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Article

Virginia Miller

Stone sculptures from Mesoamerica representing a supine male figure, approximately life-size, whose backbone is bent in an anatomically impossible position. His feet are flat on the ground, knees drawn up, and head turned sharply toward the viewer. The hands grasp a round or rectangular receptacle resting on the abdomen.

The largest number (eighteen) occurs at Chichen Itza, where the first excavated example was discovered in 1875 by the explorer Augustus Le Plongeon. He dubbed the sculpture “chacmool,” which he believed meant “powerful warrior” in Maya, although it is generally translated as “red” or “great” jaguar paw. The inaccurate term has since been applied to all examples, regardless of culture.

Although difficult to date, chacmools first appear between 800 CE and 1000 CE. They are found contemporaneously at Chichen Itza and Tula, where a dozen examples are known. The sculptures occur in the Tarascan region, and as far afield as Costa Rica and El Salvador. There are several Aztec ...

Article

American library in Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN, founded in 1965. The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML; formerly the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library) contains over 115,000 microfilm and digital images of medieval, Renaissance, early modern and Eastern Christian manuscripts. To fulfil its mission of preserving endangered manuscripts and making them more accessible to scholars, HMML photographs entire manuscript libraries that lack the resources to preserve their own collections, are inaccessible to researchers, or are in immediate danger of destruction. Until 2003, HMML photographed entire manuscripts on black and white microfilm and shot selected illuminations in colour. When the Library switched to digital photography in 2003, it shot entire volumes in colour and recorded codicological information.

The vast majority of HMML’s holdings reproduce texts predating 1600. Nearly half of HMML’s Western manuscripts derive from libraries in Austria and Germany, but HMML also houses significant collections from Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and England. The Maltese collections are particularly important and include the Archives of the Knights of Malta. HMML has photographed collections of Eastern Christian manuscripts since the 1970s, and its collections of Armenian, Syriac, and Christian Arabic manuscripts are becoming the most significant resource for the study of Eastern Christian manuscripts in the world. HMML has by far the world’s largest collection of Ethiopian manuscripts preserved on microfilm and in digital form....

Article

Mark A. Castro

(b Mexico City, Nov 5, 1956)

Mexican painter, draftsman, engraver, and video artist. From 1976 to 1980 Lara studied visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (ENAP). Her first exhibition, entitled Scissors, was held at ENAP in 1977 and consisted of ten cartoon drawings and an artist’s book.

Lara’s work during the late 1970s explored the conditions of women in Mexican society, interrogating everyday household objects—irons and ironing boards, refrigerators, baby bottles—and their role as traditional symbols of femininity. Her later paintings further examine female identity via images of flowers, often distorted to convey both beauty and horror.

In addition to painting, Lara is known for her artist’s books and has spoken to the deep relationship in her practice between literature and the visual arts. A series of engravings entitled Alzheimer (2007), exhibited at the Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público in Mexico City, explore the construction and unraveling of memory. The series later inspired one of the artist’s video animations, ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Reinthal, Switzerland, June 21, 1962).

Swiss video artist and installation artist. Her unusual first name comes from the joining of her given name with her nickname Pipi, after the storybook character Pippi Longstocking. She trained at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, studying commercial art, illustration and photography (1982–6). At this time she was making animated cartoons and building stage sets for bands, which influenced her later practice with its MTV aesthetic and fast, colourful scenes. She then went on to study audio-visual design at the Schule für Gestaltung, Basle, graduating in 1988 and later settling in Zurich. Her video I’m Not a Girl Who Misses Much (1986; see 1996 exh. cat.) demonstrates her interest in stretching the technical possibilities of the medium, for example by distorting the picture or by speeding up and slowing down the image, so that the medium becomes integral to the theme rather than simply a method of documentation. In this work Rist sings and screams the title refrain, echoing the opening lines of the Beatles song, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’, like a pretty pop icon pushed over the edge into hysteria. Rist’s work tends not to have a strong narrative; instead the images and sounds produce an open-ended, intense situation, with the protagonist (often herself) presented as a warped version of the glamorous, vacant girls of advertising. She also incorporates her videos into installations, as in ...