A Fine Likeness

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I was excited to learn of, and especially to see, the spectacular results the recent cleaning of a Spanish 17th-century portrait at the Metropolitan Museum have yielded. Hidden under a thick, dull varnish for ages, the picture has long been taken to be by a follower of Velázquez, but has now been upgraded to fully autograph status. I’ve only seen the images published with the press release, but it looks entirely kosher to me.

Danmarks bedste tegneseriepodcast: Ondskabens Flydende Vatikan

… Og det er lige her, denne gang med Tegneserierådsislæt, idet rådsmedlem og redaktør af Tegneseriesiden.dk, Ulf Reese Næsborg er ugens gæst. “Ondskabens flydende vatikan” er navnet, og føj hellere til foretrukne: har du en sød tand for munterjovial, velfunderet og velgørende respektløshed, så er det her det sker. Udsendelsens bedste replik faldt da en af kardinalerne udbrød noget i retning af: “Dansk Tegneserieråd er den direkte konsekvens af den katastrofale udgivelse Nørrebronx!”…

Not the Thing Itself

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Just read Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (2002), which I often hear hailed as his best novel. I don’t know — I think the premise is good, while the execution leaves something to be desired. This is especially apparent when compared with Henry Selick’s excellent film version from earlier this year, which improves quite considerably upon the story.

In the novel, the threat from behind the secret door in the house is almost immediately made apparent, while the film allows itself more time to portray Coraline’s attraction to the alternate life offered her on the other side. Gaiman hardly seems to have time in his plot for suggesting the dangerous allure of wish-fulfillment that drives it. The film, on the other hand provides this wondrous sensory experience to go with the narrative of the protagonist’s emotional maturation.

Hype: Peter Madsens Ragnarok

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Sidste streg er, som nok bekendt, nu — efter 30 — år slået i Peter Madsens, Henning Kures, Per Vadmands og Hans Rancke Madsens storstilede genfortælling af de nordiske gudemyter, Valhalla, og det seneste udkomne album, nr. 15, omhandler naturligt nok gudernes endeligt, eller Ragnarok. Læs serien og mød op i Faraos Cigarer i morgen fra kl. 14.00-15.00, hvor du kan møde tegneren og den første times tid få en signatur. Fra kl. 16.00-18.00 holdes der reception, og mon ikke nogle af de andre ophavsmænd også vil være til stede?

Metabaronen kan ikke selv være der, men sender hermed Bunkerens varmeste lykønskninger til Valhalla-holdet!

Hvis du kan udholde dårlig opløsning, kan du evt. læse albummet her, og du kan under alle omstændigheder se mere om det her. Peter præsenterer også sin nye børnebogsserie Troldeliv, skabt i samarbejde med hustruen Sissel Bøe.

Picks of the Week

“the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth”

— Paul Krugman

The picks of the week from around the web.

Busy times, but this week I’ve had a little time to poke around the web. Here’s what rose to the top.

  • The New York Times: “How Did Economists Get it so Wrong?” Economist, columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman offers an analysis of the developments in macroeconomic theory through the 20th Century that led us to a situation where the vast majority of influential economists were unable to predict the recession. Great, lucid writing on a complex issue.
  • The Guardian. This piece, by Rebecca Solnit, on the fourth anniversary of Katrina depressed the hell out of me, but serves as reminder of what should have been a wakeup call to the American mainstream.
  • Wired: “The Good Enough Revolution” interesting analysis of the development, last half a dozen year’s, in consumer behaviour and technology towards a preference for cheap and accessible. Think point-and-shoot digital cameras, MP3s and Predator Drones.
  • David Bordwell on Archie. The great film scholar and discrete comics fan brings his always insightful analysis to bear on the latest developments in one of America’s most resilient comics properties.
  • Bookforum: Jeet Heer on Crumb’s Genesis. Your comics link of the week is one of the best pieces of comics criticism I’ve read lately. Looking forward to that book! (please note: apparently requires registration).
  • Amor Vincit Omnia

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    I should have noted this before, but at the moment a small painting by Titian, The Triumph of Love, showing Cupid surfing the back of a lion, is on view at the National Gallery in London. Although the painting has been known for a long time, it has only recently emerged from the private collection in which it was held and acquired by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Restored at the National Gallery by Jill Dunkerton, it will remain on view there until 20 September when it will go back to Oxford.

    It is an allegory of love conquering all–Amor Vincit Omnia–and was originally painted as a timpanum, a cover for another painting. It is traceable all the way back to its original owner, the Venetian patrician and collector Gabriele Vendramin, who was a friend of Titian’s and was painted along with his sons by the master in the great canvas in the National Gallery. It was originally of square format and covered a portrait of a lady, probably a generic beauty rather than an actual person, for which it provided an edifying overture.

    Hype: Melchior Lorck

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    Yesterday saw the publication of the first four volume of a lavish, projected five-volume monographic work on the great Danish Renaissance printmaker and draughtsman Melchior Lorck (c. 1526/27-after 1583), published by the Royal Library and high end publisher Vandkunsten.

    Not only was Lorck a highly accomplished printmaker, he was also a wandering spirit and, crucially, spent four years at the court of Sultan Suleiman the Magnficent in Constantinople in 1555-1559. He spent these years recording the people and the topography of this metropolis with a both acutely observational and original eye, producing not only iconic images such as the searing portrait of Suleiman, above, but a large number of, for the time, astonishingly realistic views of the city and its people–including a huge 12-meter panorama, which is reproduced 1:1 in the fourth volume.

    Help Anders Nilsen Help the Americans Help Themselves!

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    One of the Bunker’s favorite young(ish) cartoonists, Anders Nilsen, has started an art auction to support the current efforts by the US Government to reform the country’s health care system in favor of the universal scheme the country should have had a long time ago. The prospect of these vitally important measures crashing a burning due to shortsighted partisanship and special interests is simply too depressing to contemplate. Nilsen evidently shares this view and has asked a number of his peers to contribute art to the cause.

    In his own words: