Tag Archives: art history

Cigars and Beer

15 Dec

Almost finished with this Art History paper and I happily stumbled upon a great little poem in a book of poetry compiled by Joseph Knight in 1897 that is devoted to Pipe and Pouch: The Smoker’s Own Book of Poetry.  The tiny book gave me some great examples of how smoking, smoke, pipes, cigars and cigarettes were commonly referred to as women, brides, wives and lovers, but it also gave me these sweet stanzas:


by George Arnold


with my beer

I sit,

While golden moments flit.


They pass

Unheeded by;

And, as they fly,


Being dry,

sit idly sipping here

My beer.

Oh finer far

Than fame or riches are

The graceful smoke — wreaths of this cigar!


Should I

Weep, wail, or sigh?

What if luck has passed me by?

What if my hopes are dead,

My pleasures fled?

Have I not still

My fill

Of right good cheer, —

Cigars and beer?

Go, whining youth,


Go, weep and wail,

Sigh and grow pale,

Weave melancholy rhymes

On the old times,

Whose joys like shadowy ghosts appear, —

But leave me to my beer!

Gold is dross

Love is loss;

So, if I gulp my sorrows down,

Or see them drown

In foamy draughts of old nut-brown,

Then do I wear the crown

Without a cross!”

Knight, Joseph, compiler. Pipe and Pouch: The Smoker’s Own Book of Poetry. Boston: L.C. Page and Company, Inc., 1897.

Om nomnomnom

15 Nov

In my perpetual state of crackedoutdom, preparing for my senior Art History exam, I sometimes stumble upon gems like this…

Hans Baldung Grien, Death and the Maiden, 1518-1520

Hans Baldung Grien, Death and the Maiden, 1518-20

Death looks more than a little peckish here as he takes a chomp out of this already dead looking lady’s cheek.  I’ve seen plenty of memento mori in my 4 years of studying art history but this is the first uncluttered image of Death literally owning some poor girl.  Usually, the subject is portrayed through a single skull, still lifes, dances of the dead or the wildly chaotic scenes from the Last Judgement.  The composition here is focused, central and sparse.  Of particular interest is Grien’s use of a black background which is traditional for portraiture or still life painting.  Reminds me of the lines from Snoop’s latest musical contribution to the world, Gangsta Luv, “it’s like True Blood/I sink my teeth in”.

Meat Stall

8 Nov

As I peruse and devour every image in Janson’s History of Art for my senior Art History exam, I forgot how much I love the Dutch painters of the Renaissance and Reformation periods in 16th cent. Northern Europe.  In particular, I love the realism and naturalism of the everyday genre paintings such as Pieter Aertsen’s The Meat Stall (1551, oil on panel).

The Meat Stall

This Dutch style and genre of painting continues into the Baroque and only gets more awesome.  What’s especially interesting is during the Baroque in the Netherlands, we see a focus on women and their place in the market economy, management of their household and educating their daughters in the field.  It illustrates their importance in Dutch society, the wealth of the state and prowess of the artist in depicting the plethora of the markets.  Perhaps it is partly my art history training that makes me so enamored of market places and especially the meat counters — formal analysis of paintings such as this seems to carry over into reality.


3 Nov

I’m in the early stages of writing a research paper for my art history senior seminar about the portrayal of women with beer or in bars during both the Impressionist and Art Nouveau era.  The works I’m looking at now are Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882), Picasso’s Le Moulin de Gallete (1900) and the popular Art Nouveau commercial posters.  It kind of sucks that now the popular art surrounding women and beer is restricted to buxom, semi-nude tanned girls.  I somehow found this image, and can’t remember where, that while still erotic was much more interesting artistically than the Budweiser girls.


The colors and medium are interesting as is the fact that these women aren’t placed in any given context as the other works.  In Picasso’s painting, the women are clustered in a crowded bar, mostly blurs of moving color but with staunch white almost vampire-like teeth smiling out of lurid red lips.  For whom are these women posing with their full mugs of beer, almost fully exposed?

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