Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Red-Haired Art - Yet More Christos

Some more red-haired images of Jesus to add to the collection. I don't think I've shared these ones before (it's getting a little hard to keep track). Either way, I guess it's always better to have too many than too few.

The following two paintings are said to be the work of a Sienese painter named Barna da (or Berna di) Siena. They date from the 14th century.

(The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine)

(Christ Bearing the Cross, with a Dominican Friar)

This next one doesn't so much show a red-haired Christ. It's more of a haloed, illuminated Christ. However, I share it as it illustrates quite neatly the way the halo of light associated with saints and other religious figures seems to lift hair towards a blond or fiery shade. Perhaps explaining the overlaps between red hair and halos I've mentioned on this blog before.

The blood orange was considered to be a symbol of Christ. The word orange is cognate with words like or (French), oro (Spanish) and aurum (Latin) meaning gold. Which in turn are cognate with words like aura.

The painting is titled Going Down to Gethsemane and is by the German-American artist Johannes Adam Simon Oertel. It dates from 1898.

(Going Down to Gethsemane - Johannes Adam Simon Oertel)

Finally, this one isn't Jesus, but it does look very Jesus-like. It shows Olaf II, King of Norway, later St. Olaf. It's from a stained glass window in Ă…lesund Church, Norway.

(St. Olaf - Ă…lesund Church)

(St. Olaf, detail)

Red-Haired Artwork - Jewesses, Oranges and Military Heroes

Some quite interesting artwork I've came across over the last few weeks. First up, this is a painting by the Polish artist Aleksander Gierymski and is titled Jewess with Oranges. The hair is more of a soft auburn colour I guess. Though the lady in the painting looks of an age that would suggest such a strong colour is the product of dye rather than nature. The warm colours of both the woman and her oranges are offset quite nicely by the blue-grey background.

(Jewess with Oranges - Aleksander Gierymski)

Next up, this one shows David with the Head of Goliath by the Italian artist Guido Cagnacci. When I saw the thumbnail of this in my folder I assumed it was a military figure because of the costume. It was only when I clicked to enlarge it that I was reminded that it was an image of the biblical David. Again in this one the hair is more of an auburn-red. It's a very beautiful image (ignoring the severed head of course).

(David with the Head of Goliath - Guido Cagnacci)

(David with the Head of Goliath, detail)

Finally this image shows the British military hero General James Wolfe. It shows his death at the Battle of Quebec and is by the artist Benjamin West. Wolfe was also actually red-haired in real life too. This is another quite rich and vivid image. His soft, light red hair can be more clearly made out in the close up.

(The Death of General Wolfe - Benjamin West)

(The Death of General Wolfe, detail)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Legend of the Fiery-Haired Girl - Maiden Tower, Baku

I came across the following tale when I was researching the history of "maidens locked in towers" for an article I intend to write for my other blog.

(That article can be found here
 - - Maid Maleen - The "Maiden in the Tower" Meme - - )

The story relates to a tower called Maiden Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan. In fact, I wasn't too aware of Baku before writing this article, but having looked at its Wikipedia page it looks very beautiful with lots of interesting architecture. The story itself also has its roots in something I'm only vaguely familiar with, namely the ancient Zoroastrian religion and its fire-laden mythology.

The story in question is titled The Legend of the Fiery-Haired Girl and concerns the tale of a fire-haired warrior-maiden who saves the inhabitants of ancient Baku from slavery and destruction.

The story below is a paraphrased version of the one that can be found on the Wikipedia page;
There was an ancient town-fortress in Baku, which had a Fire Temple-Tower. In very ancient times, an enemy encircled the fortress. The enemy ordered Baku's people to surrender but they refused, so they launched a siege to demolish the fortress and enslave all the inhabitants.
The Supreme Magi, together with other priests, prayed to the Holy Fire in the Tower, asking the God of Ahura Mazda to help. On the next day, the people saw that a large piece of the Holy Fire fell down from the top of the Tower. A beautiful girl came out from the fire. She had long fire-coloured hair.
She said: "Don't worry. I'll help and protect you. Give me a sword and a helmet. The enemy should not see my girl's hair, open a fortress gate". Meanwhile, the enemy's commander was waiting outside for one-to-one combat. If the fiery-haired girl won the fight, then the enemy army would back away. But if the enemy won, they would capture the fortress.
Fortunately the fiery-haired girl got the upper hand in the battle and put her knife to the commander's throat. He then screamed: "You win! Who are you? Take your helmet off. I want to see your face!" He took off the helmet and saw that she was a beautiful girl with long fire-coloured hair.
He exclaimed: "Oh, you are a girl! You are brave and beautiful girl! If girls of Baku are so brave, I'll never capture your fortress! Don't kill me, beauty!" They then fell in love with each other, she spared his life and they got married. The people then named the tower Maiden Tower as a consequence.