When we think of the sunrise we always feel relaxed because the sight of the colors that the sun is giving to us is breathtaking. A new day is born and the joy of light is spreading everywhere. In 1876, the lord of the Qajar dynasty Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir al Mulk started to build a mosque and his first priority was to give respect to the sun and all its glory. Every morning the whole mosque is filled with gorgeous colors that are spreading from the stained glass onto the floor covered with Persian rugs. The site is mesmerizing, it looks like a thousand rainbows decided to show up at the same time with a purpose to make every person that comes inside happy. The mosque was completed in 1888 and since then, is one of the most beautiful structures in Iran. Nasir al Mulk showed his faith in the most stunning way which makes even non-religious people feel bliss when they see this kaleidoscopic magnificence. According to irandoostan.com, the architects who designed the mosque were Mohammad Hasan-e Memar and Mohammad Reza Kashi-Saz. They combined art and architecture that can rarely be seen in other parts of the world. Today, the mosque is still used for worship but it is allowed for anyone to come inside. It is known by different names but one of the most popular is The Pink Mosque because of the pink color tiles. Architects are amazed by the structure, art critics can’t say enough to describe its beauty and it is a real paradise for photographers. In the middle of the mosque, there is an open courtyard with a pool surrounded by colorful flowers. The whole place has many arches which are uniquely decorated and the most fascinating parts are their ceilings.As a national heritage of Iran, the mosque is always under protection and restoration. Its maintained by the Nasir-al-Mulk Endowment Foundation and the man who is in charge for the stained windows and all decorations is Hajj Mirza Ayat. The best time to visit is from 8 to 9 am in the morning when the colorful magic is happening. Similar mosque with stained-glass windows to Nasir-al-Mulk is the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The love for weaponry is re-emerging, and with the proliferation of reality shows, documentaries, and other forms of mainstream media regarding blacksmithing and weapon forging, it is not difficult to imagine that a lot of us have turned into knife geeks overnight. Well, we have just found knife heaven, and it is not in the US. It’s actually in a small, idyllic town in France called Thiers. It was in this town that the iconic knife “Le Thiers” was created, designed way back in 1993 by the Brotherhood of the Thiers Knife. The guild’s French name even sounds cooler: “Confrerie du Couteau Le Thiers”. So what is Le Thiers? And what sets Thiers’ knives apart from others?
Le Thiers is a foldable knife with a simple yet classic design and dependable functionality—a knife truly designed to stand the test of time. It reminds us of the equally classic knife from the Philippines, the Balisong, only that it’s generally smaller in size, and is made with only one solid handle instead of two.It’s also a testament, a culmination of Thiers’ knife making tradition that heralds back to as far as the thirteenth century. In fact, culmination is a wrong term because their practice is far from over. Their industry is far from slowing down with more than 200 coutelleries (that’s what they call family-owned knife shops), in a town with a population of less than twelve thousand.Some of these workshops have been passed down to entire generations of knife makers for hundreds of years, such is their tradition of knife making. But did you know that you don’t have to be born in Thiers to be a coutelier? In fact, one of the most well-loved makers by knife connoisseurs, Roland Lannier hails from Paris. He only found his way to Thiers through his love for medieval weaponry in role-playing games.
Now, he leads his own workshop with two other knife makers: Agathe (a 23-year-old badass female knife maker with a degree on graphics decoration) and Guillame (a 27-year-old medieval fencer). If you ever do decide to visit Thiers, don’t forget to bring some tissues and be prepared to drool.
References: bbc.com, rolandlannier.com
The emergence of post impressionism is probably one of the most colorful and thrilling movements to ever happen in the world of art. Whenever we think about post impressionism, four names usually come to mind: Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, and of course, Vincent Van Gogh.
(Vincent Van Gogh: Wheat Field with Cornflowers)
There’s one name you probably haven’t heard of yet, though. Roderic O’Conor. An Irishman who spent most of his life in France, O’Conor was surprisingly popular amongst artists. In fact, he even got into a brawl with Paul Gauguin and two other artists against a bunch of sailors in Breton fishing port in Concarneau. It was in this brawl that Gauguin got the broken ankle which will eventually plague him up to his death.
(Roderic O’Conor: Field of Corn)
So, why doesn’t O’Conor’s name ring any bells?
That’s because he wasn’t too focused on putting his work out there. It wasn’t only until fifteen years after his death that his works even circulated in public when his widow auctioned all of them off.
(Roderic O’Conor: A Tree in a Field)
He was well subsidized by his family, so he really didn’t feel the need to sell his works for a living, unlike other prominent artists at the time. What he did enjoy, though, is to go and view exhibits as much as he can. He liked examining styles and translating them into his own.
(Cuno Amiet: Blossoming Orchard)
This is the reason why we can almost hear Van Gogh or Cuno Amiet’s work echoing in his own pieces, and why some critics think his work as quite indecisive. Recognize the thick, bold, brush strokes of color? As well as those landscapes that can seemingly pop out into life at any moment?
Despite a lot of us not recognizing his name today, a lot of his contemporaries surprisingly know him well. He was an active member of different art circles, after all.
(Roderic O’Conor: The Glade)
If you are intrigued and want to see more of O’Conor’s works, then you can view Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns: Between Paris and Pont-Aven in the Beit Wing at the National Gallery of Ireland which will run from July 18 to October 28, 2018. It will be the first retrospective show dedicated to him in thirty years, and promises to show works that have never been viewed publicly before.