Thursday, July 19, 2007

Art and astrology

Camille Flammarion, L'Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888), p. 163.

The Flammarion Woodcut is an enigmatic woodcut by an unknown artist. It is referred to as the Flammarion Woodcut because its first documented appearance is in page 163 of Camille Flammarion's L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire (Paris, 1888), a work on meteorology for a general audience. The woodcut depicts a man peering through the Earth's atmosphere as if it were a curtain to look at the inner workings of the universe.

The caption translates to "A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven [the sense here is 'sky'] and Earth meet...".

"Flat Earth"

This work is related with the mistaken (but even today widespread) notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth. Today professional medievalists and historians of science agree that this "medieval flat earth" was a nineteenth-century fabrication, and that the few verifiable "flat earthers" were the exception.
Years ago I had a friend who was an astrologist. On my birthday one year she produced a detailed astrological chart that really meant nothing to me besides an elaborate set of lines, dots and words, but to her it mapped out my past, present and future.

While I have a degree of skepticism about the whole concept, there is also a deep rooted interest in astrology as well and when I talk to individuals and find out more about them, I see how some traits in specific astrological signs fit in. Now is this coincidence or reality? Do we see what we want to see and make it our own?

Being born under the astrological sign of Pisces, according to some sites, I have a variety of traits that I am well aware of and that follow through in my belief of who or what I am. There are as many astrological predictions and explanations as you wish to examine, some a lot more respectable than others. My astrological sign of the two fishes, swimming in opposite directions, but joined by a cord, was a symbol that I used in my symbolic self portrait that's still being completed. So what am I in astrological terms?

'Well, what are you?" said the Pigeon. "I can see you're trying to invent something!" "I-I'm a little girl," said Alice, rather doubtfully.

She found herself at last in a beautiful garden, among the bright flower-beds and the cool fountains.

Pisceans tend to withdraw into a dream world where their qualities can bring mental satisfaction and sometimes, fame and financial reward for they are extremely gifted artistically. They are also versatile and intuitive, have quick understanding, observe and listen well, and are receptive to new ideas and atmospheres. All these factors can combine to produce remarkable creativity in literature, music and art. They may count among their gifts mediumistic qualities which can give them a feeling that their best work comes from outside themselves, "Whispered beyond the misted curtains, screening this world from that." Even when they cannot express themselves creatively they have a greater than average instinct for, and love of, beauty in art and nature, a catlike appreciation of luxury and pleasure, and a yearning for new sensations and travel to remote, exotic places.

And of course there are horoscopes for artists... and what else could a Piscean be?
Art World Astrology


Anita said...

The one thing I know about pisceans is that they find it very hard to make up their minds! I dabbled in astrology for a while - its kind of fun. Love the woodcut - super amount of detail!

Jeanette said...

I'll let you know when I decide about that Anita...:)

Its an ancient science that is interesting. When done scientifically it becomes a very complex exercise.

Katherine said...

So you're a Pisces - that explains a lot! ;)