Introduction:

"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"


- Alan Hogan



Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Dead Poet's Breakfast!




This is a repost from 2011. I'm trying to restart my blog yet again. And what better day to reboot it than this special day in the Finnish calendar. Since Finland is celebrating it's 100 year birthday as an independent nation this year 2017 I hope to repost a few old stories here aswell as some photos from my time living in Finland.  

The 5th of February is known as Runeberg's Day in Finland, named after Finland's national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who was born in the town of Jacobstad, Finland on this date 1804.




'Runeberg's most famous work is Fänrik Ståls sägner (The Tales of Ensign Stål, Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat in Finnish) written between 1848 and 1860. It is considered the greatest Finnish epic poem outside the native Kalevala tradition and contains tales of the Swedish War of 1808-09 with Russia. In the war, Sweden ignominiously lost Finland, which became a Grand Duchy in the Russian empire. The poem, which is composed episodically, emphasizes the common humanity of all sides in the conflict, while principally lauding the heroism of the Finns. The first poem "Vårt land" (Our Land, Maamme in Finnish) became the Finnish National Anthem. Runeberg is celebrated on 5 February each year.'
- taken from Wikipedia


While the National anthem of Finland is sung in the Finnish language by the majority of people over here, it is also sung in swedish with the same passion and pride by a part of the Finnish population living in the west and south of Finland. In my opinion there is something very special and respectful for the people of Finland to have their anthem in both languages.

   


And it is also on this day Feb 5th every year that a certain cake named 
Runeberg's torte (Finnish: Runebergintorttu; Swedish: Runebergstårta) is eaten all over in Finnish homes to celebrate this great national poet. The story goes that the poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg enjoyed a torte with some brandy punsch for his breakfast every morning.





And not wanting to be disrespectful, I am only too happy to carry on this good tradition in my own home today. A little too late for breakfast, I will be eating one of these two little beauties here with a nice cup of tea later on this evening.



Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.

-Alan

You are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button here.


Original post from 2011.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Abbey Theatre revisited

'Old Abbey Theatre' 
- illustration Alan Hogan, 1998.


I recently received a request from Freya Smitha MPhil student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. It concerned my illustration of a famous old building called the Abbey Theatre. The student has been constructing a visualisation of this theatre as a module for one of her college assessments, and chose to use my image as a small backdrop on her presentation blogsite. I gladly agreed for my illustration (above) to be used.

"The Abbey first opened its doors to the public on 27 December 1904 in the former Mechanics’ Hall, also known as the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties. Prior to opening as the Abbey, the interior was remodeled by architect Joseph Holloway. He reused the existing structure of the auditorium and balcony, but he completely remoulded the proscenium arch, created a new entrance on Marlborough Street, introduced a substantially different seating arrangement, and changed every aspect of the décor, fixtures and fittings.




Despite losing its original building to a fire in 1951, the theatre was rebuilt to a design by Michael Scott and reopened in 1966. After the demolition of the Mechanics’ Hall facades, the stonework was rescued by Dublin architect, Daithi Hanley, who intended to preserve it." 


- above text by Archiseek, Computer reconstruction imagery of the interior as it was in 1904, courtesy of Hugh Denard and Noho.



As a Dubliner born and bred, I am very familiar with the location of the Abbey Theatre. My grandfather worked for the Irish Press and my father for the Irish Independent, two newspaper companies situated only a short walk from the Abbey theatre. I myself used to meet friends quite often after work in The Flowing Tide pub which sits facing the Abbey Theatre. At the time it was no surprise to see familiar faces from the theatre occasionally dropping in for a drink. Another pub situated nearby was Sean O'Casey's Bar which was named after the famous Dublin playwright who's name and plays are synonymous with the Abbey Theatre. I used to drop in to this pub occasionally for a chat after college. An annex of the D.I.T. College of Marketing and Design which I attended is conveniently located next door. This small area of Dublin city is full of history and stories that still live on through the people, the shops and the pubs. And when you least expect, some of the best and most theatrical performances can be found right under your nose!




Above is a video by British Pathe featuring Irish President Eamonn de Valera arriving at the site where the new Abbey theatre was built - historic Abbey theatre was destroyed by the fire in 1951.
From an architectural point of view I have never been a fan of what was constructed in place of the old Abbey Theatre. While it was unfortunate that the old building was destroyed by fire, for me it was equally unfortunate to see such an ugly replacement. On the bright side however, there have been welcomed modifications in more recent years making the new building more aesthetically pleasing.


An impression I made showing how the old Abbey theatre (bottom) would have looked in comparison to it's replacement in the 1960's (top).
Click on image to enlarge.

'Old Abbey Theatre, Dublin' - Alan Hogan, 1998


The illustration above is the second drawing I made of the theatre. I haven't made any ink illustrations such as these for many years now, but I think I may have another attempt having received some positive feedback. Maybe something from Finland where I now live. 
Here's a few more samples of my old ink illustrations. 



A section of the old George's Street Arcade building
owned by The Grafton Hotel.





'The Four Courts', Dublin - 1988





'John Kehoe's Pub'
- South Anne street, Dublin - 1990




My illustration of the Abbey Theatre can be seen as a background image on Freya Smith's Old Abbey Theatre BlogAlso, don't forgot to check out some of her wonderful 3D digital models.




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You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


- Alan 



                     




Thursday, September 29, 2011

Caravaggio - The Taking and Faking of Christ!





September 29th 1571 is supposedly the birthday of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, better known as simply 'Caravaggio' to most of us. When I was younger living back in Ireland this artist was one of many famous artists mentioned in my art history schoolbook. The Baroque school of painting to which his art belonged wasn't very interesting to me. I suppose I could have been in such awe of the work by the likes of Caravaggio and his counterparts that it made me feel quite primitive. Or perhaps if was the fact that there was so much of this style and it's copycats available to see all over europe. 


One such place I remember seeing art like this was in the old buildings at the school I attended as a teenager. Studying at a Christian Brothers school for boys back in Dublin wasn't always easy. Most of the subjects in these paintings were quite religious and orderly, as were the Christian brothers themselves, whose treatment and teaching methods of many students was disciplined and occasionally harsh. So as you might guess, the day I finished secondary school was a day I remember fondly! I didn't have to see those priests in their black cloaks ever again. I must mention that a few of them were of good character, friendly and excellent teachers. But I was happy to forget about them and all their paraphernalia, including all those religious paintings!



Having left school in 1986, I was more drawn towards modern artists like Munch, Van Gogh, and Jack B Yeats. I liked the honesty and techniques in all their work. I have however since then witnessed a lot more older art including the baroque era by way of travelling through countries such as Germany, Holland, Austria and France. I have sadly not been able to visit Italy yet, the home of baroque. Maybe some day when I have some cash!


Inside St.Charles's Church, Vienna. 


My appreciation for baroque art improved after travelling in europe. I remember a visit to Vienna and been amazed and a little shocked on entering St.Charles's Church. The whole feeling was awesome, a term which I think is used far too lightly these days.



'The Taking of Christ' - Caravaggio, 1602

Getting back to the birthday boy, I remember the time in the early 1990's when Caravaggio's painting 'The Taking of Christ' was found in a dusty old house in Dublin city centre. This was a major discovery once the painting was confirmed as the original, especially with the amount of previous findings which all turned out to be fakes. I couldn't believe the age and the history of this painting. I was more amazed at the fact that it had survived years and years of lying around in Dublin than it's previous centuries of transit here and there around europe. Those of you who live or come from Dublin will understand what I'm talking about! I recall seeing a movie in the year 2000, seven years after Caravaggio's painting was unveiled at the National Gallery of Ireland. It was called 'Ordinary Decent Criminal' starring Kevin Spacey, about a well-known Dublin criminal. It was a poor movie by all accounts (I recommend Brendan Gleeson's portrayal of the same character in the earlier movie 'The General', much better!). However I liked the way they included Caravaggio's painting in the story, it's like modern folklore. 




There are many other blogs, videos and websites which can tell you all about the painting and it's history, so I won't bother rewriting it here. Here's an excellent video to watch if you have the time and a few links if you wish to get all the facts. I've also included a related and amusing  blog which tells about the theft of this painting by professional robbers in the Ukraine. Unfortunately they became the not-so-proud owners of yet another fake Caravaggio.


'Stealing Caravaggio: The Odessa File'


'Milan show for disputed Caravaggio'




I would like to mention my recollection on being one of the first group of visitors to see this rediscovered masterpiece at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. I felt very privileged and excited on that day in November 1993 as I walked into the gallery. Seeing something so old is sometimes a little mind-numbing, and when you learn all about it's history and know the subject to be so revered it can simply leave you speechless.

So, there I was walking up a grand staircase to the gallery's main exhibition room. The red carpet was laid out. I pretended it was for me. Well, one can dream a little!! ...and then as I slowly stepped through the large doorframes I said to myself,...."What the hell is all this!"

Yes, right in front of me was a large room full of fake Caravaggios! I must have counted at least twenty or so copies of Caravaggio's 'Taking of Christ'. 
Well, in my opinion, each and every one of them looked like a masterpiece. But then there can only ever be one true original. And there it was, getting closer and closer to me as I walked through the centre of this large room. The nearer I approached, the clearer my eyes could see that this was the genuine article and the others quickly became just what they were, merely good copies.

The restoration people at the gallery had handled and prepared this great original with the treatment it had long deserved, and it was a great credit to them. 
I was however a bit worried about the security of the painting. While I had in my time visited a few renowned galleries in europe and noticed high security for notable paintings, items such as cameras, extra guards-people, glass-framed boxes and possible laser alarms, all I could see protecting Caravaggio's painting was a thick red rope placed half a metre around it. I could see no harm coming to the painting that day, but I worried a little at the thought of an art teacher taking a class of twelve-year old Dublin schoolboys in to see it. I'd like to think I'm wrong and the painting was highly monitored, but I was that twelve-year old soldier once, and it wasn't unusual for me to lampoon about things I didn't understand. I remember going to see the Mona Lisa in Paris with a group of fellow students when I was twelve. I may be exaggerating just a little, but I reckon that old lady was very lucky to be protected by a solid glass case at the time! 






Anyway, Happy Birthday Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, wherever you may be and thanks for all your wonderful work.


Here's another fellow Dubliner who like myself discovered the mastery of Caravaggio and hence a greater appreciation for art in general. He is ex-world snooker champion Ken Doherty and here's what he had to say about the mighty Caravaggio.





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Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.


You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


- Alan 

                     

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Dead Poet's Breakfast!





The 5th of February is known as Runeberg's Day in Finland, named after Finland's national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who was born in the town of Jacobstad, Finland on this date 1804.




'Runeberg's most famous work is Fänrik Ståls sägner (The Tales of Ensign Stål, Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat in Finnish) written between 1848 and 1860. It is considered the greatest Finnish epic poem outside the native Kalevala tradition and contains tales of the Swedish War of 1808-09 with Russia. In the war, Sweden ignominiously lost Finland, which became a Grand Duchy in the Russian empire. The poem, which is composed episodically, emphasizes the common humanity of all sides in the conflict, while principally lauding the heroism of the Finns. The first poem "Vårt land" (Our Land, Maamme in Finnish) became the Finnish National Anthem. Runeberg is celebrated on 5 February each year.'
- taken from Wikipedia


While the National anthem of Finland is sung in the Finnish language by the majority of people over here, it is also sung in swedish with the same passion and pride by a part of the Finnish population living in the west and south of Finland. In my opinion there is something very special and respectful for the people of Finland to have their anthem in both languages.

   


And it is also on this day Feb 5th every year that a certain cake named 
Runeberg's torte (Finnish: Runebergintorttu; Swedish: Runebergstårta) is eaten all over in Finnish homes to celebrate this great national poet. The story goes that the poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg enjoyed a torte with some brandy punsch for his breakfast every morning.





And not wanting to be disrespectful, I am only too happy to carry on this good tradition in my own home today. A little too late for breakfast, I will be eating one of these two little beauties here with a nice cup of tea later on this evening.



Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.

-Alan

You are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button here.




Friday, May 28, 2010

Down By The River - Billnäs Bruk




Down by the river

- Billnäs -

I took a visit to a photo exhibition last week in a nearby village called Billnäs.






Situated on the Svartå Mustio river in the south of Finland this area is well-known for its old ironworks founded in 1641.
This small village is not just any old industrial site full of old memories and history, it's also a wonderfully picturesque place to relax or go for a stroll, full of nature! In fact, the whole collection of old stone buildings and wooden houses in Billnäs compliment the already present natural beauty of the area.





The exhibition I went to see featured a collection of old photos from various stages of the area's history. Photos of the land, it’s buildings and many of it’s inhabitants and workers over the years. All these old photographs were blown up to a large scale especially for the exhibition and were presented in one of the many old buildings on the site of the old Ironworks. So this exhibition was a great opportunity for me to get a feel for what life was like here in days gone by. Billnäs has it’s own website with more detailed information on it’s history here.

The ironworks in Billnäs was incorporated into to the well-known Fiskars group in 1920, who kept up the manufacture of tools etc.
However with modern industry evolving over the coming years the more traditional practices at the ironworks became obsolete.
Nowadays this area is a hub for small enterprise and development. It has become a tourist hotspot with events, exhibitions, cafes and restaurants.

Only a 30 minute walk from where I live in Karis, Billnäs is a place I like to visit quite frequently, especially in the summer months. It’s also a chance for me to get out and grab some well-needed exercise. It's a pleasant place to walk around on a warm summers day, especially along the river. I always start humming this favorite song of mine by the singer Neil Young everytime I go there.




While visiting the photo exhibition last week I noticed that a new outdoor entertainment area was under construction. A nice area for a band to play and a large decking area for dancing was already in place. There was even an outdoor bar almost ready. The only things missing were a few beer taps! It wasn't a perfect day after all!
Situated next to a scenic river this place is just what the area needs. I just hope they don’t have a cover charge when it’s finally up and running. A good evening out can be expensive enough when just ordering a few drinks and a taxi.

For anyone interested in seeing the wonderful photo exhibition at Billnäs, you're too late.
Sorry but it's over, it finished on May 23.


But thank you for reading my blog.
You are welcome to look at my art at The Art Garage 




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