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Byzantium

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My painting takes it’s name from the ancient city of Byzantium, at the confluence of trade between the Aegean and Black Sea, founded in 667 by Byzas of Megara, Greece.  It would in the course of history become Constantinople, (324 AD), the Eastern capitol of the Christian, Roman Empire and eventually the seat of the Muslim, Ottoman Caliphate, (1453 AD). Today it is called Istanbul and a remarkable city that is representative of what is past, passing and to come.

This painting is inspired by Yeats vision of a layered but fixed world that is artificial, unchanging, where ornament or object are perhaps the ideal incarnation of the soul.  These lines from his poem “Sailing to Byzantium”, in particular, are a reference for my painting “Byzantium”.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enameling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantiu…

Byzantium

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The wonderful print collateral supporting Vashon’s 2011 Island Holiday Studio Tour and my own studio invitation just arrived.  The brochure, my card, my evite as well as the tour website were created by Sy and Ric Novak of Novak Creative.  Hats off, once again, for all that they do to professionally present and connect the many artists and art organizations of Vashon to the world.

What is present day Istanbul was once Constantinople and once upon a time Byzantium.  My painting Byzantium is meant to reflect a way we may perceive time as history and history as the stratification through time of place.

When out of political and military necessity Constantine moved the Roman capital to Byzantium in 326 it had already existed as a Greek city, situated at the only opening to the Black Sea, since 667 BC. Greek and Roman sculpture, columns, doors and marbles were taken from temples and cities throughout the Roman empire and brought to Byzantium to adorn new monuments and reflect the magnific…