A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Great Art Explained: Edward Hopper

Credit: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942 (via Wikipedia)

Between painting and cinema

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is one of the most renowned American painters of the 20th century. His paintings are enigmatic, thought-provocative, and suggestive. His style – realistic, sharp, and "noir". He often depicts dark scenes torn by stark light with lonely and sullen figures, usually a couple that emits dysfunctional emotionality and disconnection. 

Most of his works look like shots directly taken from the films of his time. In fact, many times they were. He was an ardent cinephile. He took inspiration from motion pictures and turned them into pictures. Interestingly, many directors were also greatly influenced by Hopper's paintings and in turn, used them in their movies. That became the most emblematic conversation between painting and cinema, and 55 years later, it is still an ongoing relationship productively connecting two different mediums.

Below you can enjoy another great short video made on the topic by James Payne.

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Thoughts to reflect on: Ingmar Bergman

Credits: Swedish Director Ingmar Bergman (Photo by Li Erben/Sygma via Getty Images)

8 quotes by the great Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman on the nature of the artist

1. The demons are innumerable, appear at the most inconvenient times, and create panic and terror. But I have learned that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage.

2. I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.

3. Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.

4. The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, his individualism almost holy.

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What does the film director say

Credit: Flickr/canburak

The poetic genius of cinema

Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (4 April 1932 – 29 December 1986) was a Russian film director, screenwriter, and film theorist. He is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. Tarkovsky's works fathomed the depths of the human soul and are distinctive with their poetic style. His films are known for their exploration of spiritual and metaphysical themes and are noted for their slow pacing and long takes, dreamlike visual imagery, and absorption with nature, consciousness, and memory.

Under the guidance of the filmmaker Mikhail Romm, Tarkovsky studied film at Moscow's VGIK. He has produced only seven full-length feature movies but, they are all regarded as masterpieces. These are Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Mirror (1975), Stalker (1979), Nostalghia (1983), and The Sacrifice (1986). After years of creative conflict with soviet film authorities, Tarkovsky left the country in 1979 and made his final two films respectively in Italy and Sweden. In 1986, he published a book about cinema and art entitled Sculpting in Time. Sadly, he died of cancer later that year, only 54 years old.

Below you can take a look at the poetic beauty and philosophical depths of his thought.

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The Voice of the Director

Credit: Gettyimages

Akira Kurosawa

"People today have forgotten they're really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better. Especially scientists. They may be smart, but most don't understand the heart of nature. They only invent things that, in the end, make people unhappy. Yet they're so proud of their inventions. What's worse, most people are, too. They view them as if they were miracles. They worship them. They don't know it, but they're losing nature. They don't see that they're going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water."

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On this date, 94 years ago…

Credit: Poster for the movie The Jazz Singer (1927), featuring stars Eugenie Besserer and Al Jolson. Warner Bros. (original rights holder); Wikipedia

The first film with pre-recorded audio dialogue

The seventh art was always somewhere between aesthetics and technology. Whenever there was a technological breakthrough it revolutionized the world of cinema as well. The first big turnabout was the appearance of speech on the screen. It was October 6, 1927, when The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jonson, premiered at the Warner Theater in New York. That was the first feature movie with dialogue. It wasn't immediate but that movie marked the end of the silent-film era.

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