Library staff recommendation: Drawn from Nature: The Plant Lithographs of Ellsworth Kelly

Drawn from Nature: The Plant Lithographs of Ellsworth Kelly

This is a beautiful portfolio of closely observed foliate forms. The images have a great sense of presence and assertively fill the page. Each is over-scaled, greater than life and positioned on large sheets of paper. Plant forms are centered and isolated in extreme close-ups.

“You must not copy nature. You must let nature instruct you and then let the eye and hand collaborate.” – Ellsworth Kelly

Recommended by Barbara Danin.

Digital Resource of the Week: Painting Flowers

With spring in full-bloom, let’s take a look at an interesting collection of how flowers are depicted in painting. The BBC created a website to accompany a television show called Painting Flowers. This site follows the layout of the show by focusing on four flowers often used in paintings: the sunflower, the lily, the tulip and the rose. Besides viewing paintings by the type of flower incorporated, you can compare uses through themes such as love and beauty or death (what a contrast!). A small section on contemporary artists show how flowers are still being used as inspiration.

As always, see more examples by searching the UArts Libraries’ catalog. Search by subject for flowers in art. Below are two artistic interpretations of the tulip. Enjoy!

Flowers in a Glass Vase by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder
Flowers in a Glass Vase by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder
Pollen by Rob Kesseler
Pollen by Rob Kesseler

Library staff recommendation: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
By Tom Stoppard
Greenfield Open Stacks 822 St73

In his best-known play, Tom Stoppard takes absurdist theater to its height! The play’s main characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are two minor characters in Shakepeare’s Hamlet. In Stoppard’s play, the action takes place off-stage during a production of Hamlet; much of it centers around the two characters’ confusion about the play as well as the world around them.

Yet, amid their nonsense ramblings, Stoppard has Rosencrantz and Guildernstern cleverly remind us of some universal truths, largely expounding on the theory of existentialism. If you are a fan of the theater of Samuel Beckett or Harold Pinter, if you devour the works of Albert Camus, or if you simply enjoy language-play in general, this is a must-read!

Digital Resource of the Week: Ocean Flowers: Anna Atkins’s Cyanotypes of British Algae

Ptilota sericea
Ptilota sericea

Ocean Flowers: Anna Atkins’s Cyanotypes of British Algae, from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery, is truly a one-of-a-kind digital collection. In 1841, William Harvey published Manual of British Algae, but it did not contain any images. Atkins sought to illustrate Harvey’s Manual by experimenting with William Henry Fox Talbot‘s “photogenic drawing” technique. By placing an object against light-sensitized paper and then exposing it to sunlight, the paper darkens around the object, creating a silhouette of the object. We know this process today as blueprint, or cyanotype.

The final product of Atkins’ work is Photographs of British Algae. What makes algae so interesting? In this case, Photographs is “a landmark in the histories both of photography and of publishing: the first photographic work by a woman, and the first book produced entirely by photographic means.”

Ocean Flowers contains over 200 images of algae photographed in the cyanotype technique. You can learn more about cyanotype, and see more objects photographed in this technique, by searching the UArts Libraries’ catalog for the keyword cyanotype or the subject blueprints or blueprinting. To see more of Atkins’ work, check out her book Sun Gardens: Victorian Photograms.