Category Archives: A — BLOG

Image of the Month

Image of the Month

Thomp­son (left) & Macken­zie (right)

Image of the Month

Image of the Month

Image of the Month

Some hand­some Vic­to­ri­ans not far from my more hum­ble apart­ment.

Image of the Month

19-03-01 BLOG Image of the Month

Image of the Month

19-02-01 BLOG Image of the month

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 — Toronto with Frosting

19-01-30 BLOG pic1Attache ta tuque! Toron­to doesn’t usu­al­ly get much snow, com­pared to most of the rest of the coun­try. Mon­treal­ers laugh at our lame, half-heart­ed win­ters. It’s posi­tion on the west end of Lake Ontario, with a ridge of high­lands to its west, means that the pre­vail­ing west­er­lies usu­al­ly drop most of their snow before they reach the city. The clos­est Amer­i­can city, Buf­fa­lo, posi­tioned at the east end of Lake Erie, gets much more snow. But every now and then a snow­storm will be big enough to dump a hefty load on Toron­to. The evening it hit was a bit grim for Toron­to­ni­ans, many of whom immi­grat­ed from warmer lands.

19-01-30 BLOG pic219-01-30 BLOG pic3

But look at the mag­ic of the fol­low­ing sun­ny day:

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Image of the Month

19-01-01 IMAGETri­umph of the Virtues by Andrea Man­teg­na [also known as Pal­las Expelling the Vices from the Gar­den of Virtue and as Min­er­va  Expelling the Vices from the Gar­den of Virtue]
Tem­pera on can­vas, 160 x 192 cm paint­ed around 1500. Musée du Lou­vre, Paris

I had no title or artist for this paint­ing at first. It attract­ed me because I couldn’t fig­ure out, for the life of me, what the hell it was about. It took me hours to find the painter and title. I first found the Pal­las ver­sion of the title. I could find no ref­er­ence any­where in Greek mythol­o­gy to this par­tic­u­lar inci­dent, but it is clear­ly Pal­las Athena, bear­ing all her sym­bol­ic para­pher­na­lia, who is the main char­ac­ter. There are a plen­i­tude of tales around Athena. How­ev­er, the Min­er­va ver­sion of the title pro­vides a hint: Min­er­va was the Roman god­dess con­ven­tion­al­ly equat­ed with Athena, and the sto­ry is prob­a­bly a Roman one dat­ing from much lat­er. Man­teg­na would far more like­ly have culled the sto­ry from some Latin source. On the oth­er hand, he may have sim­ply made it up. The Renais­sance played fast and loose with Clas­si­cal sources, and doubt­less this was paint­ed to suit polit­i­cal rhetoric about “drain­ing the swamp”. The paint­ing lit­er­al­ly rep­re­sents a swamp enclosed in a ruined wall, with Athena dri­ving out a horde of mon­sters that rep­re­sent the “vices” in the con­ven­tion­al medieval fash­ion. The paint­ing was com­mis­sioned to cel­e­brate the coro­na­tion of Isabel­la d’Este as Mar­quise of Man­tua. She was wide­ly seen as the ide­al ruler in her time, and has been revered by fem­i­nists ever since. 

Image of the month: The Palace of Purification

18-12-01 IMAGE Harris PlantThis is not the mag­nif­i­cent main build­ing of the R. C. Har­ris Water Treat­ment Plant in Toron­to. It’s mere­ly a pump­house and main­te­nance build­ing below the more famous main struc­ture which is “opu­lent with mar­ble entry­ways and vast halls filled with pools of water and fil­tra­tion equip­ment”. Yet even this struc­ture is grand, wor­thy of the self-taught genius who believed that civ­il engi­neer­ing was a spir­i­tu­al call­ing.