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Monkeys By Candlelight

"[These videos were] created for LaunchPad, a program of digital interpretive materials that supplement the viewing of works of art on display in the Art Institute of Chicago's galleries."

1. Enameling Glass.

"Enameled glass, which is created by painting and firing colored powders onto the surface of glass, was very common in German-speaking lands in the second half of the 17th century. Popular decorations included family coats of arms and symbols of guild affiliations; other images reveal popular subjects such as biblical tales, folk wisdom, hunting, and politics."


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2. Stenciling Techniques.

"A stencil is a flat sheet of metal or thick paper into which letters or patterns have been cut. Stenciling, the process in which ink or paint is applied through the perforations and which allows multiple reproductions, became a popular technique in the 19th century. Much of the decoration in Sullivan and Adler's 1893 Stock Exchange Trading Room, now installed at the Art Institute, was made using stenciling."

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3. English Center Table.

"Folding tables were invented long before Ikea started selling them. This one, with its elaborately carved border on all four sides, was made in England over 250 years ago. It has a very unusual form. When not in use, the concertina support underneath was collapsed and the hinged leaf was folded down, allowing it to be placed against a wall. But to fully extend the table - it is six feet long and three-and-a-half feet wide - required at least three people: one to hold the hinged leaf and two others - one at each end - to move the back legs outward by pulling them just below the ornate ram's head."

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4. Chinoiserie Secretary Cabinet.

"As a result of the series of trade routes known as the Silk Road, Europeans had long been fascinated with goods from East Asia. Trade in Chinese and Japanese silks, porcelains, and lacquer, which had begun in the Middle Ages, grew to massive proportions in the 17th and 18th centuries. Western craftsmen responded to the vogue for Asian luxury goods by producing objects inspired by the East. This scarlet lacquered cabinet, decorated with exotic figures and landscapes in gold and silver leaf, was probably attributed to the English furniture maker Giles Grendey in the 'chinoiserie' style."

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5. Monkeys By Candlelight.

"We don't usually think of monkeys and candlelight in the same sentence, but in this video we see how the two come together quite beautifully. A monkey orchestra 'performs' amidst the soft glow of candlelight as they might have during a dessert course in the 18th century. The mirrored surface the musicians stand upon captures the flickering light, further enhancing the charm of their performance."

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For more in the series, see the Art Institute's YouTube channel.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 2, 2013


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