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The macaroni fashion was about celebrity and self-invention and pointed to a transformation in British society from one that focused on maintaining received social roles to one that was starting to accept a more fluid notion of social mobility and identity. Art critic and historian Giorgio Vasari belittled the practice by declaring, This thing pleased Bruno [di Giovanni] and other foolish men of the time, just as today it pleases certain clumsy fellows who have thus employed vulgar devices worthy of themselves. The earliest ledger-drawn works were created by the Native American prisoners at Fort Marion in Florida, where the internees were encouraged to participate in the market economy by learning to produce commercial goods for tourists. One of the largest and most complex compositions is a battle scene drawn at Writing-on-Stone that represents the Retreat up the Hill Battle fought along the Milk River in between the Piegan Blackfeet and a war party made up of Gros Ventre, Plains Cree, and Crow warriors. The simultaneous narrative of the painting enhances the dream-time mythology, where actions in the past are repeated again through rituals in the present.
Animal and part-animal human figures representing guardian spirits play a prominent role in these works, alongside biographical symbolism that depicts such status-building events as horse stealing, leading a war party, and counting coupe, where warriors would better an opponent without killing him. Ledger artworks were strongly influenced by contact with white settlers, missionaries, and the U. The earliest ledger-drawn works were created by the Native American prisoners at Fort Marion in Florida, where the internees were encouraged to participate in the market economy by learning to produce commercial goods for tourists.
Despite the commercial interests, ledger art remains a fascinating record of commonplace experiences in the lives of Native Americans. In ledger art, there is greater attention to natural details, especially in the clothing of the figures and the physical gestures of the horses. The wider range of subjects drawn by the Fort Marion artists in part resulted from the fact that they were prohibited from drawing Anglo-Indian battles, as well as from a fascination with the new society that surrounded them and their memories of their everyday lives before their imprisonment.
A careful study of the compositions of Cheyenne ledger art reveals remarkable consistency in the orientation of the narrative elements.
Candace Greene observed that in scenes of warfare, a full 84 percent of the time the figure on the right is the Cheyenne.
Greene describes how male status is the common theme that runs through these representations. Compositions where the Cheyenne male appears on the left usually indicate that the dominant male has been overthrown, as seen in the depiction of the hunting scene where the dying buffalo gores the hunters horse.
For more on ledger art, see box 1. Oral narrative art compresses time to simultaneously express abstract relationships connoting cultural notions of power, spiritual order, and social influence. Often for oral artists, mnemonic necessity dictates that they remember interconnections between actions rather than the precise sequence of individual events.
The lack of specific time markers allows for a freer chronology of events and makes it possible for a past event to be reshaped to. Box 1. While employed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Silver Horn began to experiment with keeping a daily visual journal of his life recorded in a recycled record book for target practice.
One hundred and nineteen pages were drawn in a continuous narrative style utilizing a line that folded back and forth from one page to the next indicating days, weeks, special events, and both Kiowa and Western months from the years to His Target Record Book is a unique diary adapted from the Kiowa Winter Count tradition of painting where an owl indicates a death; but unlike traditional winter count drawings which simultaneously represent all the years events, Silver Horn invented a linear narrative design representing his daily life.
Much of the diary today, unfortunately, has become cryptic due to a lack of understanding of the unique signs and symbols that Silver Horn invented. The calendar does record an interesting transformation in Silver Horns sense of time. As he became more accustomed to the military regimen at Fort Sill, there is a gradual shift in Silver Horns reckoning from Kiowa time markers to exclusively Western time markers.
By , Silver Horn stopped recording Kiowa names of the months altogether, and the daily record becomes dominated by markers indicating paydays and other ordinary routines of camp life at Fort Still. Later in life, with his eyesight failing, Silver Horn took up painting on leather hides, reverting to a medium that, less than a generation before, had been given up for the use of paper.
His distinct style of art, with its elongated figures with colorfully rendered clothing, would provide inspiration to the first generation of Native American studio artists in the s who were searching for a means to represent the traditional past. Oral narrative art tends to be honed down to its essentials, with extraneous details removed so that the key players take focus in a heightened moment of contact, which reverberates with meanings on multiple levels.
Abstract elementsthe red lines across the surface of the Linton panel, the concentric circles for campsites in the Aboriginal art, or. Regardless of the culture, it is evident that simultaneous narratives represent, not an absence of time or history, but rather a heightened awareness of a moment caught in time, echoing from the past toward future retellings.
Literacy and Narrative Art Much of the surviving early narrative art from literate societies memorialized significant political events. Both the Egyptian pallet of Narmer BCE and the Assyrian Stele of Vultures BCE have images of brutally vanquished armies, which served to demonstrate the military superiority of the ruling power that commissioned the works. Although both narratives have common visual elements, more is known about the specific function and context of the Assyrian Stele of Vultures that was created to honor the victory of the state of Lagash over Umma.
The Assyrian stele is different than the Egyptian pallet in that it has narrow lines that divide one side of the stele into two sections and the other side into four, showing the oldest example of narrative register lines, which were used to organize the images on the stele into a readable order.
The stele was read much like an early Sumerian text from bottom to top, with the preparations for war along the lower edge, leading to the battle formation in the middle, which concludes on the topmost register with vultures feasting on the carcasses of the fallen enemy. Scholars have noted that the stele actually has two distinct modes of communication on either side of the stele: It is the combination of the mythic and the historic modes of communication that attempts to give lasting religious significance to the singular historic event.
Religious teachings and political propaganda, such as found in the Stele of Vultures, were originally formulated in written works that were largely inaccessible to most people until the visual power of the graphic narrative was used to introduce them into the broader public by putting the story on display. Register lines provide visual organization much like the lines on a page.
What all these civilizations had in common was the development of a written literature. Ancient texts usually came either rolled up as a scroll on a spindle or as a codex with pages of wood, parchment, or bark bound on one side or folded in a fanlike fashion.
The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Because of the preservative qualities found in the sands of the Sahara, these texts are some of the oldest surviving texts in the world. Written on the woven and pressed pith of a common marsh plant, papyrus, Egyptian scrolls have survived from as far back as BCE.
The word papyrus literally means that which belongs in the house, referring back to its common bureaucratic use in ancient Egypt for cataloging inventories in warehouses. Its durability and easy manufacture made papyrus the writing material of choice for several thousand years in the ancient world surrounding the Mediterranean.
All along a papyrus scroll, which could be up to 30 feet in length, narrow columns between two and four inches wide defined the organization of the text and images. In what is now called the papyrus style, the illustrations were framed by the column registers, placing the emphasis on the figures and objects without detailed backgrounds. With the slow advance of literacy through the classical world, a variety of more complex strategies for telling stories were devised.
Though the examples here follow more or less a chronological order, there is no evolutionary pattern to these various forms of early narrative art. Once a society developed a certain degree of literacy, its members tended to gravitate toward certain forms; but the mode of visual narrative used was a choice among a range of possibilities.
Single-Frame Narrative Art One of the early masters of narrative art was a black-figure-vase painter in ancient Greece by the name of Exekias sixth century BCE , who was renown for his exceptional skill in selecting a single poignant scene that evoked the tragedy of the whole story. The design on the amphora by Exekias depicts the tragic moment when in the heat of battle Achilles meets the Amazon Penthesilea and kills her.
This much is clearly evident in the design with the warrior queen at the mercy of Achilles, but a more nuanced look at the figures shows Penthesilea turning back to look at him.
A fateful gesture, as Achilles falls in love with her; but it is too late for him to check his battle fury, and she dies by his hand. Exekiass choice of this particular moment would not have been lost on the ancient Greeks, who were well versed in this story from the Trojan War. In the example of the amphora by Exekias, a single scene describes the narrative action; it is through the careful choice of the moment depicted. Achilles killing Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.
Black-figured amphora wine-jar signed by Exekias as potter and attributed to him as painter, sixth century BCE, Vulci, Italy. Such visual narrative representations are called monoscenic because the painting represents a single event and there is no repetition of characters or later scenes to suggest the passage of time.
Monoscenic narratives require the reader to know the story well because there are few intrinsic visual clues to signify actions beyond the specific moment shown. In discussing the way stories are represented, it is valuable to make a distinction between a story and a narrative. The particular choice of scene, the way events are ordered, the way the actions appear, all represent the narrative, which is how a story is shown or told at a particular time.
The story is a larger and more amorphous category that includes all the related various narrative renditions of a tale that not only lets viewers understand what they are seeing but also allows them to compare this depiction with their memory of. Artists create narratives out of our memories of stories. It is through their creative selection that the new narrative becomes a different, unique retelling that will, if memorable, shape future representations of the story.
Related to monoscenic representations are conflated monoscenic narratives, where more than one event is taking place though there is no repetition of characters or scenes.
This type of narrative is demonstrated in the Attic black-figure kylix by the painter of the Boston Polyphemos, ca. Across the outside of the kylix are represented several events from the part of The Odyssey This particular painting not only shows the transformation of the sailors but also depicts the escape of Eurylochos who warns Odysseus, and on the other side of the painting, the return of Odysseus armed and ready to confront the sorceress Circe. The use of conflation is a way of expanding the immediate narrative action to convey broader narrative meanings.
By conflating the action to include Odysseus, the story is not just about the fate of the indulgent sailors but also conveys the sober intervention of their quick-thinking captain. The painting does not have formal boundaries that demarcate one event from another, but the viewers prior knowledge of the story makes it possible to sort out the various actions and to recognize the overall sequence of events.
Single-frame narrative art often arranges the figures into smaller groups, creating what is called visual nuclei that help define distinct moments in the story. Greek narrative art developed this compositional strategy to a high degree, allowing for longer and more complex narrative arrangements along an unbroken frieze, as in the Siphnian Treasury Dephi, BCE and the Parthenon Acropolis, Athens, BCE.
Although both of these works are unbroken visually with actual frames, their sheer size and locationhigh up on top of large buildingsmake it impossible to take in the whole narrative all at once. The north Siphnian Treasury frieze represents the mythic battle between the gods and titans over control of Mount Olympus called the Gigantomachy. The action does not represent a series of sequential events; rather, it depicts a number of thematically related scenes that are occurring more or less at the same time and thus represent a panoramic narrative.
The groupings of figures define different nuclei in the composition, thereby allowing for more complex interaction between the figures locked in the battle and providing areas where the viewers eye can rest as it takes in one portion of the frieze at a time. The Parthenon frieze that appears inside the colonnade of the temple to Athena also takes into account the progress of the viewer moving across the. As a viewer moves around the colonnade to see the inner frieze, distinct nuclei appear in the composition that help define specific units of the narrative, which depicts the Panathenaic procession in honor of Athena.
The frieze does not tell a sequential narrative but instead shows what has been called a progressive narrative, where there is no repetition of characters as the action unfolds like a parade. In this case, it is the viewer who moves to take in the event rather than the procession moving before the viewer. In monoscenic, panoramic, and progressive narratives, the emphasis of the narrative is on the individual characters who are acting, not on the particular the actions the characters are making.
In each of these forms of narrative art, there is no repetition of characters; therefore, the art focuses the viewers attention to what Meyer Schapiro called being in state, which he contrasted with narratives that have multiple character representations as being in action. Narrative art with multiple representations of a character within a scene is called a synoptic narrative.
Punishment of Panderers, Seducers. Illustration to Dantes Divine Comedy, ca. Dante and his guide are repeatedly represented as they make their way through the levels of hell, whereas those souls in torment are fixed in their eternal condition.
The colors, composition, and synoptic narrative style all vividly portray the different epistemological conditions between the living and the damned. The term continuous narrative has been broadly applied to a number of different kinds of narrative art, from Tommaso Masaccios Tribute Money to Trajans Column CE. In both cases, multiple representations of characters exist, but the length and size of the frame vary considerably.
Tribute Money is a single work within a longer series of frescos at the Brancacci Chapel that have a very clear frame that defines the action within a single scene.
Christ and his apostles appear center, stopped by the Roman tax collector, and the story unfolds first to the left, where Saint Peter takes money from a fishs mouth, and then to the right, where he hands it to the tax collector. Although the painting has three compositional nuclei that shape the narrative action, the overall fresco is not so large that it cannot be taken in all at once and be read and reread quickly. In contrast, Trajans Column is a meter feet frieze that wraps 23 times around a column 38 meters feet tall.
Emperor Trajan appears 59 times along the whole of the narrative marshaling his forces to repeated victory against the Dacians. Needless to say, it is impossible to take in the whole composition at once, and the height and location of the column outdoors make it difficult to read much beyond what can be seen from the ground.
As in the Parthenon frieze, the long composition contains clear visual nuclei that define units of action that make it possible to identify distinct narrative scenes, but the overall effect is of the unstoppable march of Roman armies toward victory. Because Trajans Column requires the viewer to move about the column, it is compositionally similar to Chinese scrolls that require the reader to view the work one section at a time though there is no visual frame that breaks up the overall composition.
Therefore, it is best to consider these longer compositions continuous narratives in order to distinguish them from the single-scene variety, like the Tribute Money mentioned earlier, which are more accurately described as synoptic narratives. The distinction is important because a synoptic narrative allows for quick reading and rereading of the entire frame; hence the moral of the action is more apparent because the figures tend to represent attitudes and conditions, like an aphorism, that can be summed up in a few words.
Continuous narratives, on the other hand, emphasize the unfolding continuity of the scenes. Just as beads strung together cumulatively create a. The impressive embroidery, done in eight different colors, spans more than 70 meters feet in length and contains as many as 50 different interconnected scenes.
The Bayeux Tapestry relates the political motivations, battle preparations, and ultimately the humiliating defeat of the English. As in Trajans Column, there are symbolic references to the mythic past, which are intended to lend greater urgency and significance to the battle. Unlike the column in Rome, however, the reasons for the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry remain something of an enigma; the images stitched into the story sometimes reveal contradictory messages, which complicates the idea that the tapestry was commissioned merely to celebrate the Norman victory.
The victorious Norman king, William, is depicted similarly to villainous Herod in the New Testament, whereas the eventually defeated king of England, Harold, is shown in a more tragic and sympathetic manner.
The peculiarities of these mixed messages are perhaps a result of the origins of the Bayeux Tapestry, which was most likely made in Canterbury by the vanquished English monks and nuns.
Although the work was commissioned by the Normans as a memorial to their victory, it also subtly encoded the memories of those defeated. The most common varieties of single-frame narrative art are monoscenic and synoptic.
Both use a relatively small frame that allows the viewer to take in a few characters in a limited number of actions, and both are predominantly found in codex illustrations. Continuous, panoramic, and progressive narratives are all longer works that adapt well to scrolls that are unfurled one section at a time, or around a monument where the viewer moves from one scene to another see box 1. The chief difference between the smaller and larger works is how they choose to represent the passage of time.
The number of different actions represented is typically greater in synoptic and continuous narratives, where the convention of using multiple representations of single characters allows for more specific actions being narrated over time. Multiple-Frame Narrative Art The earliest and most common type of multiple-frame narratives are called cyclic narratives, where each picture in the sequence represents a unique scene and each subsequent picture is related through a common story or related story.
The individual frames do not have a causal relationshipone. Instead, each frame represents an autonomous moment in the overall narrative much like a series of monoscenic pictures. Each scene represents one of the labors, and all the scenes taken together represent the complete heroic accomplishments of Herakles, which will eventually lead to his apotheosis.
Jocelyn Penny Small has pointed out that it was more important to classical artists and audiences to see the gist of what occurred rather than to see sequential accuracy. Cyclic narratives emphasize those general themes rather than the specific events of a story.
They are more effective in summing up the idea behind the story than in telling the whole story from beginning to end. For this reason, they are often used as a didactic tool to reinforce the morals found in a story. Cyclic narratives assume a temporal progression, where one picture is understood to precede another, but the meanings that can be derived from cyclic narratives are not limited to those linear temporal orientations.
The first column tells the Old Testament story of the fall of humankind and the expulsion from Eden, and the second column tells the New Testament story of Christs crucifixion and resurrection. Each story is arranged in such a way that by reading downward on the left and then upward on the right, the events follow a chronological order; but by looking across to the event in the other column, the viewer can make thematic associations between the Old and New Testaments, for across from Eves temptation is shown Christs crucifixion.
Given that people viewing the doors were accustomed to reading horizontally from right to left, the organization on the Hildesheim bronze doors. Cyclic narratives are more dependent on words for comprehension than are linear narratives and are often used in book illustration alongside the text of the story, where they provide clarity and focus to the story.
When a cyclic narrative appears by itself, as in the metope reliefs of Herakles, the story must be well known, or in the case of some traditions, the pictures become a tool for storytellers who provide the narrative details. Picture recitation, as it is commonly called, has existed for centuries in many parts of the world and has been chiefly responsible for the dissemination of some stories across the globe.
According to the research of Victor Mair, picture recitation most likely developed first in India, as far back as the fourth century BCE, where a smattering of references inside Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts suggests a thriving subculture in picture recitation.
In the Hindu text of the Arthashastra, for example, in a list of low-status entertainers, there is the name for a picture showman patua, manka, or saubhika. The common traits found in all these early references are that the players were itinerant, low-status people who essentially begged for alms by spreading out a painting on cloth and reciting stories as they sang and danced.
Victor Mair has built up an extensive case that these itinerant performers spread outward from India and by adapting their stories to the local culture established themselves as far away as Sweden, Spain, Japan, and Indonesia.
Their moralistic and educational stories provided both topical commentary on current events and religious themes dealing with punishments and rewards. The performer, called a bhopo, is performing a story of the legendary hero Pabuji. He is accompanied by his wife, who sings and collects money during the performance, which lasts all night long.
Bhopo are more than just street entertainers; they also function as folk-priests or shamans serving poor rural communities with their small, portable shrines. The performance is part of a low-caste religious practice, which blesses the audience and the sponsors for their participation. Bhopos seldom survive on their performances alone and typically need to supplement their meager income with farming or some other trade such as animal trainer or village veterinarian.
The picture reciters of Bengal in western India perform a tradition called patuan and belong to one of the lowest castes in India, Chitrakars. With the rise of Islam in the 16th century, many Chitrakars converted to Islam to escape the plight of their lowly Hindu status. Despite their conversion, Chitrakars continue to perform Hindu stories and demonstrate extensive.
Other stories represented in patuan picture recitation include the Sahib pat, of the Santhal Revolution June 30, , an account of the historical event that has been passed down orally among the Chitrakars. New stories have also been commissioned, including a rendition of the French Revolution,7 an adaptation based on the movie about the sinking of the Titanic, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Buddhist monks in many parts of Asia commonly employed picture recitation to carry moral messages to their followers, which helped disseminate Buddhist teachings across much of Asia. Buddhism was especially influential in developing narrative strategies because of the pedagogical character of its stories jataka that often spoke of the process of becoming enlightened. In Julia K. Murrays analysis of ancient Chinese scroll paintings she observes that it was not the technology of the scroll that brought extended narratives to China rather it was the arrival of Buddhism that inspired longer narrative works painted on scrolls.
This is why the history of graphic narrative is essentially a conceptual history of a visual language because as the ideas for communicating narratives advanced, they in turn spurred technical innovations to help further those aims. Many of the narrative strategies that Buddhism inspired carried over into the Buddhist monuments themselves and provided a ritual framework for the recitation inside the sanctified space. Nearly two miles of relief carvings depicting the many lives of Buddha wrap 10 times about the mountainlike monument.
The common theme in each picture emerges from the many virtues the Buddha conveys in his spiritual journey toward enlightenment. Walking through the long corridors lined with relief carvings, the pilgrim would have been led by a monk narrating the story and the morals according to what is represented in each picture.
At the base of the monument, the carvings begin with the simple moral tales found in the Buddhist parables called the Jataka. These stories along the lower level are appropriate for lay practitioners with a minimum of Buddhist knowledge. The stories gradually become more and more complex and reflect higher levels of Buddhist learning as pilgrims approach the top of the monument. Borobudur represents the fullest embodiment of a whole librarys worth of texts into art, and yet all by itself it cannot by tell the stories of the lives of Buddha.
Literacy had allowed for new concepts in story organization and created the notion of ordered sequences of images; but for pictures to become an autonomous means for telling stories, the pictures needed to have a visual means to describe phenomena over time. Doing this required not just images ordered sequentially but also a way of conveying gesture and expression unfolding one moment to the next.
This next advance in the visual language of graphic narratives would come about only with the invention of caricature and the development of a popular press. With these innovations in visual communication, artists would seek to capture the imagination of literate audiences by rendering urgent and outrageous stories that reenact the drama of a moment as if it were unfolding before their eyes.
Popular prints provided an important medium for the development of graphic narratives by encouraging greater diversity and complexity in the way stories could be told with pictures. Audiences of popular prints sought to be entertained, and so artists were pressed to create work that continually provided novelty at the same time as they remained accessible. The need for novelty encouraged artists to explore stories that were wholly original or drawn from current events, thereby expanding the range of topics in the popular press to more than was possible under religious patronage alone.
Popular prints also encouraged the development of a visual language that would be self-evident and reward an audiences continued engagement. The visual language of popular prints assumed many of the conventions for representing authority and depravity from the fine art world, but it also expanded that vocabulary to include new visual representations of voice, sound, and movement, as well as the graphic means to communicate asides, thoughts, and dreams.
Popular Prints in China A woodblock print of the Chinese Buddhist Diamond Sutra dated CE is the earliest surviving print publication, and yet the intricate lines that reproduce the brushwork quality of the Chinese characters suggest that this was already a fully developed technology that had been in use for several centuries. Despite the huge advantage China had in adopting print technology early in its history, the printing press was not intended to make information widely available; rather, it was used as a means to accurately reproduce long documents for official use.
Early ambitious print productions included the entire. Buddhist canon with more than 6, volumes. The total number of copies made of each volume remained relatively small because the publication was not intended for the general populace.
Popular-print books in China remained a rare commodity for many centuries because the best quality ink, paper, and wood used for printing was under direct government control. Such individual popular prints as posters and home decorations were designed for mass consumption and thus were of inferior quality and seldom preserved.
Early records describe woodblock prints being used as New Years prints nianhua , which were posted on the New Year with the hope that they would inspire protection, prosperity, and virtue in the coming year.
Such Chinese Taoist and Buddhist deities as door and kitchen gods were the frequent subject of these prints, but also depicted were historic events, legends, theatrical scenes, and pious Confucian morals. Images of the demon queller Zhong Kuei date back to the Northern Song Dynasty CE and have remained a popular staple of nianhua publications ever since. The legend states that Zhong Kuei was a brilliant scholar who had a hideous countenance that kept him from receiving his just recognition.
He appears as the magistrate of the underworld, brandishing a staff in order to keep at bay other unseen demons, and he becomes the archetype for the avenging magistrate, a role that would be explored in later popular literature. All 12 tales appear on a single page, with each story represented by a single medallion that sums up the moral message.
In each case, a devoted son goes to great lengths to honor and care for his parents: The pictures describe only a few choice details and, like most cyclic narratives, rely on a readers prior knowledge of the action to make sense as a story. Moveable type first appeared in China as early as CE, but it never caught on because of the difficulty of using thousands of separate characters to reproduce the Chinese calligraphic writing.
Moveable type was more widely used in 13th century Korea, where the language needed fewer individual characters to form words; it would eventually be developed in Europe by Johann Gutenberg in with cast-metal type.
Individual pages composed and carved on woodblocks continued to be a more pragmatic solution to replicating the handwritten character of the Chinese and later Japanese languages. The wide gap between the literate elite and the unlettered general populace persisted until late in the Yuan Dynasty. Popular publications were. Publishers in Jianyang at this time worked in relative obscurity from official concerns and devoted their energies to appealing to as wide a popular audience as possible.
A few of the extant Jianyang works from the s bear the description Newly printed, fully illustrated popular stories xinkan quanxiang pinghua ; these stories were published in a format called shangtu xiawen, where the upper third of each page was dedicated to illustration.
A new genre published in this shangtu xiawen form comprised historic fictions based on the legendary exploits of such exemplary magistrates as Judge Bao, which have been described as the first murder mysteries ever written. Other kinds of textsBuddhist prayers, divination manuals, dramas, and classic texts, for examplealso used this shangtu xiawen format, and from among these various kinds of texts emerged creative ways of mixing words and pictures.
A number of early Ming Dynasty Judge Bao texts in the shangtu xiawen style demonstrate novel ways in which the words and pictures support, confirm, and negate each other according to established conventions.
Shangtu xiawen illustration was organized to be viewed in the same manner as the Chinese text below it, from the upper right down to the lower left. Most figures look and move in this leftward direction, with only a few exceptions, as when characters are returning home or when an evil character enters to perform some deviant behavior.
In a similar manner, the right-left axis is used to reflect social standing, with the upper right reserved for persons of status and power and the lower left, by contrast, for figures of lower rank. The stories used these conventions to thematically link narrative actions and highlight moral and immoral actions. In one instance, Judge Bao attempts to dislodge a demon snake in a temple and the snake maintains the upper-right position in each illustration, a position normally held by Judge Bao.
This reversal may reflect some sympathy the illustrator felt for the demon snake, but a more likely answer is that the illustrator wanted Judge Bao to battle a formidable opponent and so created the impression that this was no ordinary snake by placing it in the upper-right portion of the image.
Other conventions established at this time were the use of square patterns on the floor to give the impression that the viewer was looking down on the scene with a portion of the roof removed, a hierarchic scale where more important characters were rendered slightly larger, and balloonlike shapes that emerge from characters to represent dreams, magic spells, and the human soul.
Many of these conventions, along with the print technology itself,. European Medieval and Renaissance Popular Press One of the oldest-surviving European woodblock fragments is dated between and The French Bois Protat block, as it is called, represents a small portion of a scene of Christ on the Crucifix and was most likely used for printing portable fabric altars rather than printing on paper. The fragment shows a group of three men below the right side of the crucifix, and emanating from the mouth of the frontmost figure is a phylactery, or scroll used to represent speech.
The visual link the scroll creates between the speaking patron and Christ was an effort to convey the power of human speech to assert relationships even when it compromised the legibility of the words. The representation of scrolls in paintings first appears as an adaptation of Greek and Roman Honor Cloths, which were draped behind authors as a sign of their eminence and later were understood as a visual sign for someone being an author.
Such later depictions of scrolls as at the eighth century Coptic Church mural in the monastery of Saint Apollo at Bawit, Cairo, shows the Christ child holding a scroll while seated in the lap of Mary and surrounded by the elderly apostles, who all carry books. The scroll, in contrast to the books, represents the original prophetic voice of Christ, which would only later be recorded in the different Gospels of the New Testament. Thus, the idea of the scroll is not a record of past events but a vehicle for an original expression, a way of conveying the first utterance.
Laura Kendrick persuasively argues that the motivation behind textual illumination in the medieval era was an effort to embody the text within the text, that the words on the page were indeed the voice and body of God through his apostles.
By illuminating their texts, medieval Christians hoped to convey greater authority in the text and to represent through illustrating a bodythe body of Christan image that would act metaphorically as its speaker. By making the book a work of art, medieval illuminators hoped the reader would accept. The earliest popular printed materials broadsheet followed the biblical illustrative traditions and were designed to appeal to Christian pilgrims who wanted a modest means to remember a particular saint or Christs Passion.
The Swabian print from the midth century depicting The Tortures of St. Erasmus is an early example of a broadsheet commemorating the penitent suffering of a saint. The print organized the episodes as a series of 12 images, arranged in a grid, which focus on the nine different brutal tortures enacted before the saints final beheading. The cyclic narrativestyle pictures, like the 12 labors of Herakles from the classical world, describe a well-known story in a formulaic manner; thus 12 sufferings were often attached to a saints story regardless of his or her actual biography.
When secular original stories appeared, they were based on similar religious themes and followed similar religious designs. The wood-cut print My Heart Doth Smart ca. In a panoramic fashion, a series of thematically related images of hearts being tortured surround the central picture of a man kneeling before a naked woman, lamenting, Oh maiden pretty and tender, free me from the suffering and close me in your arms.
Synoptic narratives, where a story unfolds in several directions across a unified background, often employed letters or numbers to help the reader link portions of the picture to an accompanying text.
This strategy is seen in the Bavarian print Origin and Character of the Swine Who Call Themselves Jesuits , which is read back and forth from the top to the bottom according to the accompanying letters. Curiously, the artist left out the letter J in this sequence, perhaps as a further reminder of his aversion for Jesuits.
Print propaganda flourished from this time forward, catering to one side or another of the ongoing religious wars between Catholics and Protestants or indulging either side in their mutual obsession with anti-Semitism. Depictions of one creed or another as animals or as possessed by demons constitute the bulk of early popular prints.
Their widespread proliferation across Europe is evidence that these prints were able to stir up powerful passions.
Early prints in Europe were fairly expensive; in England, the cost was anywhere between threepence to a whole shilling. They were. Broadsheets were available through booksellers, but they were also sold in the streets by traveling performers of picture recitation.
This development can be seen in an illustration from of an Italian picture-recitation performance, where broadsheets for sale can be seen in the womans hand and in the performers hat. Although the stories were different, the European picture recitation bore many similar features to the Asian tradition originating in India.
In both continents, the tradition was maintained by low-class itinerant performers who used passages of music and song to help tell a story.
Though the origins of picture recitation in Europe are relatively obscure, performers called cantabanco bench singer first appeared in Italy in the first half of the 16th century. Today, such performers are referred to as cantastoria story singers. From Italy, the practice of picture recitation spread throughout Europe and died out only with the advent of radio and television.
As in the broadsides, the narrative content of the cantastoria consisted of religious and political propaganda, as well as tales of horror and heinous crimes. This content can be seen in a German print from that has the descriptive title True and Horrible News of what happened and took place in the town of Limburg with daughter of a rich baker called Catherine, who bore seven illegitimate children and murdered and killed them all. Thus the two mediums complemented each other, supporting and enlivening the artistic form and narrative content of each.
By the 15th century, secular stories of adventure and moral allegories were among the most popular books published.
The illustration of these tales was a critical selling point, and publishers overcame challenging technical hurdles to find ways to bring words and pictures together. The chief obstacle was the combination of cast-metal type for the words and woodblock cuts for the illustrations.
The different temperament of the materials under the pressure of the printing press meant that most books had their words printed first and illustrations inserted later. Another persistent problem was the division of labor wherein the separate guilds of printers, writers, and illustrators fostered many inconsistencies and contradictions in the way printed books were illustrated.
Often, pictures bore only a casual relationship to the text because the publishers regularly reused illustrations from one publication and inserted them into another.
In , G unther Zanier helped spread that practice by instructing his. A decade later in an edition of the Seelenwurzgarten from Ulm, one woodcut was reused 37 times; and though the publication boasted illustrations, that was accomplished with only 19 different woodcuts. D urer did almost all the drawings for the publication, adding his astute observations of daily life and a kind of playful immediacy to the allegorical depictions of foolish characters.
The character of these early designs influenced many later popular publications, which also followed the example of depicting various social ills in the guise of people with foolscaps. D urer had the good fortune of being born in N uremberg at a time of tremendous expansion of print culture. His own godfather, Anton Koberger, became one of the leading printers in Germany and was famous for his publication of the N uremberg Chronicles, which was one of the most copiously illustrated books of the day.
D urer, like most artists who worked in woodblock prints, did not cut the design into woodblocks himself but, rather, drew on the wood directly or had his drawing pasted to the wood so that a master carver could cut the design for publication. During the s, D urer would learn the new art of engraving and would produce his own designs.
Engraving was more durable than woodblocks; because it was done in metal, like the type, it did not warp or crack under pressure from the press.
Engraving was also a more direct means of rendering the image for reproduction because the groove that was cut in the metal was filled with ink to become the actual line reproduced in the image. The process allowed for more gradations of black through the use of cross-hatching and further encouraging artists to employ more intricate and nuanced linework in print reproduction. The delicate work of rendering words within illustrations was also made easier, and so words began to appear with greater frequency inside pictures, where they could bend and curve to create very elaborate phylacteries.
Hans Sebald Behams vivacious and vulgar etching Peasant Dance displays some of the virtuoso flowing lines found in etchings. The figures dancing to the musicians in the first frame grow evermore frolicsome in their dancing untilas seen in the last row of picturesthe dance descends into retching and sexual foreplay.
The elegant phylactery in the last frame aptly sums up the action when the man says to his vomiting friend, You really are too vulgar. Just as phylacteries became more commonplace in prints in the 17th century, there was a growing aversion for the use of phylacteries in paintings.
Art critic and historian Giorgio Vasari belittled the practice by declaring, This thing pleased Bruno [di Giovanni] and other foolish men of the time, just as today it pleases certain clumsy fellows who have thus employed vulgar devices worthy of themselves.
Many cartoons from the period often follow the aphorism that silence is a virtue. Devils and corrupt politicians were more likely seen to speak using phylacteries, whereas virtuous characters were more often depicted as silent.
When virtuous characters speak, they tend to use text without the fancy scroll-like boarders of the phylactery. Underlying this distinction in the use of phylacteries was a broader cultural aversion for things emanating from the mouth. In medieval art, exorcisms were often depicted as demons flying from the mouthan image that can also be found in many prints from the period.
An early British cartoon from the 17th century employs a phylactery held in the hand of the Pope as demons fly from his mouth to the mouths of other accomplices nearby. A phylactery held in the hand often had a slightly different signification than a phylactery emanating from the mouth. As seen in the aforementioned 17th century cartoon, the Pope is not speaking to those present, whom he is infecting with demons, but actually revealing his true motive to the viewer. Here and elsewhere, a phylactery held in the hand serves the same purpose as a theatrical aside or soliloquy, where the character on stage directly addresses the audience and explains his or her motives.
The hand phylactery suggests greater sincerity and a way for characters to express thoughts not spoken aloud, much the same way a cloudlike speech bubble functions in comics today. Fancy scroll-like phylacteries were in evidence until the midth century, when they were replaced with simpler and less convoluted shapes.
The simpler shapes allowed for more text to appear in the print, but they also point to changing ideas about speech and texts. Interpreting the meaning of these changes is difficult because they constitute hundreds of years of artistic and cultural change, but it may be safe to say that they reflect the loss of medieval associations of voice and authorship with the scroll and the development of new allegorical associations. A seminal moment in that shift took place in , when wild financial speculation brought about the catastrophic economic failure of the South Seas Bubble in Britain, which became a major subject for political and social commentary in satirical prints.
In one print called The Bubblers Medley, there appears what might be the first instance of a. Printed for Tho. The artists intent was to make a satirical comment on the fanciful speculation that men indulged in at coffee shops by representing their speech in the shape of ephemeral bubbles. Another change in the shape of speech was evident a decade later with the advent of the fashion of pipe smoking. Some instances of speech now had a wispy, smokelike quality as they mocked the decadent fashion.
One final shift away from the medieval phylactery was the way speech resembled less an unfurling scroll than a waving banner or flag. Such emanata are often aptly named banderoles and signify yet another way in which speech was now turning away from religious iconography and becoming more commonly represented as a secular and political means of expression.
The Invention of Caricature Evidence of satirical drawings, especially animals foolishly acting like people, have appeared from at least the time of the ancient Egyptians; but the wide popular enjoyment of grotesque and distorted portraits, exemplified by the term caricature, is a uniquely modern phenomenon.
Caricatures first emerged in the Italian Renaissance and flourished thereafter mostly as a consequence of changing attitudes about the nature of art and the role of the artist in society.
A caricature drawing represents a fundamental change in the relationship between the artist and the subject being represented. No longer are artists duty bound to represent their patrons in flattering terms by maintaining the continuity between their subjects with what is established under social decorum; instead, the unique vision of the artist is an essential component of the work.
In this manner, caricatures embody an artists vision; but it is not just the uniqueness of the creators vision that matters as much as how the drawing reveals some inner truth of the subject. The distortions the artist applies are not arbitrary or merely humorously added featuresa big nose, for examplebut to work as caricature must possess a sense of unmasking the true or real subject.
An older variety of caricature, the grotesque, parodied social classes or occupations such as peasants, apprentices, and lawyers, and commonly conflated these roles with less noble animals like pigs, foxes, and sheep. Or, as in the case of D urers illustrations for The Ship of Fools, foolscaps applied to anyone was a sure marker for being an idiot. Another strategy was to introduce demonic features, horns, bulging eyes, and fangs, which further distanced the figure from a recognizable human form.
These grotesque images differ from the modern caricature in that they do not identify a unique personality but, rather, try to reduce a human figure to a lowly type. Gallerie dellAccademia, Venice. The English word caricature was originally a French word based on the Italian caricare, which meant to exaggerate, load, or burden. Some of the first drawings to be called caricatures date back to the Italian Renaissance, and it is ironic that some of the most brilliant masters of humanist naturalism were also some of the first to experiment in caricature.
Early caricatures by Leonardo da Vinci , Agostino Carracci , and Annibale Carracci were used as amusements for the artists themselves, grotesquely parodying the pretensions and foibles of portrait sitters.
Leonardos tiny drawing of five heads from the s has his. The absurd vanity of the old woman on the lower left is heightened by the way her hair is done in a girlish braid and by the small flower pressed against her withered bosom. It is widely thought that the Carracci brothers were the first practitioners to gain public notoriety for their caricatures.
Although none of the original drawings have survived, many of their students became notable caricaturists who initiated a thriving market for these distorted humorous drawings. Gian Lorenzo Bernini made caricatures fashionable in Rome, but it was Pier Leone Ghezzi who really excelled in the art and and built his career on more than 2, documented caricatures of people from daily life and notable social figures.
These caricatures were not published or widely disseminated to the broader public, but they were a part of the trade in humorous portraits among elites. In northern Europe, artists were experimenting in social critique through caricature, most notably in the work of Hieronymus Bosch and later Pieter Bruegel the Elder , both of whom studied the homespun and quotidian manners of the day to make paintings that were both fantastic and startlingly real.
Each painter was a master of the animated and distorted facial expressions that captured the vibrant passions of his subjects. Boschs works were far more nightmarish than Bruegels in their bold distortions of scale and the aggregation of disparate elements of humans, beasts, and everyday objects.
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