четверг, 26 марта 2009 г.

Postcard from South Africa

The Zulu are the largest South African ethnic group of an estimated 10-11 million people who live mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. Their language, isiZulu, is a Bantu language; more specifically, part of the Nguni subgroup. The Zulu Kingdom played a major role in South African History during the 19th and 20th centuries. Under apartheid, Zulu people were classed as third-class citizens and suffered from state sanctioned discrimination. They remain today the most numerous ethnic group in South Africa, and now have equal rights along with all other citizens.

The rural Zulu economy is based on cattle and agriculture. Consequently, the main staple diet consists of cow and agricultural products. This includes barbecued and boiled meat; amasi (curdled milk), mixed with dry, ground corn or dry, cooked mealie-meal (corn flour); amadumbe (yams); vegetables; and fruits. The Zulu traditional beer is not only a staple food but a considerable source of nutrition. It is also socially and ritually important and is drunk on all significant occasions.

Drinking and eating from the same plate was and still is a sign of friendship. It is customary for children to eat from the same dish, usually a big basin. This derives from a "share what you have" belief which is part of ubuntu (humane) philosophy.

Older Zulu women wear clothes that cover their bodies. They wear isicholo( Izzy-chow-low ), a wide hat made of straw and decorated with beads (ubuhlalu). They also wear isidwaba, a pleated skirt made of cowhide and softened by hand. Younger women sometimes decorate their 'isidwaba' with beads, whereas older women wear it plain. Clothing for Zulu girls is mainly made of beadwork and is usually revealing.

Beads are the pride of the Zulu nation. Zulu beadwork encompasses a symbolic language that may include reprimands and warnings, messages of love, and encouragement. Different beads carry symbolic meanings that may be used during courtship. When a young man proposes love from a woman, she gives him a gift of betrothal beads as an indication of her acceptance of him. This acceptance is usually followed by lobolo (bride price) by which the young man pays eleven cows to the woman’s family.


Postcard from France

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Souvenir de Mortefontaine (1864), Louvre

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (July 17, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was a French landscape painter and printmaker in etching. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting and his vast output simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism.

Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting. His work simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. Of him Claude Monet exclaimed "There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing." His contributions to figure painting are hardly less important; Degas preferred his figures to his landscapes, and the classical figures of Picasso pay overt homage to Corot's influence.

Historians somewhat arbitrarily divided his work into periods, but the point of division is never certain, as he often completed a picture years after he began it. In his early period, he painted traditionally and "tight"—with minute exactness, clear outlines, thin brush work, and with absolute definition of objects throughout. After his 50th year his methods changed to focus on breadth of tone and an approach to poetic power conveyed with thicker application of paint, and about 20 years later, from about 1865 onwards, his manner of painting became full of mystery and poetry, created with a more impressionistic touch. In part, this evolution in expression can be seen as marking the transition from the plein-air paintings of his youth, shot through with warm natural light, to the studio-created landscapes of his late maturity, enveloped in uniform tones of silver. In his final 10 years he became the "Père (Father) Corot" of Parisian artistic circles, where he was regarded with personal affection, and acknowledged as one of the five or six greatest landscape painters the world has seen, along with Hobbema, Claude Lorrain, Turner and Constable. In his long and productive life, he painted over 3,000 paintings.

Corot approached his landscapes more traditionally than is usually believed. By comparing even his late period tree-painting and arrangements to those of Claude Lorrain, such as that which hangs in the Bridgewater gallery, the similarity in methods is seen. Compared to the Impressionists who came later, Corot’s palette is restrained, dominated with browns and blacks (“forbidden colors” among the Impressionists) along with dark and silvery green. Though appearing at times to be rapid and spontaneous, usually his strokes were controlled and careful, and his compositions well-thought out and generally rendered as simply and concisely as possible, heightening the poetic effect of the imagery. As he stated, “I noticed that everything that was done correctly on the first attempt was more true, and the forms more beautiful.”

In the 1860s, Corot became interested in photography, taking photos himself and becoming acquainted with many early photographers, which had the effect of suppressing his painting palette even more in sympathy with the monochromic tones of photographs. This had the result of making his paintings even less dramatic but somewhat more poetic, a result which caused some critics to cite a monotony in his later output. Théophile Thoré wrote that Corot “has only a single octave, extremely limited and in a minor key; a musician would say. He knows scarcely more than a single time of day, the morning, and a single color, pale grey.” Corot responded:

“What there is to see in painting, or rather what I am looking for, is the form, the whole, the value of the tones…That is why for me the color comes after, because I love more than anything else the overall effect, the harmony of the tones, while color gives you a kind of shock that I don’t like. Perhaps it is the excess of this principal that makes people say I have leaden tones.”

In his aversion to shocking color, Corot sharply diverged from the up-and-coming Impressionists, who embraced experimentation with vivid hues.

In addition to the landscapes (so popular was the late style that there exist numerous forgeries), Corot produced a number of prized figure pictures. While the subjects were sometimes placed in pastoral settings, these were mostly studio pieces, drawn from the live model with both specificity and subtlety. Like his landscapes, they are characterized by a contemplative lyricism, with his late paintings L’Algerienne (Algerian Woman) and La Jeune Grecque (The Greek Girl) being fine examples. Corot painted about fifty portraits, mostly of family and friends. He also painted thirteen reclining nudes, with his Les Repos (1860) strikingly similar in pose to Ingres famous Le Grande Odalisque (1814), but Corot’s female is instead a rustic bacchante. In perhaps his last figure painting, ‘’Lady in Blue’’ (1874), Corot achieves an effect reminiscent of Degas, soft yet expressive. In all cases of his figure painting, the color is restrained and is remarkable for its strength and purity. Corot also executed many etchings and pencil sketches. Some of the sketches used a system of visual symbols—circles representing areas of light and squares representing shadow. He also experimented with the cliché-verre process—a hybrid of photography and engraving.[50] Starting in the 1830s, Corot also painted decorative panels and walls in the homes of friends, aided by his students.

Corot summed up his approach to art around 1860, “I interpret with my art as much as with my eye.”

The works of Corot are housed in museums in France and the Netherlands, Britain and America.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Postcard from Finland

Pettson and Findus is a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Swedish author Sven Nordqvist. The books feature an old farmer (Pettson) and his cat (Findus) who live in a small ramshackle farmhouse in the countryside. The first of the Pettson och Findus book to be published was Pannkakstårten in 1985 (first published in English in 2007 as Pancake Pie).

To date, nine story books have been published in Swedish, plus a puzzle book, song book and cook book. The books have worldwide book sales of over 6 million and have been translated into 44 languages. There are two alternative English translations of the characters' names: in the books published in the UK by Hawthorn Press, as well as those published in English by Swedish publisher Opal, they have the original names, Pettson and Findusin, while in the books published in the USA by Carolrhoda Books they are called Festus and Mercury.

In addition to the books, there are also three Pettson and Findus 75-minute long animated films, an animated TV series of 26 25-minute parts, computer games and board games. In December 1993, the Swedish TV company SVT broadcast one of the Pettson and Findus stories, Tomtemaskinen (The mechanical santa), as its annual Christmas “Advent calendar”, with one 15-minute part shown each day up until Christmas Eve. In 2000 the world of Pettson and Findus was recreated full scale at the Junibacken Children’s Museum in Stockholm.

Pettson and Findus
Pettson and Findus website - in Swedish

Postcards from Finland

The Moomins are the central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson, originally published in Swedish by Schildts (and later in Finnish by WSOY) in Finland. They are a family of trolls who are white, round and furry in appearance, with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. The carefree and adventurous family live in their house in Moominvalley, in the forests of Finland, though in the past their temporary residences have included a lighthouse and a theatre. They have many adventures along with their various friends.

In all, nine books were released in the series, with five picture books and a comic strip also written by Jansson being released between 1945 and 1993.

The Moomins have since been the basis for numerous television series, films and even a theme park in Finland.

The books in the series, in order, are:

1. The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) - 1945.
2. Comet in Moominland, Some editions: The Happy Moomins - (Originally: Kometjakten/Kometen kommer) - 1946.
3. Finn Family Moomintroll (Originally: Trollkarlens hatt) - 1948.
4. The Exploits of Moominpappa, Some editions: Moominpappa's Memoirs (Originally: Muminpappans bravader/Muminpappans memoarer) - 1950.
5. Moominsummer Madness (Originally: Farlig midsommar) - 1954.
6. Moominland Midwinter (Originally: Trollvinter) - 1957.
7. Tales from Moominvalley (Originally: Det osynliga barnet) - 1962 (Short stories).
8. Moominpappa at Sea (Originally: Pappan och havet) - 1965.
9. Moominvalley in November (Originally: Sent i november) - 1970 (In which the Moomin family is absent).

The first book, known in English as The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) was finally published in English in 2005 (though only in Finland).

There are also five Moomin picture books by Tove Jansson:

1. The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My (Originally: Hur gick det sen) - 1952.
2. Who Will Comfort Toffle? (Originally: Vem ska trösta knyttet) - 1960.
3. The Dangerous Journey (Originally: Den farliga resan) - 1977.
4. An Unwanted Guest (Originally: Skurken i Muminhuset) - 1980 (No English translation published).
5. Songs from Moominvalley (Originally: Visor från Mumindalen) - 1993 (No English translation published).

The books and comic strips have been translated from their original Swedish and English into many languages.

Official Finnish Moomin Website

Postcard from Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KSA is an Arab country and the largest country of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Jordan on the northwest, Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south. The Persian Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to its west.

The Kingdom is sometimes called "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. In English, it is most commonly referred to as Saudi Arabia. The current Kingdom was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, whose efforts began in 1902 when he captured the Al-Saud’s ancestral home of Riyadh, and culminated in 1932 with the proclamation and recognition of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, though its national origins go back as far as 1744 with the establishment of the First Saudi State.

Saudi Arabia is the world's leading petroleum exporter. Petroleum exports fuel the Saudi economy.

Thanks Ganesh!

Saudi Arabia

среда, 25 марта 2009 г.

New stamps

Two new stamps sets devoted to 200th anniversary of N. V. Gogol are available since 1st April 2009.

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1809 – 4 March [O.S. 21 February] 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. Although his early works, such as Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, were heavily influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing and identity, he is often called the "father of modern Russian realism he was one of the first writers to criticize his country's way of life. The novels Taras Bul'ba (1835; 1842 [revised edition]) and Dead Souls (1842), the play The Inspector-General (1836, 1842), and the short stories Diary of a Madman, The Nose and The Overcoat (1842) are among his best known works. With their scrupulous and scathing realism, ethical criticism as well as philosophical depth, they remain some of the most important works of world literature.

The film by the Nikolay Gogol's book "Taras Bulba" will be released on April, 2nd 2009.

Nikolai Gogol
Works by Nikolai Gogol

New stamp

New stamps set devoted to 150th anniversary of A. S. Popov is available since 16th March 2009.

Alexander Stepanovich Popov (March 16 [O.S. March 4] 1859 – January 13 [O.S. December 31, 1905] 1906) was a Russian physicist who first demonstrated the practical application of electromagnetic (radio) waves, although he did not apply for a patent for his invention.

Beginning in the early 1890s he continued the experiments of other radio pioneers, such as Heinrich Hertz. In 1894 he built his first radio receiver, a version of the coherer. Further refined as a lightning detector, it was presented to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society on May 7, 1895 — the day has been celebrated in the Russian Federation as "Radio Day". The paper on his findings was published the same year. In March 1896, he effected transmission of radio waves between different campus buildings in St Petersburg. Upon learning about Guglielmo Marconi's system, he effected ship-to-shore communication over a distance of 6 miles in 1898 and 30 miles in 1899.

Alexander Popov

Aerograms from Malaysia

Thanks Khor Kok Keong!

вторник, 24 марта 2009 г.

Postcard from Spain

The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, often simply called the Sagrada Família, is a massive Roman Catholic church under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. The temple is scheduled to open for worship by September 2010.

The Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), who worked on the project for over 40 years. Gaudi devoted the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavor. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have remarked, "My client is not in a hurry." After Gaudí's death in 1926, work continued under the direction of Domènech Sugranyes until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Parts of the unfinished church and Gaudí's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists. The present design is based on reconstructed versions of the lost plans as well as on modern adaptations. Since 1940 the architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner have carried on the work. The current director and son of Lluís Bonet, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, has been introducing computers into the design and construction process since the 1980s. Mark Burry of New Zealand serves as Executive Architect and Researcher. Sculptures by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and the controversial Josep Subirachs decorate the fantastical façades.

According to the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, 2.26 million people visited the partially built church in 2004, making it one of the most popular attractions in Spain. The central nave vaulting was completed in 2000 and the main tasks since then have been the construction of the transept vaults and apse. As of 2006, work concentrates on the crossing and supporting structure for the main tower of Jesus Christ as well as the southern enclosure of the central nave which will become the Glory façade.

Recently, the Ministry of Public Works of Spain (Ministerio de Fomento in Spanish), has projected the construction of a tunnel for the high speed train just under where the principal façade of the temple has to be built. Although the ministry claims that the project poses no risk to the church, the engineers and architects of the temple disagree as there is no guarantee that the tunnel will not affect the stability of the building. A campaign is being waged by the Sagrada Família preservation society (Patronat de la Sagrada Família) and the neighbourhood association AVE pel Litoral.

Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852–10 June 1926) – in English sometimes referred to by the Spanish translation of his name, Antonio Gaudí – was a Spanish Catalan architect who belonged to the Modernist style (Art Nouveau) movement and was famous for his unique and highly individualistic designs.

List of Gaudí buildings:

Bellesguard's Tower Barcelona 1900-1909
Casa Milà Barcelona 1905-1907
Casa Batlló Barcelona 1905-1907
Casa Botines Leon 1891-
Casa Calvet Barcelona 1888-1900
Episcopal Palace of Astorga Astorga (Leon) 1883-1913
El Capricho Comillas (Cantabria) 1889-
Sagrada Familia Barcelona 1882-now
Casa Vicens Barcelona 1883-1888
Church of Colònia Güell Santa Coloma de Cervelló(Barcelona) 1908-1914
Park Güell Barcelona 1883-1888
Palau Güell Barcelona 1885-1890
Hotel Attraction New York Only Project

Sagrada Família
List of Gaudí buildings

суббота, 21 марта 2009 г.

Postcard from USA

The University of Alaska Fairbanks, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska System, and is abbreviated as Alaska or UAF. UAF is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution, as well as participating in the sun-grant program through Oregon State University. It is also the site where the Alaska Constitution was signed in 1956. UAF was established in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, first opening for classes in 1922.

UAF is home to seven major research units: the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; the Geophysical Institute, which operates the Poker Flat Research Range; the International Arctic Research Center; the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center; the Institute of Arctic Biology; the Institute of Marine Science; and the Institute of Northern Engineering. Located just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the Fairbanks campus's unique location is situated favorably for Arctic and northern research. The campus's several lines of research are renowned worldwide, most notably in Arctic biology, Arctic engineering, geophysics, supercomputing, and aboriginal studies. The University of Alaska Museum of the North is also on the Fairbanks campus.

In addition to the Fairbanks campus, UAF encompasses seven rural and urban campuses: Bristol Bay Campus in Dillingham; Chukchi Campus in Kotzebue; Interior-Aleutians Campus, which covers both the Aleutian Islands and the Interior; Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel; Northwest Campus in Nome; and the Tanana Valley Campus in Fairbanks, UAF's community college arm. Fairbanks is also the home of the UAF Center for Distance Education, an independent learning and distance delivery program.

Thanks KRIS! It will be great if you will send your postal address to my e-mail.

University of Alaska

Postcard from Philippines

The Miag-ao Church was built in 1786 by Spanish Augustinian missionaries and was declared as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Baroque Churches of the Philippines" in 1993. On the front facade, which is flanked by two watchtower belfries, one can see the unique blending of Spanish and native influences.

The central feature of the bas-relief facade is a large coconut tree which reaches almost to the apex. While an integral part of the Philippine landscape, the coconut tree is also the subject of lore. According to an old Philippine legend, the coconut tree was the only bequest from a loving mother to her two children, a tree which sustained them for life. On the church's facade the coconut tree appears as the "tree of life" to which St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulder is clinging to. The lesser facades feature the daily life of Miagaowanons during the time. Also depicted are other native flora and fauna, as well as native dress.

The church and its watchtowers were also built to defend the town and its people against raids by the Moros. It therefore has thick walls and, reportedly, secret passages. Indeed stretching along the Iloilo coast are defensive towers, but none that equal the size of the Miag-ao. It is because of this defensive purpose that it is sometimes referred to as the Miag-ao Fortress Church.

Thanks ROD!

Miag-ao Church
Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Postcard from Germany

Postcard from Netherlands

Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the bigger region known as Frisia. In order to distinguish it from the other Frisian regions, it is commonly specified as Westerlauwer Frisia, Westerlauwer Friesland, West Frisia or West Friesland. The latter two names may lead people to confuse the region with the neighbouring landscape called 'West-Friesland', in the North Holland province.

Up until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân.

Friesland has 643,000 inhabitants (2005) and its capital is Leeuwarden (Ljouwert), with 91,817 inhabitants, in the center of the province.

Postcard from Taiwan

Taiwan is an island in East Asia. "Taiwan" is also commonly used to refer to the area governed by the Republic of China (ROC), which governs the island of Taiwan, Diaoyu Island, Paracel Islands, Itu Aba Island among Nansha Qundao(Islands) known as Spratly Islands, Orchid Island and Green Island in the Pacific off the Taiwan coast, the Penghu islands in the Taiwan Strait, and Kinmen and the Matsu Islands off the coast of Mainland China which are both part of Fujian province in the People's Republic of China and Republic of China. In the aftermath of World War II, the ROC gained control of Taiwan from the Japanese in 1945, but lost control of mainland China to Chinese Communist Party 4 years later in 1949 as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The Kuomintang (KMT) government then retreated to the island and moved the capital to Taipei. The island groups of Taiwan and Penghu (except the municipalities of Taipei and Kaohsiung) are officially administered by the ROC as the Taiwan Province. In practice, almost all government power is exercised at the national and local (city/county) levels.

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims Taiwan as its province although the PRC has never controlled Taiwan or any of the current territory commonly referred to as "Taiwan". Taiwan had been a part of China for hundreds of years until Japanese took it over in 1895, it is currently under the administration of the Republic of China since 1945. In 1895, Japan took control of Taiwan following the military defeat of the Qing Dynasty in First Sino-Japanese War. Taiwan later fell under Chinese control again after Japan surrendered to the Allies subsequent to Japan's military defeat in World War II. The PRC considers itself the successor state of the Republic of China and therefore entitled to all its holdings, including Taiwan.

The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from Portuguese (Ilha) Formosa, meaning "beautiful (island)"), is located in East Asia off the coast of China, southwest of the main islands of Japan but directly west of the end of Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines. It is bound to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation.

Though for decades following the re-establishment of the Republic of China in Taiwan, it was politically a single-party authoritarian state, the ROC has since evolved into a flawed democracy in Asia. Its rapid economic growth in the decades after World War 2 and the government's relocation to Taiwan has brought it to an advanced economy status as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This economic rise is known as the Taiwan Miracle. It is categorized as an advanced economy by the IMF and high-income economy by the world bank. Its technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. Taiwanese companies manufacture a giant portion of the world's consumer electronics, although most of them are made in their factories in mainland China.

Postcard from Latvia

Latvia is a North European Baltic country in European Union. It is bordered to the north by Estonia, to the south by Lithuania, and to the east both by Belarus and the Russian Federation. Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden. The territory of Latvia covers 64,589 km² and has a temperate seasonal climate.

The Latvians are a Baltic people culturally related to the Estonians and Lithuanians, with the Latvian language having many similarities with Lithuanian, but not with the Estonian language. Today the Latvian and Lithuanian languages are the only surviving members of the Baltic languages of the Indo-European family. The modern name of Latvia is thought to originate from the ancient Latvian name Latvji, which, like the name of Lithuania, may have originated from the river named Latva or Latuva, which may be today's Lates upe.

Latvia is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic and is divided into 26 districts. The capital and largest city is Riga.

четверг, 12 марта 2009 г.

Postcard Friendship Friday


Empress Alexandra Feodorovna with her son, the Tsarevich Alexei, 1913

Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (later Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova) (6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918), was Empress consort of Russia as spouse of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of the Russian Empire. Born a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, she was given the name Alexandra Feodorovna upon being received into the Russian Orthodox Church, which canonised her as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer in 2000.

Postcard from Malaysia

Interest in Islamic art has grown enormously in recent years. Reflecting this awareness, in December 1998 Malaysia became home to Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art. The building occupies 30,000 square metres, situated amid the leafy surroundings of central Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens.

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia houses more than seven thousand artefacts, as well has an exceptional library of Islamic-art books. The art objects on display range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The aim is to create a collection that is truly representative of the Islamic world. Instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, IAMM also puts the emphasis on Asia. China and Southeast Asia are especially well represented. The third component of the Malaysian melting pot is India, which is also given special status. India, China and the Malay world are in an exceptional category. Other parts of the collection are displayed according to type rather than geographical origins in the museum’s 12 galleries.

The style of the museum building is modern, with an Islamic feel created by the details rather than by the structure itself. Iranian tile workers transformed the iwan-style entrance into a ceramic tapestry that frames a welcoming verse from the Qur’an. On the roof, these artisans turned the dome-construction traditions of Central Asia into the building’s crowning glory. The turquoise-coloured domes are now a landmark on the Kuala Lumpur skyline.

Inside the building, the angularity of 21st century design is contrasted with the soft, rounded forms of the five domes that dominate the museum’s interior. Laboured over by craftsmen from Uzbekistan, these imposing features help form an ambience that is both airy and harmony. The seamless continuity of light and space is maintained throughout the galleries and into other areas of the museum, such as the library and the restaurant.


Cover from Turkey

Cover and postcards from Japan

суббота, 7 марта 2009 г.

Postcard from France

I've got a postcard -- a new deserved item for my Mozart collection

Postcard from Finland

It is the Pierre Auguste Renoir's "Two girls at the piano" (1883) on the postcard.
This painting was shown in Rome at the exghibition “La maturita tra classico e moderno” in 2008. Description of the exghibition follows: "The exhibition is called “La maturità tra classico e moderno” is dedicated to Renoir’s artistic production which followed his journey in Italy, by retracing this phase of his work through an itinerary made up of 150 pictures.

The painter arrived to Italy in autumn 1881, going from the North to the South of the country. Renoir’s journey initially was just a study and work trip, to search inspiration, a motivating force to take himself out of the Impressionist movement.
Inspiration which swept the artist and which came from the vision and study of Italian classic artworks, proved by notes, sketches and drafts gathered in a sort of travel book which Renoir wrote during his stay in italy.

Therefore the exhibition tries to emphasize the importance of this Italian “awakening” of the artist, but also highlights the absolut variety of the artistic genius of Renoir, who during his long career used different tecniques to paint very different subjects.

The exhibition’s artworks which come from prestigious private collections from all over the world, portrait young women in their simple acts and activities but full of sensuality, so…mothers, ladies and children, but also the more recent artworks dedicated to the landscapes.

Therefore the exhibition remarks on this artist’s complexity, who gets lost between lights and colours, and who was swept up by inspiration which he had to follow and to adapt to his mood and to every period of his life."(Source)

Postcards from Spain

A Coruña is the most North-western Atlantic-facing province of Spain, and one of the four provinces which constitute the autonomous community of Galicia. This province is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and North, the Pontevedra Province to the South and the Lugo Province to the East.

Galicia is an autonomous community in northwest Spain, and was one of the first kingdoms of Europe (Kingdom of Galicia). Its component provinces are A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra. It borders Portugal to the south, the Spanish regions of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west.

Thanks José Luís!

A Coruna