Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I've not had time to blog properly in a long while, but this has become my main repository for the grotesque.

If you're interested, please drop in. I don't follow many people, but always happy to say hello.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

PiĆ¹ Grottesche Del Vaticano

My last post about the Vatican grotesques did not include all my discoveries, so here are a few more I felt like sharing.

Brain is dried and shriveled as an old date, so I've no power left for proper words today. But perhaps these images speak for themselves. So many colours.  (Click to enlarge.)


The Vatican gardens...

*You can only tour with an official guide, so there's no funny business in the holy shrubbery.

I love the idea of acolytes carefully trimming around this portrait to keep the ivy away.

The Fontana Della Peschiera is a definite highlight, built during the reign of Pope Pius IV (Giovanni Angelo Medici), somewhere between 1560 and1565.

Also, there was a turtle.

And another. Two turtles.


I didn't get many close-ups of the mosaic, thanks to the relentless pace set by our tour guide, but here is a nice one I found online:


From the presence of tiny baby turtles in the design, I'm guessing they've inhabited that pond for many generations now.


NB: Late last month a very interesting and talented person passed away. Hasan Niyazi was a big fan of Renaissance art and his blog Three Pipe Problem is excellent. We weren't close friends, but we bonded over our mutual interests in video games and digital art.

If you haven't checked out his site, I highly recommend that you do. I'm sad he's gone, and you will be too after reading some of his work. RIP.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mask of the Beast

Masks can be a wee bit creepy, and many famous horror movie characters wear them, so in the spirit of Halloween (which Australians don't actually celebrate but who cares) I've decided to post some of the masks I found in Venice last year.

*This is also an excuse to share more photos from Venice - which I think I only blogged about once, meaning there are roughly eleventy million pictures left over.

But I guess everyone knows that Venice is lovely.

It is a city with water instead of roads, and boats instead of cars. I don't see how you can improve on that.

Venice is a relatively small place, with a tangle of interconnecting pathways and bridges that defy any kind of sensible mapping. If you are accustomed to moving confidently in straight lines and always knowing where you are going, you might not enjoy navigating so much. But it's perfect for people who like to go in random directions and don't panic when lost. A weirdly liberating experience for those of us with no sense of direction.

Cool fashions are also present.


Anyway, on almost every street there are shops selling masks. These vary widely in complexity and quality, from cheaper and more generic tourist fare...

...to intricate deluxe masks made by true artists.

These are a few of the window displays, which often incorporate a combination of puppets, masks, and puppets wearing masks. Click to enlarge.

Some of the animal ones were truly exceptional. Just wow.

If you're getting a bit of an 'Eyes Wide Shut' vibe, this is no accident. In my wandering I stumbled across the very shop that provided the masks for that film (sorry, can't tell you where it is because I have no idea).

Here is a little intro to the proprietor.

It goes without saying that the shop was magnificent.

I like the wings lady.

Last but not least, one of the most impressive: a huge Medusa mask complete with snakes.

I mean, seriously. Settle down. You're making everyone else look bad.

If you can't make it to Venice for Halloween, you could always watch this documentary instead.

If you do visit, beware of the waters. Even the local fishermen are wary these days...