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Monday Train Blogging: Trains In The Arts

by DoDo Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 03:26:12 PM EST

(back from the frontpage)

The impressionists loved trains. The one below is not the most famous train-themed painting – but one fitting for the season and very well done: Claude Monet's Train in the Snow at Argenteuil, 1875.


Post your favourite train paintings, or poems, or whatever you'd like!

Regular thematic posting (with Railway Cathedrals next) resumes next week – I had not enough time.


Previous Monday Train Bloggings:

  1. (Premiere/ modern Austrian trains & locos)
  2. Adventure
  3. Fast Steam
  4. Heavy Haul
  5. Forgotten Colorado
  6. The Hardest Job
  7. Blowback
  8. Highest Speed
  9. New England Autumn
  10. Trainwreck
  11. Bigger Than Big Boy
  12. Tunnels
  13. Failed Designs
  14. Demarcations
  15. Crazed Designs

Display:


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:28:14 PM EST
Remember when you asked about site improvements?  I'd like a way to go back and edit one's own posts...

Forgot to mention, that is Magritte.  I think the title is Time transfixed.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:33:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you mean your comments, I believe that that is very hard-wired to the code - sorry I can't touch that, maybe Booman or his programmer can. (Can you edit your comments at dkos or Booman Tribune?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.  I'm not sure I have ever seen a blog that allows it.  Must be a very good reason for it.  But it certainly would be nice...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:40:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is that if someone responds to your comment and then you change it it makes a nonsense of the whole thing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are other often used softwares that allow it - they essentially treat a diary and a comment the same. But those were discussion forums, not blogs.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:52:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 21st century, trains are increasingly becoming paintings themselves:

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 01:53:25 PM EST
Based on the colour scheme of the car and design of the station, is that a photo from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof?

"now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill
by Thor Heyerdahl (thor.heyerdahl@NOSPAMgmail.com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 05:46:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, you're absolutely correct! I went and checked the page from which I linked the picture, and the caption for this particular picture is: "an example of one of the many graffiti covered trains that come in and out of the main station in Hamburg".
by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 06:17:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hamburg Hbf is very recognisable. (Still it won't feature in next week's diary - but maybe in the comments?)

Personally, I'm not that happy about graffiti on trains - I don't say graffiti can't be art, but there is too much of it and most of that is made with pure vanity (trains as travelling open-air exhibitions) without any value or talent, and too much of it doesn't care what it is painted on - decrepit cars with peeling-off paint OK, ugly concrete walls OK, but cars with new paint, car windows, or even nostalgic trains - f*ck off.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 07:00:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, actually I forgot to provide my view on this (I was just happy that I had found a picture to show).

I deplore wild graffiti, which to me amounts to vandalism. Also, as you say, graffiti is much too often narcissic (ie. contain messages to other graffiti groups, is painted on top of another group's graffiti just to annoy them etc).

I accept that graffiti art can in itself also be a mode of expression, and can sometimes be nice. In this perspective I accept that some cities wisely dedicate walls to graffiti contests/exhibitions/freehand. This limits damage by centralizing graffiti in dedicated areas, and also gives graffiti artists a platform to exhibit on.

Now, as you very well put it, there is nothing I dislike more than graffiti on a running train, be it new or old (actually just like you, I get more annoyed when it's new trains - and would probably be furious should I ever see one on a nostalgic train). But to go even further, I'd say that anyone who makes a graffiti on a historical monument is not "expressing himself" but "showing profound disdain for humanity".

I have indeed seen ancient monuments (churches, very old buildings, statue bases ...) with graffiti on them ... and it made my blood boil with anger. Check out this small yellow tag on the Place de la Bastille's pillar (in Paris).

As a punishment I would have the court implement compulsory graffiti on the faulter's property. Of the type that's not washable and that stays for the duration of the sentence (say 2 years). And of course, the faulter doesn't choose what gets tagged on what property of his. State-employed taggers (recycled vandals) would then be paid to do the most embarassing/annoying graffitis on the culprit's property.

Yeah I know, this is unworkable because it legalizes graffiti while condemning it. But the other options don't really seem workable either.

I know that countries have tried to tackle this problem by banning sprays etc but graffiti doers have then switched to other, legal sprays (like car paint), so this is obvisouly not the right approach.

Ideally education would be the solution, as anyone who's talented enough to do this kind of graffiti here, should be painting or drawing cartoons for a living ... not as a vandal, at night, wearing a hood and holding a flashlight, damaging someone else's or the state's property.

ps: I have never done a single graffiti in my life

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 08:56:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn I was going to talk about ancient monuments from Roman times already having graffiti but forgot (ie in their case I naturally wouldn't mind).
by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 08:59:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All very good points!

and would probably be furious should I ever see one on a nostalgic train

This is a growing problem in Germany and elsewhere. It has happened not once that a scheduled nostalgic run had to be replaced with another train or even cancelled due to an attack the night before. It costs tens to hundreds of thousands to repair - and in most cases, we aren't talking of millionaries or the state railway but non-profit groups doing it all in their free time from their own money.

I accept that graffiti art can in itself also be a mode of expression, and can sometimes be nice.

Your link was so nice I just post it! Even if off-topic.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 10:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's another entry from the Railroad Capital of the World.

Claude Monet, "Arrival of the Normandy Train," 1877, at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Rene Magritte's "Time Transfixed" is in another gallery.

Readers might also want to look at Edward Hopper's "Night Hawks, which is one of the few paintings I know of to be turned into a model railroad scene.  (The late John Armstrong modelled it in his O Scale Canandaigua Southern.)

I've been tempted to do a setting of the most famous North American painting, "American Gothic," for the Iowa-based Fox Valley O Scalers layout.

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.
by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 03:35:02 PM EST

The most famous from the inspirator of the impressionists.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 04:39:49 PM EST
......to see all these train diaries ;-)

I was a plane spotter myself in sallow youth.

Maybe I should diary some beautiful aeroplane designs like the De Havilland Dragon Rapide.

One design trend which has always interested me is aerodynamics as applied to immovable objects such as kitchen blenders.

Or, to change the subject, how the reversed baseball cap spread around the world so fast. Forensic design souce exploration would be a fascinating subject. In the case of the disgusting reversed cap, the forensic designer what have to trace back the reversed cap of early speed merchants in plane and car, the Crips and Bloods gangs of LA and the signalling of gang membership (reversal was a signal of neutral), and the lifestyle and music photos that provided the 'Tipping Point' for global spread,

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 04:25:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By any means write the diary series you please :-)

Maybe I should diary some beautiful aeroplane designs like the De Havilland Dragon Rapide.

This would certainly please tuasfait (who suggested me to do that next, but I'm afraid I could write much more on Airbus's sales statistics than airplane technology...).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 04:42:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Just three years after Turner (i.e. 1844 and 1847), a German painter also painted a train on the first (but by then already a decade old) Prussian railway in a pre-impressionist style. (Click for large version.)

BTW, if any Germans are reading this, maybe you recall a famous German impressionist painting? It is a dark one, showing a pedestrian overbridge, multiple tracks and smoke/steam, and the whole image is dark brown. It was made at a Berlin station which IIRC is in the painting's title, but I fail to find it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 04:46:08 PM EST
This one here is probably the greatest American railroad painting ever made. The taming of the wilderness, the creation of God's promised land: Lackawanna! Even the name sounds like a promise.

"The Lackawanna Valley" by George Inness, 1855



"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 07:14:04 PM EST

Lackawanna! Even the name sounds like a promise.

Lackawanna NY is a Lake Erie port south of Buffalo, once the terminus of the Erie Lackawanna railroad, and now a dreadful slum, stuck in the same economic malaise as the rest of post-industrial upstate New York.

It's a bit tangential, but HBO did a version of the play "Lackawanna Blues" which is worth catching.  And no, to the folks there, it mostly doesn't sound like a promise, at least one that's been kept.

by dmun on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 10:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Erie Lackawanna was already a late (1960) merger of the Erie and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroads, the later dating back to 1851. An interesting factoid is that both the Erie and the Lackawanna were US parallels to Brunel's Great Western Railway: they started out with a 6-foot broad gauge (what became standard gauge is 4 feet 8 1/2 inches; metric: 1829 mm and 1435 mm), and later had to rebuild, and struggled thereafter.

Also, Lackawanna became a major railroad as a consequence of railroad baron Jay Gould's failed attempt (one of many, all of which failed to this day) to create a truly transcontinental (coast-to-coast) railroad empire - instead of acquiring the DL&W, the connecting lines he initiated went to the Lackawanna.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 07:43:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's one from a travel poster, which I used in this year's Holiday Greetings card:

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 08:37:19 PM EST
From the contemporary art deco masterpieces, I believe this is one of the greatest posters of all time:



I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 01:41:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige's drawing of the official launch of the railway service in Tokyo 1872. The train just came back from Yokohama. The center carriage carries then Emperor. Men in traditional clothes are shinto monks praying for safety. People wearing European clothes are members of the aristocracy. Incidentally ukiyo-e had certain impact on impressionists, Gogh in particular (although I don't see much in common).



I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 08:52:21 PM EST
Not sure if I want to get into the "is photography art" discussion, but this is certainly one of the most famous American train photos...

by asdf on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 12:41:39 AM EST
and superb it is. I revelled in the descritpions of how these scenes were lit

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 04:14:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our most famous railroad painter is probably Howard Fogg, but his ultra-realistic paintings might also have a hard time being classified as "art."

by asdf on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 12:47:49 AM EST
Our most famous railroad painter is probably Howard Fogg, but his ultra-realistic paintings might also have a hard time being classified as "art."

Yeah, but it is nice anyway :-)

I wrote 'art' for simplicity, but considering that I bring photos in every other diary and considering some artistic, yes I meant "everything but photographic art".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 07:08:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a bunch of Art Deco Canadian Pacific Posters out there, but I didn't have the time to go look for them.  Nevertheless, enjoy ;-)



"now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

by Thor Heyerdahl (thor.heyerdahl@NOSPAMgmail.com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 05:07:23 AM EST
USSR New Year wishes post card.



"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 05:12:29 AM EST
Nice Ded Moroz postcard, but could you please re-post this with width="600" added into the img tag? My screen is set at 1024x768, and with this image the page is too wide - while some still use 800x600.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 07:06:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how to re-post and re-size it. Sorry.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Tue Jan 10th, 2006 at 04:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I simply meant that you post it again in a new comment, and then I'd delete the old comment - but with this diary running out anyway, nevermind.

I gave the suggested change to the code for re-sizing, it is also in the re-edited New User Guide - but here is it in full:

< img width="600" src="http://site/picture.jpg" >

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 07:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And this famous from Dominique Appia:




"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 05:03:41 PM EST
WOW, YOU FOUND IT!!!

I tried but failed to find this somewhere on the web. (I have it as an illustration in a 20-year-old magazine, which doesn't give the source.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 05:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can find some of his paintings on his site: Dominique Appia.

Once you've entered the site, click on the paintings on the wall behind his picture.

I like very much the painting named "extrême-jonction"...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Fri Jan 13th, 2006 at 12:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, something for both this and next week's diary...

BTW, Entre les trous de la mémoire (first room, on the left) was on the wall as giant poster in the eating room of the radio astronomy institute where I wrote my thesis.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jan 13th, 2006 at 01:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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