"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
Spain Rodriguez Fought the Good Fight - underground comics artist Spain Rodriguez, most famous for his violent antihero Trashman, passed away yesterday.
Tania Blanco is a modern artist who shares her time in France and Spain. She says of her collection Sleepdrunk Vademecum, "The body is made up of a large set of rounded painting formats. Medical instruments, high precision technology, scientific devices, anatomical models, clandestine laboratories and human representation become the object of study and thought. The bizarre represented objects reflect a mixture of past and future, and an ambiguous clinical atmosphere flows in them. On many of these painted surfaces, a soft cool-cold gradient isolates the represented elements and gives a non-gravitational character to the compositions." [via]
"Day by day we pass by vacant lots downtown ... Neighbourhoods that, although having a huge potential, have more and more unused spaces ... Sometimes, the tourists are the ones who open our eyes by mentioning or questioning whether this situation is normal. On other occasions, we pay attention to it for a moment only because the secondary problems that those spaces imply affect us directly. But in most of the cases, they are only a part of our way."Habit Makes Us Blind is a series of colorful images by Spanish studio Espai MGR that seeks to draw attention to the problem of wasted space in urban environments (specifically, in the city of Valencia) -- by building conceptual LEGO structures in them. [via]
This post is a) NSFW or grandmothers, b) Derivative of previous stuff on Metafilter. Having said that, here goes: Canada is a Spanish production company. They do ads, fashion and the best videos I've seen in a very long time. You'd do well to start here. [more inside]
Antonio de Felipe is a Spanish pop artist whose work is heavily influenced by pop culture, Hollywood, classic art and movies, animation, advertising, and simply growing up in Spain. Among the actresses he frequently depicts are Audrey Hepburn (as well as melding different sources) and Marilyn Monroe. He has also recreated some international masterpieces in pop art form. Some may be familiar with his work from the art he created for Pedro Almodóvar's film Live Flesh. Altogether, his work transcends national boundaries while still maintaining a distinct Spanish flavor. [more inside]
Viñetas is a prolific blog from Spain focusing on illustration, vintage comics (sometimes wordless), advertising, humor magazines and other beautiful ephemera, curated by the editor-in-chief of a Spanish comics company. [via Journalista]
Chema Madoz -- photos
Travelling Exhibition of Broken Toys. [flash] A whimsical distraction.
Ahmad Nadalian's work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying them).
The Power of Art? This interesting article becomes extremely clever if you think about some of the basic history of "Guernica". Little-known artist Picasso (see '37 for initial ideas, '45 for completed painting) was commissioned to paint it after the horrific slaughters of the Spanish Civil War. “...Picasso's tour de force would become one of this century's most unsettling indictments of war.” (more inside)