Thursday, November 12, 2015

Church of Bet Medhane Alem (House of the Redeemer of the World), Lalibela, Ethiopia

Some cool image sites images:

Church of Bet Medhane Alem (House of the Redeemer of the World), Lalibela, Ethiopia
image sites
Image by A.Davey
The first thing a visitor to Lalibela's famed rock-hewn churches notices is the profusion of scaffolding, in various stages of assembly and disassembly, that surrounds many of the venerable buildings. Oh, and the sheet-metal roofs hovering over the structures on tall metal supports.

I haven't been able to obtain a clear understanding of The Plan for preserving and restoring Lalibela's churches which, being carved out of soft volcanic rock, are as subject to erosion from the elements as, well, soft volcanic rock.

The best information I found was on UNESCO's Web site, which says:

"UNESCO and the European Community have organized an international competition to built temporary shelters to protect the monuments from the rains. As soon as it is technically possible, the sites will be restored."

Based on that tidbit, I'd have to say the scaffolding you see is being used to erect the temporary shelters referred to above.

Well, I'd rather have seen the churches at Lalibela with their scaffolding than have missed them altogether. At least something is being done to protect these marvelous ancient edifices.

Who knows - maybe someday I'll have the time and patience to remove the scaffolding from this image with PhotoShop. After all, I deleted a non-Ethiopian visitor from the center of this photo, and you'd never know he'd been there, captured in mid-stride walking toward the camera!

According to the Website "King Lalibela,"

"Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measuring 11.5m [37' 8"] in height and covering an area of almost 800m2 [8,610 square feet]."

"A plain building, held up by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 around the outside, Bet Medhane Alem has a classical dignity reminiscent of an Ancient Greek temple, a resemblance that has led some experts to imagine it was modeled on the original St Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana at Axum."

"The interior of the church is also plain, and its huge size creates a cathedral-like austerity. Graves have been carved into the rock floor; they are no longer permanently occupied, Bet Medhane Alem has a wide courtyard whose walls are pockmarked with niches that originally served as graves or hermits’ caves."

"Approaching the most eastern church of this group, Bet Medhane Alem, you first catch a sight of the roof, decorated with relief crosses connected by blind arcades, and the upper part of the solemn colonnade surrounding the church: The roof demonstrates traces of the plaster remains of the restoration efforts of the early 1930’s."

"The tuff, from which the church is carved, blazes a typical deep pink color in striking harmony to the brownish-yellow earth and green-leaved trees of the landscape."

"It is a dignified structure, standing on its platform with its pitched roof and surrounding external columns, somewhat reminiscent of ancient Greek temple architecture."

TV Static Screenshot 1
image sites
Image by Justin March
shot via video then distorted, finished result is rather beautiful.

If you want to use this image you may do so provided that you credit my site along with the appropriate Flikr page (do not use a nofollow link).

Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind by Millais
image sites
Image by Martin Beek
Blow Blow thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude…

…Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember'd not.
This painting is from the end of his career, and helps explain Sir John's popularity with the crowds at the Royal Academy. At the centre is the hapless dog, divided in its loyalty to the shivering mother with her child, and the man who is deserting her.

It was not altogether a cheery site that he selected for his work-a bleak and draughty place near the gamekeeper's house on Kinnoull Hill-but the scene in front of it was what he wanted, and that was all he ever thought about when bent on business. Looking northward, you see the road winding away around Corsey Hill to join the old highway from Perth to Dundee, described by Sir Walter Scott as "the entrance to the Highlands" on the righ appear some of the fine old Scotch firs that embelish the craggy side of Kinnoull, and on the left are the windswept fields of the Hatton farm. There then in the midst of the snow, he planted himself and his paraphenalia, and bravely worked on his painting from day to day until he had got all he needed to enable him to finish it in the studio.

It is now over twenty years ago that I made my first visit to the places in Tayside that so often formed the background to some of Millais best known paintings, and in particular were the subject of his later landscape paintings. I had become aquainted with Millais Pre-Raphaelite works whilst a Foundation Student at art college, in the mid to late 1970’s the Victorian painters were once again being looked at and enjoyed, their often sentimental detailed and colourful littereary based works were a perfect foil to the then in vogue minimalism of British post – war art. I find it hard to say why it was Millais landscapes, or at least the ones I’d seen only via reproduction attracted me. It was not all of his later lanscapes either, Chill October, Lingering Autumn and Winter Fuel, were initially the best known and in most respects those which had the most magnetic appeal. As with the early and perhaps Millais most completely successful work Autumn Leaves, the best of the landscapes convey a powerful sense of time and place, a bleak and brooding mood that is somehow very compelling. I was eager to see the entire series of Scottish Landscapes, or at least see reproductions of them, some which are now in private collections. I had only seen reproduction of these, and then only in black and white. Strangely these photographic reproductions on a small scale give some of the landscapes, particularly Murthly Moss and The Old Garden an almost photo-realistic quality, I knew that as with the Pre Raphaelite works the artist had claimed to paint every touch from nature. Indeed all the landscapes were painted during a comparable period in France when impressionism was flourishing in France, they appear a curious cul-de-sac and to some a mere footnote to one of the 1850’s most promising young artists. It would appear that the landscapes unlike the portraiture or even the grand subjects of Millais last three decades were painted in parallell with his other preferred Highland activities of fishing and hunting. Typically these works were inconsistent, Flowing to The Sea and Murthly Water appear quite poor from a compositional point of view. The Moon Is Up and The Deserted Garden are not entirely successful attempts to convincingly paint foggy distance or nightfall. What Millais did best and perhaps like no other was to render detail and natural objects such as trees and open stretches of moorland with an almost uncanny eye and shorthand and colour as to make these un-picturesque works convey a powerful sentiment of the changing season echoing a human sense of loss and wistfulness for a simpler more innocent world.