Jun 252017

I like to take photographs of paintings. Surprisingly it’s possible in quite a few of the big museums.

When I do it, I don’t strive to reproduce what I saw while being there. Instead I try to correct the images, much like I do with my own photographs.

Over the centuries the varnish of paintings tends to get yellow, even brownish. The effect is very similar to a color temperature that’s set too high. It turns out that you can very effectively remove the color cast of paintings in Lightroom. Of course I can’t be sure that this is how the paintings were originally intended, but normally the results look extremely balanced.

Jun 242017

The National Gallery in Prague is spread over a a few buildings, one or two down in the center, the rest up in front of the castle.

We already had Schwarzenberg Palace, which houses part of the collections.

As always I’ve not tried to “catalog” what I’ve seen. I’ve just taken a few pictures of sculptures and paintings that I found impressive or appealing for any reason.

One of today’s images is of course a Rembrand, the other – I don’t know. I like it though. It’s a beautiful rural scene with an abundance of details.

3869 – From the Galleries of Strahov Monastery

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May 242017

It was not the main reason why I was there, but Strahov Monastery has a fine picture gallery.

Initially I just went along because it rained outside and I was already there. I also had not intended to take pictures, but after I tentatively tried one and nobody stepped in to stop the copyright violation, I took a few more.

Unfortunately I didn’t buy a catalogue (I probably should have) and I also failed to take images of the artist’s names. I don’t even know how old the images are. From the style I’d say not earlier than 1870, but there is no reason why they couldn’t be much younger. I simply don’t know and Strachov’s website only mentions one Dürer, lots of Baroque and 17th to 19th century bohemian landscapes.

3482 – The Window of Opportunity

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May 012016

For those of you living in a big city: Do you ever visit your own museums?

I certainly do so on vacation in other cities. I rarely miss an important one. But Vienna? Yes, I’ve been a few times in Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna’s most important collection of paintings, but it took me more than 30 years to visit the Academy of Fine Arts. Yes, that’s the academy that refused Hitler and forced him into politics. What a pity! The world of Art would have survived another talentless painter, but so many millions of people would have survived. The Academy has a much smaller collection, but it has one of the most interesting works of Hieronymus Bosch.

Finally in January, and now we are where this image was taken, I visited Albertina, the museum primarily known to me for its graphic art collection with Dürer’s famous “Young Hare“.

Oh how mistaken I found myself! They have a vast collection of modern Art with major works from the Impressionists, Expressionists, Surrealists and many more. In any case, if you are ever in Vienna and are even remotely interested in paintings, all three museums are well worth your time.

3334 – History Lessons In The Cloister

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Dec 052015

This is interesting and I didn’t expect it at all: The cloister behind the Cathedral, accessible for a fee through the ambulatory, is actually an archeological museum!

You can walk around as one usually does in a cloister, but there is also a walkway on the inside, where you can look at the site closely.

By the way, this is a kind of cloister that I’ve never seen before. Normally cloisters are on one side of the church, accessible through a side door, and normally cloisters have four sides. This one seemingly had only three sides, with the patio closed off by the church itself.

Well, maybe the cloister of the Carthusian monastery in Ferrara was similar, at least it was behind the church like in Lisbon, but I couldn’t get in. The Quake, remember?

I can’t explain the spatial arrangement in Ferrara, a city where there was always plenty of space inside the walls. Here in Lisbon it’s obviously due to space constraints. But then, it’s interesting anyway.

Nov 062015

Today we have two more images from inside of the museum. Shutter speeds are 1/8 s and 1/10 s.

ISO is even below the E-M1’s base of ISO 200. While you don’t gain quality by going below base ISO on most cameras, on the E-M1 you do. Image stabilization makes sure that I can operate at f5 and f7.1, thereby having plenty of DOF.

Nov 052015

Now we’re inside of the museum. It’s a pretty random collection of Roman stones, Egypt mummies, books, tiles and all sorts of old things. I spare you those.

As a museum it didn’t impress me, but of course I’m a sucker for church architecture.

This is the kind of architecture that I’ve bought the Olympus 7-14/2.8 for. It’s the ideal lens for cramped spaces 🙂

While you see some ghosts of the harsh lights in the Image of the Day, they are so unobtrusive, that I decided to leave them in the image. You may remember that I once had the Panasonic 7-14/4.0. It’s exactly this kind of situation where the Olympus lens is phenomenally better. Using the Panasonic lens on an Olympus camera, I would have had to battle numerous big, bright purple balls all over the image. I don’t know how the lens behaves on a Panasonic body (it must be something about the reflexivity of the sensor), maybe much better, but on an Olympus I probably wouldn’t have been able to take this image at all.

2890 – The Emperor

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Sep 162014

The local museum in Villach currently runs an exhibition of old pictures of the city, mostly early photographs some paintings and some early maps. It’s pretty interesting to see, what the place where you live has looked like, one or two hundred years ago.

Of course even ten years sometimes make a tremendous difference. Take for instance the part of Vienna where I live now. It’s currently expanding like mad and it does so in a mostly positive way. In fact Vienna invests a lot in planning and infrastructure, in order to not repeat the sins of the past.

But I digress. The bust in the image is from the museum and it shows the emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, commonly referred to as “The Emperor”, just as if there never had been another monarch claiming the title 🙂

The Song of the Day is “The Emperor” by Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy. Hear it on YouTube.