Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ice Ice Baby!

Alpine and polar landscapes make up the core of a traveling exhibit called Vanishing Ice that you can check out online here.
Through the centuries, artists have demonstrated the limitless potential of alpine and polar landscapes to convey complex feelings, ideas, and messages… Despite diverse themes and interpretations, almost all of the artists respond, in some way, to the beauty of ice.
—Dr. Barbara Matilsky, Curator of Art, Whatcom Museum

Here are a few selections.

Ice Lens, Ackroyd & Harvey, 2005

Frederich Church, The Icebergs, 1861
And lest you think Church was making up those aqua shadows....

Camille Seaman photo from The Last Iceberg series, 2005

English tourists collide with a herd of goats in Landscape of Susten, Switzerland, 1824, Xavier Leprince 

And this cool image is by Gustave Dore, from his illustrations for Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The Ice Was All Around, illustration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge's
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1877

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy cliffs

Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken-
The ice was all between,

The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around.
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

—Samuel Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798
{ To the silent legions of bookmakers out there reading this: somebody needs to republish beautiful yet affordable hardcover editions of Dore's illustrated books of poetry, esp. Poe & Coleridge.... Get on that please! }


  1. Wonderful pictures and poem. Thanks!

  2. This was worth it for "swound." I looked it up and found it an archaic precursor of "swoon," which is confounding enough in this context, but also that it rhymes with "wound" (no help at all), and "stound," which I also had to look up (it means "a period of time," certainly related to the German "Stunde," hour). The dictionary would have better served us if they had simply given "found" as a rhyme--a common word with, as far as I know, only one pronunciation. The important thing (if any of this can be considered at all important) is that "swound" does not rhyme with the the common oath from Shakespeare: " 'swounds!".

    "A sort of abbreviative censorship (minced oath) of "God's wounds", a phrase used in cursing in Shakespearean times." (The Urban Dictionary)

    Now that's cleared up, I can start my day.

    Oh--wonderful art! I especially loved Ice Lens. Put me in mind of the video of folks up in Irkutsk playing chunks of ice like an enormous marimba

    1. Awesome Andrew- I'd heard "s'wounds" was a contraction of "His wounds" - same thing really.

  3. Such a beautiful post!
    Happy New Year!
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  4. Thank you for the kind words, Sue, and welcome!

  5. Amazing images...and was just wondering if you are aware of a wonderful Canadian painter.... Cory Trepanier's work...just saw an amazing movie of his the other night...Into The Arctic II....totally stunning imagery!

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