Every single time I go to the beer store for Bass the guy says "Did you know that the Bass triangle is the oldest surviving registered trademark?" The first time he asked me I did not know. Apparently it was registered in 1876. My friend Sandra Rechico pointed out to me that Édourard Manet's "A Bar at the Folies-Berge" (1882), features said logo prominently. That Manet was such a pop artist!

Leonard Shlain, in his book Art and Physics, talks about Manet's choice to muck around with perspective, obscuring the vanishing point, curving the horizon line, eliminating the middle ground, and flattening the picture plane. According to Shlain, these innovations contributed to a message from the artworld, "warnings to the public that the Western paradigms [ie: Euclid] about space, time and light were about to change." Shlain's connections between art and science are a bit thin, based pretty much solely on chronology. But it is interesting to see these parallel histories on the same page. Besides, this chapter was an excuse to indulge in the somewhat guilty pleasure of looking/thinking again at paintings by Manet.

small manet
Édourard Manet, "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, " (1863)
(NB: bigger version moved to comments - scroll down)

- sally mckay 3-31-2004 5:09 am

an excuse to indulge in the somewhat guilty pleasure of looking/thinking again at paintings by Manet.

Oh , what a world when "excuses" are required for "the guilty pleasure" of lookingatslashthinkingabout Manet!

- Robert C (guest) 3-31-2004 4:33 pm

Yeah, I mean look at that dude with the ascot. He doesn't have any sort of problem looking and/or thinking. He seems to even be trying to convince his friend to look. "Dude, next to you! Right next to you! What, are you blind? Look!!!"
- bunnie 3-31-2004 9:52 pm

In my day Manet was considered the wellspring of Modernism, and a de rigueur subject of attention. Is he now irrelevant?
The “pop” aspect is part of a concern with contemporaniety, which artists like Manet were quite self-conscious about, and is well described in his buddy Baudelaire’s The Painter of Modern Life. These guys knew there was a revolution, but they understood it in primarily social terms. Parallels between art and science are real, but often discussed in rather facile terms. The Impressionists were more “scientific” than Manet, but they weren’t scientists, any more than Piero Della Francesca, who was a fine geometer, figured out that the earth goes around the sun. I once read that Robert Fludd, in the 17th century, was the last guy who knew everything, before specialization got out of hand. He was artist, scientist, philosopher, etc. Of course, only mystics take him seriously today, but it’s worth noting that Leonardo, who is generally considered the greatest artist/scientist didn’t actually get a whole lot done in either sphere.
And if I read one more superficial art history analysis citing Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, I’ll puke.

- alex 3-31-2004 9:57 pm

I feel guilty if I watch too much Miami CSI
- Jennifer M. (guest) 3-31-2004 11:08 pm

I never feel guilty over anything I look at, or read, or watch. Either I have a brain like a vacuum cleaner or I am a total sociopath. Pick one. (and I don't even care which one you choose!)

And hey! Come on over to my place and listen to my CD with 16 versions of Wichita Lineman!
- LM (guest) 3-31-2004 11:52 pm

I feel guilty for not spending enough time with my PS2. I'm not kidding.
- sally mckay 4-01-2004 2:08 am

orbispictus Alex, your description of Robert Fludd reminds me of Orbis Pictus - a 17th century attempt to classify and depict every single thing.

The text down the side is saying things like: "The Infant Cryeth", "The Duck Quacketh","The Bear Grumbleth", and "The Mouth Breatheth Out"

- sally mckay 4-01-2004 2:51 am

I certainly don't think Manet is considered irrelevant! For me the pleasure is guilty because its seeded with nostalgia for a long-gone time when I used to get very excited about paint. Shlain's text, while a bit clunky, did remind me of this crazy turn of the last century, when painting (specificallyt Manet & Cezanne) kicked people in the head with concepts of representation. It must have been so trippy to look at this stuff back in the day! Manet's lack of 'finish' and choices about picture plane still reveal an underlying structure to the existense of pictures, all pictures, that is the process inside our own head as we take visual information. This is all more related to philosophy than science (location of consciousness and all that) but there are lotsa inter-connections there too.
- sally mckay 4-01-2004 2:51 am

I moved this nice big version of 'the Dejeuner' here where it won't bugger up the main page scrolling.

- sally mckay 4-01-2004 8:21 am

Orbis Sensua Lium Pictus is an incredible book. Love those funky prints, which oddly are reversed in the Latin/German/Maygar/Czech version from 1685, which I have.

On my bookshelf, between Glenn Campell's Greatest Hits and an old Bow Wow Wow album.
- Von Bark (guest) 4-02-2004 7:03 am

Glen Campbell picketh; Bow Wow Wow punketh.
- alex 4-02-2004 9:44 pm

I have a file folder full of Orbis Pictus photocopies, cherished since the day I discovered the book at the University of New Brunswick library in Fredericton. Good town for a mind f**k, and OB provided. Love this one of the flying vermin. I started a project once where I tried to make a drawing of every single noun in the Webster's dictionary. As a result I have tons and tons and tons of tiny notebooks full of awful art stored away in a box . And I only got as far as partway through the B's.

- sally mckay 4-03-2004 10:42 am

- anonymous (guest) 4-04-2004 6:39 am

Favourite Glen 'Wichita Lineman' comment: "Tremelo guitar soaked in liquid valium.." - Professor Banks..

& then there's Heaven 17's version..

Completists might glance at

I liked his solo acoustic version of 'Galveston'..

- Von Bark (guest) 4-04-2004 6:40 am

BTW, prints get reversed when the copyist doesn't reverse them.
- alex 4-04-2004 6:46 am