Friday, November 30, 2012

Carpeaux at Work

Carpeaux au travail, Carpeaux at Work by Antoine Bourdelle, Paris
Carpeaux au travail (Carpeaux at Work) by Antoine Bourdelle, 1910
Parvis de la mairie, 15e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Riva Aquarama

Riva Aquarama speedboat, Canal Grande, Grand Canal, Venice
A Riva Aquarama speedboat on the Canal Grande (Grand Canal)
Seen from the Ponte della Costituzione (Constitution Bridge)
Venice, September 2012

“Venice’s water-taxis are sleek and speedy vehicles that can penetrate most of the city’s canals. Unfortunately their use is confined to all but the owners of the deepest pockets, for they are possibly the most expensive form of taxi in western Europe: the clock starts at €13 and goes up €1.80 every minute. All sorts of surcharges are levied as well: €5 for each extra person if there are more than two people in the party; €3 for each piece of luggage other than the first item; €8 for a ride between 10pm and 6am. There are three ways of getting a taxi: go to one of the main stands (at Piazzale Roma, the train station, Rialto and San Marco Vallaresso), find one in the process of disgorging its passengers, or call one by phone. If you phone for one, you’ll pay a surcharge, of course.”
(Jonathan Buckley, The Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Promenade with the Internationales Handelszentrum by Erhardt Gißke in background, Paul-Löbe-Allee, Berlin
Promenade with the Internationales Handelszentrum by Erhardt Gißke in background
Berlin, September 2011

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Robert Grosvenor

Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster by Jonathan Wylder, 1998
On the plinth: “When we build let us think we build forever”
Wilton Crescent, Westminster
London, October 2009

“Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them, ‘See! this our fathers did for us.’”
(John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1849)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Square Émile-Chautemps

Sign of Square Émile-Chautemps, 3e arrondissement, Paris
Sign of Square Émile-Chautemps (Scapin is watching...)
3e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

External spiral staircase by Giorgio Spavento, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Venezia
External spiral staircase by Giorgio Spavento
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
Calle Contarini del Bovolo, San Marco
Venezia, September 2012

“On the wall of the alley on the south side of Campo Manin, a sign directs you to the staircase known as the Scala del Bovolo – bovolo is the word for snail shell in Venetian dialect. External staircases, developed originally as a way of saving space inside the building, were a common feature of Venetian houses into the sixteenth century, but this specimen, dating from around 1500, is the most flamboyant variation on the theme.”
(Jonathan Buckley, The Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer statue by Helga Tiemann, Adenauerplatz, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin
Konrad Adenauer statue by Helga Tiemann, Adenauerplatz
Berlin, September 2011

“Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. As the first Chancellor of Germany (West Germany) from 1949 to 1963, he led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that forged close relations with old enemies France and the United States. In his years in power Germany achieved prosperity, democracy, stability and respect. He was the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a coalition of Catholics and Protestants that under his leadership became and has since remained the most dominant in the country.”
(Konrad Adenauer, Wikipedia)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Exterior Cross

Exterior Cross by Arnaldo Pomodoro, St. Peter Lutheran Church, Lexington Avenue, New York
Exterior Cross by Arnaldo Pomodoro, St. Peter Lutheran Church
Lexington Avenue / 54th Street
New York, September 2008

“The Exterior Cross was designed by internationally renowned sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro of Milan, Italy. Mr. Pomodoro's striking design links old with new through a skillful blend of traditional and modern forms and materials. The ancient cross form is finished in a rich, rust-colored bronze. Its piercing central wedge shape, or ‘nail,’ contrasts with the simple strong cross form. The nail is contemporary in its highly polished finish, with an abstraction of Christ's body and the crucifixion instruments of torture on its front surface.”
(St. Peter’s Church, New York Architecture)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Les oursons

Les oursons, The bear cubs by Victor Peter, Square Saint-Lambert, Paris
“Les oursons” (The Bear Cubs) by Victor Peter
Square Saint-Lambert, 15e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ponte dei Pugni

Ponte dei Pugni (Bridge of Fists)
Rio di San Barnaba, Dorsoduro
Venice, October 2012

“There was one game, however, that more than any other symbolised the stability and strength of the Venetian state. It was known as la guerra dei pugni or the war of the fists, fought between the inhabitants of the various territories and neighbourhoods. There were the Rialtini and the Cannaruoli, the Bariotti and the Gnatti. But the largest division of all lay between the Castellani—in the western parishes of Cannaregio, Castello, S. Marco and Dorsoduro—and the Nicolotti in the eastern parishes of S. Croce and S. Polo. The dominant factions were the fishermen of the Nicolotti and the shipbuilders of the Castellani. Their internecine rivalries have already been described. A team from each of these territories met for battle on a chosen bridge, while thousands of spectators lined the streets and houses beside the canal. Dumplings and chestnuts were served to the crowds by street vendors. It was a glorified fist-fight in which the object was to hurl opponents into the water and to gain possession of the bridge.”
(Peter Ackroyd, Venice: Pure City)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

City Pissoir

City Pissoir, public toilet, Breitscheidplatz, Charlottenburg, Berlin
City Pissoir, public toilet, Breitscheidplatz
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Café Achteck

Monday, November 19, 2012

St Saviour's Church

St Saviour's Church, Walton Place, Knightsbridge, London
St Saviour's Church, Walton Place, Knightsbridge
London, October 2009

“Intermission, in the parish church of St Saviour's, London SW3 1SA, has a variety of dynamic spaces for worship, performances, exhibitions, workshops and meetings. Intermission is a faith community that goes beyond the walls of St Saviour's. It is a community of Christian performers, writers and artists committed to the deepening understanding of God through Arts Media.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Le Mur des Justes

Le Mur des Justes, The Wall of the Righteous, Mémorial de la Shoah, Allée des Justes, Le Marais, Paris
Le Mur des Justes (The Wall of the Righteous), Mémorial de la Shoah (Shoah Memorial)
Allée des Justes, Le Marais, 4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

“Israel’s Prime minister Ehud Olmert and his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin dedicated Wednesday the “Mur des Justes” (Wall of Righteous) on which 2,693 names of French people who protected or saved Jews during WWII are engraved. The 40-metre-long wall, located at the Shoah Memorial in Paris, bears 37 bronze plates where the names of these people are written, including the place where they saved Jews. It is located on a street renamed the “Avenue of the Righteous” by the Paris municipality a few years ago. The Memorial, in the historic Jewish quarter of the Marais, was inaugurated by President Jacques Chirac in January 2005 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.”

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Piazzetta dei Leoncini

Red marble lions by Giovanni Bonazza, piazzetta dei Leoncini, piazza San Marco, Venice
Red marble lions by Giovanni Bonazza, 1722
Piazzetta dei Leoncini, Piazza San Marco
Venice, October 2012

“To your right as you face the Torre is the Piazzetta Giovanni XXIII, familiarly known as dei Leoncini, after the two eighteenth-century marble lions – if you can’t see them immediately, it’s because they’re smothered in children.”
(Jonathan Buckley, The Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto)

Friday, November 16, 2012


Pyramide by Josef Erben, Kurfürstendamm, Berlin
“Pyramide” by Josef Erben, 1987
Kurfürstendamm / Bleibtreustraße
Berlin, September 2011

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mohandas Gandhi

Statue of Mohandas Gandhi by Kantilal B. Patel, Union Square Park, New York
Mohandas Gandhi by Kantilal B. Patel, 1986
Gandhi Gardens, Union Square Park
New York, September 2007

See also: Mahatma Gandhi

“This bronze sculpture depicting Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948) was sculpted by Kantilal B. Patel (born 1925). After its dedication on October 2, 1986, the 117th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, the sculpture joined monuments to Washington, Lafayette, and Lincoln in Union Square Park as a quartet of works devoted to defenders of freedom. (...)
Clad in sandals and a cotton dhoti, Gandhi’s dress illustrates his Hindu asceticism as well as his support for Indian industries. After its installation the monument became an instant pilgrimage site, with an annual ceremony taking place on Gandhi's birthday, October 2.”
(Gandhi, Union Square Park, City of New York Parks & Recreation)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pierre-Jean de Béranger

Statue of Pierre-Jean de Béranger by Henri Lagriffoul, square du Temple, Paris
Statue of Pierre-Jean de Béranger by Henri Lagriffoul, 1953
Square du Temple, 3e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

This statue replaced a bronze one by Amédée Doublemard, melted in 1941 during the German occupation of Paris in World War II.

Mon Tombeau

Moi, bien portant, quoi! vous pensez d’avance
À m’ériger une tombe à grands frais!
Sottise! amis; point de folle dépense.
Laissez aux grands le faste des regrets.
Avec le prix ou du marbre ou du cuivre,
Pour un gueux mort habit cent fois trop beau,
Faites achat d’un vin qui pousse à vivre;
Buvons gaîment l’argent de mon tombeau.

À votre bourse un galant mausolée
Pourrait coûter vingt mille francs et plus.
Sous le ciel pur d’une riche vallée,
Allons six mois vivre en joyeux reclus.
Concerts et bals où la beauté convie,
Vont de plaisirs nous meubler un château.
Je veux risquer de trop aimer la vie;
Mangeons gaîment l’argent de mon tombeau.

Mais je vieillis, et ma maîtresse est jeune.
Or il lui faut des parures de prix.
L’éclat du luxe adoucit un long jeûne;
Témoin Longchamps où brille tout Paris.
Vous devez bien quelque chose à ma belle.
D’un cachemire elle attend le cadeau.
En viager sur un cœur si fidèle,
Plaçons gaîment l’argent de mon tombeau.

Non, mes amis, au spectacle des ombres
Je ne veux point d’une loge d’honneur.
Voyez ce pauvre, au teint pâle, aux yeux sombres;
Près de mourir, ah! qu’il goûte au bonheur.
À ce vieillard qui, las de sa besace,
Doit avant moi voir lever le rideau,
Pour qu’au parterre il me garde une place,
Donnons gaîment l’argent de mon tombeau.

Qu’importe à moi, que mon nom sur la pierre
Soit déchiffré par un futur savant?
Et quant aux fleurs qu’on promet à ma bière,
Mieux vaut, je crois, les respirer vivant.
Postérité, qui peux bien ne pas naître,
À me chercher n’use point ton flambeau.
Sage mortel, j’ai su par la fenêtre
Jeter gaîment l’argent de mon tombeau.
My Tomb

What! whilst I'm well, beforehand you design,
At vast expense, for me to build a shrine?
Friends, 'tis absurd! to no such outlay go;
Leave to the great the pomp and pride of woe.
Take what for marble or for brass would pay--
For a dead beggar garb by far too gay--
And buy life-stirring wine on my behalf:
The money for my tomb right gayly let us quaff!

A mausoleum worthy of my thanks
At least would cost you twenty thousand francs:
Come, for six months, rich vale and balmy sky,
As gay recluses, be it ours to try.
Concerts and balls, where Beauty's self invites,
Shall furnish us our castle of delights;
I'll run the risk of finding life too sweet:
The money for my tomb right gayly let us eat!

But old I grow, and Lizzy's youthful yet:
Costly attire, then, she expects to get;
For to long fast a show of wealth resigns--
Bear witness Longchamps, where all Paris shines!
You to my fair one something surely owe;
A Cashmere shawl she's looking for, I know:
'Twere well for life on such a faithful breast
The money for my tomb right gayly to invest!

No box of state, good friends, would I engage,
For mine own use, where spectres tread the stage:
What poor wan man with haggard eyes is this?
Soon must he die--ah, let him taste of bliss!
The veteran first should the raised curtain see--
There in the pit to keep a place for me,
(Tired of his wallet, long he cannot live)--
The money for my tomb to him let's gayly give!

What doth it boot me, that some learned eye
May spell my name on gravestone, by and by?
As to the flowers they promise for my bier,
I'd rather, living, scent their perfume here.
And thou, posterity!--that ne'er mayst be--
Waste not thy torch in seeking signs of me!
Like a wise man, I deemed that I was bound
The money for my tomb to scatter gayly round!

Pierre-Jean de Béranger. Œuvres complètes de Béranger
(Done into English verse by William Young)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gloria di San Vitale

Gloria di San Vitale, The Glory of St. Vidal by Vittore Carpaccio, former church of San Vidal, Venice
“Gloria di San Vitale” (The Glory of St. Vidal) by Vittore Carpaccio, 1514
Main altarpiece of the former church of San Vidal, San Marco
Venice, October 2012

“No longer a functioning church, San Vidal has found a use as a concert hall for Interpreti Veneziani, Venice’s premier interpreters of Vivaldi, played on original 18th- to 19th-century instruments. Built as a monument to the glories of God and two Venetian dogi, this stately church is best known for the masterpiece behind the main altar: St Vitale on Horseback and Eight Saints, an uncharacteristically gore-free work by Vittore Carpaccio featuring traces of his signature traffic-light red and a miniaturist’s attention to detail.”
(Lonely Planet, Venice)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Vistula

Die Weichsel, The Vistula, Neptunbrunnen, Neptune fountain by Reinhold Begas, Berlin
“Die Weichsel” (The Vistula), Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain) by Reinhold Begas
Rathausstraße / Spandauer Straße
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Neptunbrunnen - The Rhine - The Oder - The Elbe

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin statue by John Doubleday, 1981
Leicester Square
London, September 2008

The comic genius
who gave pleasure
to so many

Charles Spencer Chaplin, 16 April 1889 - 25 December 1977, comic actor, director and producer.
Charlie Chaplin was born in Walworth, London into a music hall family. He joined a troupe of child dancers, 'Eight Lancashire Lads' at the age of 8. At 17, whilst on tour in America, he joined the Mack Sennett Keystone Company motion picture company. His acting technique was characterised by a high degree of pathos, accentuated in the then silent movies, but he was unwilling later to adapt his style to the 'talkies'. His success enabled him to co-found United Artists in 1919.
His major films included The Tramp (1915), Shoulder Arms (1918), The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). He was knighted in 1975.
The statue is by John Doubleday and was unveiled by Sir Ralph Richardson in April 1981.
(From the chrome plaque on the front of the plint)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fontaine Victor-Hugo

Fontaine de la place Victor-Hugo by François Davy and Max Ingrand, Paris
Fontaine Victor-Hugo by François Davy (architect) and Max Ingrand (master glassmaker)
Place Victor-Hugo, 16e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

A monument to Victor Hugo once stood in the center of the square, where the fountain is now. The bronze statue was melted during the German occupation of Paris in World War II.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Saint Theodore

Statue of Saint Theodore on the western column, Piazzetta San Marco, Venice
Statue of Saint Theodore on the western column
(The original is inside the Doge's Palace)
Piazzetta San Marco
Venice, September 2012

“On the other column is poised the statue of Saint Theodore, the original patron saint of Venice. If you were to come closer to this image, you would notice that it is not in any sense the work of one hand. The head is of Parian marble, and is believed to represent Mithridates, king of Pontus; the torso is a Roman piece from the time of Hadrian the Great; the dragon, or crocodile, is in the Lombardic style from the first half of the fifteenth century. It is a glorious, and apparently haphazard, exercise in historical assembly. It deserves to be on its column. Once again it is an image of Venice itself.”
(Peter Ackroyd, Venice: Pure City)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jakob Mierscheid Footbridge

Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Steg, Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders Footbridge, Jakob-Mierscheid-Steg, Jakob Mierscheid Footbridge, nicknamed after the fictitious politician Jakob Maria Mierscheid, Berlin
Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Steg (Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders Footbridge)
also Jakob-Mierscheid-Steg (Jakob Mierscheid Footbridge)
Nicknamed after the fictitious politician Jakob Maria Mierscheid
Berlin, September 2011

After the parliament moved to Berlin, two new office buildings for members of parliament were connected with a pedestrian bridge over the Spree river. This bridge was nicknamed the “Mierscheid Bridge”. Attempts to mark it with an official plate were said to have failed because “the nails were nuts” (pun on Niete meaning nut/rivet, a blank in lottery or a person that is unable to accomplish anything).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

To IKEA by Boat

New York Water Taxi advertising the IKEA Express Shuttle, Hudson River, New York
New York Water Taxi advertising the IKEA Express Shuttle, Hudson River
New York, September 2008

See also: Red Hook

“What’s certain is that Red Hook residents aren’t the only ones intensely watching Ikea’s opening; the Daily News has it that other big box stores have been encouraged by Ikea’s opening victory here. If Wal-Mart and Target follow Ikea's lead, Red Hook’s post-shipping era could skip over the long-anticipated full-gentrification stage to become something else entirely: a sort of big box shopping destination that’s more like a factory outlet mall than a neighborhood. Or is a balance between big business, small business, and residential interests possible? As Ikea's first day draws to an end, it's still an open question.”
(Big Box Begs Big Questions, Gothamist, June 2008)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Alexandre Ier de Yougoslavie

Monument to Alexander I of Yugoslavia with Peter I of Serbia and Maréchal Franchet d'Esperey by Maxime Real del Sarte, place de Colombie, Paris
Monument to Alexander I of Yugoslavia with Peter I of Serbia and Maréchal Franchet d'Esperey
by Maxime Real del Sarte, 1936
Place de Colombie, 16e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Maréchal Joffre

“A cameraman happened to be at exactly the right spot when King Alexander, in Marseilles at the beginning of a state visit to France, was being driven through the streets in a car with Louis Barthou, the French foreign minister. He was only a few feet away when a gunman jumped out of the crowd and shot both the king and the chauffeur dead. The car stopped, with the king slumped in the back, while the cameraman continued filming. Louis Barthou was shot, too, and mortally wounded, possibly by mistake by a French policeman in the general confusion.
The assassin, Vlado Chernozemski, was struck down with a sabre by a French mounted officer and beaten to death by the crowd or shot by the police or both, according to varying accounts. He was a 36-year-old Bulgarian who belonged to a Macedonian revolutionary organisation, which wanted to secede from Yugoslavia, and was allegedly in league with Croatian separatists, the Ustashas, who were backed by Benito Mussolini’s Italy.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Squero di San Trovaso

Squero di San Trovaso, San Trovaso Boatyard, Rio San Trovaso, Venice
Squero di San Trovaso (San Trovaso Boatyard)
Rio San Trovaso, Dorsoduro
Venice, October 2012

“One of the most interesting (and photographed) sights you'll see in Venice is this small squero (boatyard), which first opened in the 17th century. Just north of the Zattere (the wide, sunny walkway that runs alongside the Giudecca Canal in Dorsoduro), the boatyard lies next to the Church of San Trovaso on the narrow Rio San Trovaso (not far from the Accademia Bridge). It is surrounded by Tyrolean-looking wooden structures (a true rarity in this city of stone built on water) that are home to the multigenerational owners and original workshops for traditional Venetian boats.”
(Frommer's Northern Italy including Venice, Milan & the Lakes, 3rd Edition)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Elbe

Die Elbe, The Elbe, Neptunbrunnen, Neptune fountain by Reinhold Begas, Berlin
“Die Elbe” (The Elbe), Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain) by Reinhold Begas
Rathausstraße / Spandauer Straße
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Neptunbrunnen - The Rhine - The Oder - The Vistula

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Postman's Park

The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, Postman's Park, City of London
Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice
Postman's Park, City of London
London, January 2007

Thomas Griffin
fitters labourer
April 12, 1899
In a boiler explosion at a
Battersea sugar refinery
was fatally scalded in
returning to search
for his mate
Walter Peart, driver
and Harry Dean, fireman
of the Windsor Express
on July 18, 1898
Whilst being scalded and burnt
sacrificed their lives in
saving the train
Mary Rogers
stewardess of the Stella
Mar 30 1899
Self sacrificed by giving up
her life belt and voluntarily
going down in the
sinking ship
Alice Ayres,
daughter of a bricklayer's labourer
who by intrepid conduct
saved 3 children
from a burning house
in Union Street, Borough,
at the cost of her own young life
April 24, 1885

External links: List of tablets on the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice

Friday, November 2, 2012

La libellule Guimard

Art Nouveau aedicule by Hector Guimard, Porte Dauphine station, Paris Métro, Paris
Art Nouveau aedicule by Hector Guimard
Porte Dauphine station, Line 2 of the Paris Métro
Avenue Foch, 16e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

“Une libellule déployant ses légères ailes” (A dragonfly unfolding its light wings)
Georges Bans, journalist

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bridge of Sighs

Ponte dei Sospiri, Bridge of Sighs, Rio de la Canonica, Ponte del Rimedio, Venice
Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), Rio de la Canonica
Ponte del Rimedio in background
Venice, September 2012

“I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times when many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!”
(Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV, Stanza I)