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  • feedwordpress 09:01:59 on 2015/11/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , Cellini, , , , John Neagle, Mannerism, ,   

    “I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime”*… 

     

    In 1798  John Neagle, an honest Philadelphia blacksmith, was falsely convicted and incarcerated for America’s first major bank robbery; exonerated six months later, he then became America’s first recipient of a “wrongful imprisonment” settlement from the city.  The incredible tale in its entirety (and an explanation of the symbolism in the portrait of Neagle above) at  “The First American Bank Robbery Was An Epic Farce.”

    * Howard Zinn

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    As we take care not to throw away the key, we might send beautiful– but  deadly– birthday greetings to Benvenuto Cellini; he was born on this date in 1500.  A Renaissance goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier, musician, artist, poet, and memoirist, he was an important figure in the Mannerist period… and as he confessed inThe Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, a multiple murderer and maimer.

    When certain decisions of the court were sent me by those lawyers, and I perceived that my cause had been unjustly lost, I had recourse for my defense to a great dagger I carried; for I have always taken pleasure in keeping fine weapons. The first man I attacked was a plaintiff who had sued me; and one evening I wounded him in the legs and arms so severely, taking care, however, not to kill him, that I deprived him of the use of both his legs. Then I sought out the other fellow who had brought the suit, and used him also such wise that he dropped it.
    The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, Ch. XXVIII, as translated by John Addington Symonds, Dolphin Books edition, 1961

    The Cellini Salt Cellar (or Salteria)

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    Bust of Cellini on the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:54 on 2015/04/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , Carracci, computer learning, extrapolated, fresco, , Mannerism, paintings,   

    “I dream my painting and I paint my dream”*… 

     

    What if the great painters had filled larger canvases?…

    Yarin Gal, at Cambridge University’s Machine Learning Group, has set out to answer the question: “New techniques in machine learning and image processing allow us to extrapolate the scene of a painting to see what the full scenery might have looked like…”

    “Enhanced” Monet, Picasso, O’Keefe, (more) van Gogh, and others– with more added regularly– at Extrapolated Art.

    * Vincent van Gogh

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    As we look beyond the frame, we might send broadly gestural birthday greetings to Ludovico Carracci; he was born on this date in 1555.  An early Baroque master, his paintings, etchings, prints– but especially his frescos– are credited with reinvigorating Italian art, rescuing it from the formal mannerism that had accrued in the mid-late 16th century.

    Annunciation

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    Portrait of Carracci, Emilian School

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:08 on 2014/07/11 Permalink
    Tags: Alchian-Allen theorem, , , , , , , , Mannerism, ,   

    “In economics, the majority is always wrong”*… 

     

    “Grumpy Cat,” whose image has flown across the internet– and graced the front page of the Wall Street Journal

    One may imagine that economics has little bearing on the more frivolous frontiers of everyday life; but in fact it explains why one consumes so much “animal antics” online and so little Shakespearean seriousness…

    Economics sometimes has surprising applications. One example is the Alchian-Allen theorem, an observation that came from a footnote in an economics textbook in the 1960s about how quality demand is affected by transport costs…

    The Allen-Alchian theorem explains why places with high-quality produce (Allen and Alchian had in mind apples in Seattle, which is where apples come from in the US) nevertheless do not always get to consume that same high quality (they pointed to the market for apples in New York city, where no apples grow) because of the relative costs faced by consumers in each case (for New York consumers, a high-quality apple, once you account for transportation costs, was actually relatively cheaper than a low-quality apple compared to relative prices in Seattle). Hence the market sent the high-quality apples to New York.

    You’re still with me? It’s all about relative costs. When you move something, or impose any fixed cost, the higher-quality item always wins, because it now has a lower relative cost compared to the lower-quality item.

    The interesting idea is that this also applies in reverse – namely when we remove a fixed cost. The internet does this: it removes a cost of transport, and it does so equally for high quality and low quality content. Following the Allen-Alchian theorem, this should mean the opposite. Low-quality items are now relatively cheaper and high-quality items are now relatively more expensive. This idea was first explained by Tyler Cowen, but the upshot is that the internet is made of cats

    The internet lowers the cost of “transport” for every idea, high and low quality alike. It’s the opposite of the apples situation. It means that low quality apples are now relatively cheaper. It means that cats-doing-funny-things is now relatively cheaper than say German Opera. Economics insists that when demand curves look like this we can expect more cat watching, and less German opera watching.

    This theorem means that we expect a lower quality, “bittier” consumption to proliferate on the internet (as a technology that lowers transport costs of high-quality and low-quality ideas alike). Which is what we observe. So that’s a win for micro-economic demand theory.

    Is this really what’s happened?  Have we all gotten dumber?  Read more– including the arguments, pro and con– at “The internet is made of cats – and you can blame economists“: and read the paper the lays out the “economics of cute” in “The Alchian-Allen Theorem and the Economics of Internet Animals.”

    * John Kenneth Galbraith

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    As we come to terms with the fact that all our bases are belong to them, we might spare a slightly skewed thought for Giuseppe Arcimboldo; he died on this date in 1593.  An Italian painter best known for creating partraits composed entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books, he is considered a Mannerist… though he might well be the first Surrealist.  He was certainly cited by many– from Dali through Ocampo to Švankmajer– as an influence.

    Arcimboldo’s portrait of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, painted as Vertumnus, the Roman God of the seasons, c. 1590-1

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    Self-portrait

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