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old Time -with a billowy main,
A sun, a shadow of a magnitude.

Johnson's House; Keats' House


Not many years separate Dr. Johnson, a classicist in the spirit of Alexander Pope and Wordsworth, the Romantic Poet. Yet there is a a great shift of taste. Not only can it be seen in the poetry, but also in the architecture. Consider these two houses.

The Keats' House (white) is in Hampstead at Keat's Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR. Johnson's is 7 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE.

Madonna of the Rocks


The one on the left is, of course, by Leonardo and is a study for his Madonna of the Rocks. There are some quite interesting links on Leonardo's work, including one that argues the Mona Lisa is a self-portrait of the artist; also, a quite interesting theory about her smile, and a final one about her identity. Here is a place for more information about the Madonna of the Rocks (Leonardo's model is quite lovely. Some might have argued that she could have been the model for the Mona Lisa.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Westminster Tour


The Window in the Original Westminster Hall. (With Perspective Correction.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Perspective; From Dr. Johnson's House


I do use perspective correction in Photoshop, but I thought it would be fun to leave this curve in. It comes from the the iPhone's short focal length I believe.

The Square in Front of Dr. Johnson's House


Not busy when I visited after the London Rainbow #1 Red Cache

Looking from Dr. Johnson's House


And the square from the second floor of the house.

Doctor Johnson's House


This was the house in which the great Dr. Johnson wrote a considerable part of his Dictionary.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Side-by-Side Comparisons: Bernini Pair 2

Side-by-Side Comparisons: Bernini Pair 1

Still More: Bernini's Rape of Proserpina



More Comparisons: Daphne and Apollo: Bernini


Daphne and Apollo by Bernini at the Villa Borghese in Italy. Can we compare one work to another?

Want to see a Bernini in London? Check this National Gallery Listing.

Still on Comparisons: the 250 Top Movies

With computers and the internet it is possible to track statistical trends easily. For example, there appears to be considerable consensus on the top 250 films, according to the IMDB Database. Does this reflect properties in the objects, commonalities on the part of the perceivers, or some combination of both?

For Analysis II


Same idea for analysis. Is one stronger (better) in several or more respects?

For Analysis I

Here are two faces. Compare them as Rosenberg would -- in respects. See if you can come to a summative conclusion. ("Over all, considering all of the respects, the one on the [left, right] is better."

Tracey Emin - Cindy Sherman


There are some really interesting small galleries in London which are very much worth visiting. Tracey Emin has an exhibition coming up at the White Cube Gallery (Mason's Yard Branch). It opens on the 29th, though. Raqib Shaw has an exhibition up at the Huston Branch of the White Cube.

Cindy Sherman, the photographer (above) -- and more, does have an exhibition at Spruth Magers. Well worth a look. Check out the Wiki article on her.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Rosenberg Criteria - Basic Form


These will give you the general idea.

Master Pupil Pairs 4


One is by Picasso. The other is by a lesser artist. Can you tell which is which using the Rosenberg criteria?

Master Pupil Pairs 3


One of these was done by the Northern Renaissance artist Durer. The other by a minor artist. Can you tell which is which?

Master Pupil Pairs 2

One of these is a Leonardo. Can you tell which using the Rosenberg criteria?

Master Pupil Pairs 1

Is one better than the other? Apply the Rosenberg criteria.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adding Content to Your Bloomsbury Members

Use your creativity here. Some obvious examples would be to include poetry examples, say, for Vita Sackville West. There may be You Tube performances of her poetry. Same for T.S. Eilot. You could link to the poetry examples on my blog or on sites of your choice.

Dolly mentioned the Virginia Woolf walk to visit her many houses. That is a natural. One could move jump from one to the next. The placemarks could feature pictures from the Google community, Panoramio's, or yours.

There could be references on placemarks to the film about Virginia Woolf ("The Hours"), or about Sylvia Plath ("Sylvia"). It's probably you could find some heavy Keynesian referenences, perhaps in Google Books.

If there is a composer in the Bloomsbury group, you could link that person to a performance of his or her music as I've done with the Tallis piece and (the demolished) Nonsuch Palace.

Again, feel free to use music along with your own narration. Assume limited bandwidth, so hold back a bit on what you could do. Probably two minutes is more realistic than 5 minutes as an upper limit. Go to it!

Same Tour Example, but via Google Earth, not the Plug-In

The same tour file can be played in both Google-Earth and the Google Earth Plug-in. If you wanted access to all of the controls as well as the opportunity to have a lot more room for your views and tour, then you would want to open the tour in Google Earth 5.0 itself.

To do so, you need the tour file on your own computer. You can get it if someone sends it to you as an attachment. You can also get it by browsing to its URL. In this case, the file in on my Sites server at
http://sites.google.com/site/manleysglobetrekkingapps/Home/NonsuchTourPack.kmz?attredirects=0

What I have found is that clicking on this file gets you an invitation to download it. I haven't found a way for it to be opened remotely by Google Earth. But no matter. Download it and save -- and remember where!

You can open the file in one of two ways: by clicking on it directly. This will launch Google Earth -- if you have it already installed, of course. Or, by opening Google Earth and then opening that file within Google Earth.

Once opened, the tour will appear in a folder in "Temporary Places" on the left side of Google Earth's window (under "Places"). Find the "tour" symbol in that folder and highlight it. This is the surest way to launch the tour. Double clicking the "tour" will launch the tour. You may also note that a "tour" slider/icon is enabled when the tour is highlighted. You can push "play" just to the right of the slider. (One supposed that it should easier than this. The plug-in starts the tour immediately, but not so in Google Earth.)

Once the tour is started you can control it with the tour controls in the lower left of the screen. Mouse-over that area if they disappear. They will reappear. There will certain limitations on what you can do if you remain in the tour but they are minimal (opening new folders, for example). In general, you can zoom in, zoom out, use the rotation and tilt controls even while in the tour. (The tour is "paused" when this happens.) But if you mouse-over the controls, they reappear and can be used to start/stop the tour and to exit from the tour.

Tour Example: Short Tour from Bloomsbury to Nonsuch Palace

This tour from Bloomsbury to the site of the demolished Nonsuch Palace is now available over on the Phoenix Hill Blog. I put it there so you would expect the minute-or-so tie-up of computer resources while it processes the tour.

This tour was created using the steps posted previously. The *.kmz file was placed on my Sites server, the location recorded, and copied into Google Gadget, which generated the code that brings up the tour.

The tour takes you from the Anglo headquarters at 22 Bloomsbury Square to the site of the demolished Nonsuch Palace where Thomas Tallis' Spem in Alium was performed, circa 1570, early in Queen Elizabeth's reign.

In the tour you will see a placemark pop up which has a link to the You Tube performance of this remarkable piece. Clicking on the link causes the piece to play almost immediately in the plug-in window (requiring an adjustment as you'll see). You may start at the Title of this post or here.

Duo Seraphim

If You Tube has Spem in Alium then they surely must have Duo Seraphim by Monteverdi, a part of the 1610 Vespers.

Spem in Alium

It is amazing how much music You Tube now has on it. I had no problem finding performances of Yo Yo Ma and M. Rostropovich doing Beethoven's Cello Sonata #4 (Opus #102), and there were others as well. I therefore looked for one of my all time favorite pieces, Spem in Alium, and found it uploaded in several forms, the 40 part motet composed by Thomas Tallis. The link above is to the most listened-to posting. The sound is amazing. It may be that that is because the video is minimized with a slow slide show. I was using some good quality speakers in class and it came through amazingly well. The link is on the title or can be found here. Lyrics translated from the Latin appear below courtesy of Wikipedia.

I have never put my hope in any other but in you,
O God of Israel
who can show both anger
and graciousness,
and who absolves all the sins of suffering man
Lord God,
Creator of Heaven and Earth
be mindful of our lowliness

Creating an Embedded Tour Player in Your Blog (II)


Let's assume you have a "MyTour.kmz" file on a server. (You need a server for this -- Google Sites will do fine. If you are maintaining a web site, you can put your file there.)

Check out this tutorial on creating embedded content. It will give you all you need.
  • But here is a tip. Go here to get the Google Gadget that generates the code which embeds the player in your browser. Plug in the URL to your "MyTour.kmz" in the appropriate field. (You'll see the Gadget loading your tour.) But in addition you need to size the player screen size. Typically, it will be too large. I use 320 x240 which seems to work better. Also, you can name your tour here.
  • Once you plug in the URL and change the screen size on the Google Gadget, press "Preview" and you should see your tour running in the gadget. This is a very good sign! Now you are ready to generate the code.
  • Press "Get the code"; at the bottom you will see the code. Select it (Control-A) and copy it (Control-C). Now you are ready to include the code in your Blog page.
  • Go to you Blog. Create a "New Post"; fill in the Title "My Such and So Tour"; then select the "HTML" edit tab (rather than the "Compose" tab). In the window below, paste the code. That's it!
  • Publish; View: now you should see the embedded player playing your tour. Pretty Cool!
  • You can go back an edit this post and put text above the code in the "HTML" tab if you want additional explanation about the tour there. Or, if it is running, leave well enough alone!

Creating a Tour in Google Earth 5.0 (I)



First, make sure you have Google Earth 5.0 up and running. Earlier versions don't support making tours. Next,
  • Review the Tour-Making Tutorial from Google Earth. This should give you all you need to know. Read closely, however, how to add sound tracks and include tours within tours.
  • Once you have your tour named, saved, and in a particular folder on your computer, you may send it to a friend as an email attachment. Click on the attachment, and Google Earth should launch and open your tour. It's as easy as that!
  • If you don't want to send an attachment (some can get pretty big), you can serve it from a website. If you don't have a server check out Google Sites. Create your own site for free. Upload your *.kmz file to your site.
  • Note the URL of the saved *.kmz file on your server. Send the URL to a friend in an email. Now that friend can click on the file, be prompted to save it on his computer. When this done, you can double click on it, launching Google Earth which will play your tour. Alternatively, you can open Google Earth and then open that file, playing the tour. It is as simple as that.
  • One tip: place overlays, tracks, old maps -- anything that is enabled on your "Places" menu --close together -- in one folder. Google Earth doesn't do this automatically. Here is what Frank Taylor wrote to me when I could not see the 1842 map: You have to put the GPS track (and any other KML content) in the file along with the Tour placemark (I recommend putting it in a folder). If the content is not present in the file it can't load or show the content.
    For example:
    [] My Places
    >[] My Tour File
    >>[] Folder for content
    >>>* My GPS Track
    >>>* Placemark 1(2,3)
    >>*My Tour

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Link to Google Earth 5.0 Tour Embeds

I made a link to these examples because you should be prepared to have your computer "Gulp" on them for a few minutes as the requisites are downloaded.

Here is the direct link to the shorter example.

Rostropovich Plays the Same Piece


Part 1

Sound: Yo Yo Ma plays Beethoven's Cello Sonata #4 Opus 102 Part I


If we closely control the kind of aesthetic object to be evaluated, as Jakob Rosenberg does with his master-pupil pairs in On Quality in Art, then can we make objective value judgments? (Or, more nearly objective value judgments?)

Suppose we were to do this in music. Compare, for example, two versions of the same orchestral work such as Beethoven's Cello Sonata Opus #102. Let's try it. Here is Ma's version.

At Night, Outside, at the Globe


The actors appeared off-handedly on stage and arranged themselves not more than a few feet in front of this groundling who was standing about 4 deep in front of the stage. They crooned to the audience, very softly at first - not competing with the ambient conversation level. It became quiet and the performance was underway (not before a Renaissance tune and lyrics about turning off your cell phone and not taking pictures though).

It was special being at the Globe. The sky was still quite light and the breeze sharp because we were outdoors. I had on a heavy jacket and was glad I had brought it. The stage was naturally lit until well into the performance. There are so many components to "a review." Is the play the focus? Or the whole experience? The play may not be performed ideally, yet the experience can be very positive. The experience itself is larger. The night air, the expectation of the audience, the emphasis on music by the player-actors.

But what of the play itself? I had asked Laurie Maguire, the "Setting the Stage" lecturer and author on Shakespeare, whether there was not "enough tradgedy" in tonight's play. This had been the common theme of the reviews I had read. Her answer was that the play was performed as both a comedy and a tragedy. (An audience member chimed in that you would "two for one") Look for comedy -- bawdiness (it was indeed), slapstick, over-acting. Enjoy the comic aspects of young love. The performance wasn't "tragic enough" only if the expectation was that it would be a pure tragedy, which it was not.

Thus primed, I watched Romeo dart and float about the stage. Adetomiwa Edun (who reminded me a a slightly younger Barack Obama) was effortless in his movement. But for me, the effortlessness/weightlessness made Romeo less substantial -- more of a wraith than a real figure. He was wonderful at what he was doing, but was that what Romeo would be doing?

Juliet, played by Ellie Kendrick, was very young, though not the "thirteen" that the nurse attested to. I found her performance more credible than Edun's, though she was less enchanting than either Claire Danes in the Luhrmann film or than Olivia Hussey in Franco Zeffirellii's 1968 film production. (I remember reading the review of this latter film in Time magazine.)

Lawrie Maguire described her a "gritty" -- and that she was. She had no fear of Friar Lawrence's potion that would have her waking up in a tomb. Her challenging her parents was equally impressive. (I didn't remember the senior Capulet to be so pompous and peremptory with her.) She contributed to the bawdiness as well emphasizing "part" in "...in other part of a man." Even Claire Danes left this emphasis alone. Kendrick's Juliet was a young, gritty, stubborn, sexy girl. But just at the edge of adolescence, an Oksana Baiul rather than Nancy Kerrigan in the 1994 Olympics.

Maguire commented that Aristotle's concept of "tragic flaw" did not necessarily mean "character flaw" as is most commonly understood. Rather, it could include bad luck, of which there are very many examples in this play. Friar Lawrence's letter couldn't be delivered to Romeo because Friar John was quarantined en route because of fears about the plague. The question is whether having been led to identify with the characters, the audience member is drawn through a purgation of his emotions, a real catharsis. [To be Continued...]

Your Blog URLs

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Alternate to Geocaching.com


Waymarking.com is a viable alternative to Geocaching.com in that you don't need to leave or maintain a physical cache. Waymarking.com also has a category for tours. I would suggest this route. That is, develop a tour -- say like a tour of the Bloomsbury group houses -- and post that on Waymarking. The example is a tour of Bedford, UK.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Bloomsbury Resource

The membership of this group is not clearly defined. This resource is more inclusive.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not a Window Washer but a....


Roof washer on the roof over the Great Court of the Museum.

British Museum: Foster Renovation of the Great Court


You should have seen what was there before!

More Lapiths and Centuars


Who is winning?

British Museum: To Look For


Battle of the Lapthis and Centaurs.

The Bloomsbury Group


A very nice site besides that of Wikipedia. This features Virginia Woolf only. And Ottoline Morrell only. Maybe the best scheme is to (1) compile a list of all the Bloomsbury Group members. (Depending on the source, some are included, others not. Ottoline Morrell is not included sometimes, but was influential (and romantically involved with members); Bertrand Russell should be included, and so on. (2) Search them on the English Heritage "Blue Plaques" website here.

Other Poems of Interest

Robert Frost's "After Apple Picking"; Donald Hall's "My Son, My Executioner" (two versions); a more readable version; Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening"; Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"' Vita Sackvile West's "And So It Ends"

Eliot's "The Hollow Men"


This is somewhat more accessible than his "Wasteland" or the Four Quartets.

Sylvia Plath's "Insomniac"


I remember researching this poem in the basement of the original Manuscript Room (now in the British Library) of the British Museum.

Fell Walking (and Photo Annotation)


I'm exploring ways to display photos, especially trip photos, which so often don't have good annotation, so you don't know what you are looking at (or looking for). We have the capability of producing stunning photographs but we often (and I include myself) don't let the viewer know enough about what is being viewed. So I tried to do a better job in documenting my fell-walking (okay - reading hiking in the mountains) with better annotation.

In doing this I took advantage of Blogspot's willingness to offer multiple blogs. The link to my Fell Walking Blog is above. It may be that the best photo-sharing application is a blog!