Monday, 7 April 2014

Austin Osman Spare: of Christ, Holbein and Belugas.

Austin Osman Spare

British painter and occultist, 
portraitist and self portraitist.

“And remember, you shall suffer all things and again suffer: until you have sufficient sufferance to accept all things.”  - Austin Osman Spare. 

Austin Osman Spare: self portrait.

I stumbled over Spares quotation that is so appropriate for this time of year. The weeks  before Easter, since the year, Anno Domini 33 commemorating the resurrection of the man that took all human suffering on his shoulders and who died on the cross three days before: on the friday before the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring. I suppose Spares' life wasn't the among the happiest and carefree.  

Hans Holbein (1497-1543), probably the greatest portrait artist the world ever saw, was the first association that came to my mind discovering and studying Spares portraits. But do judge yourself. Holbein, a German, who moved to England in 1525 where he acquired world fame painting and drawing British royalty and aristocracy. 

 Thomas Eliot (1490-1546) and his wife Margaret à Barrow (1500-ar.1565), diplomat and scolar, by Hans Holbein around 1535.

Googling this rather strange artist Spare I found this brilliant 1932 portrait of American movie actor Joel Macrea (1905-1990). 

In that year, 1932, Macrea, the handsome and Tarzan build American actor starred in Technicolor with beautiful Mexican born actress Dolores del Rio (1905-1983) in "Bird of Paradise" a movie rather famous among our grandparents for its few minutes of very daring nude underwater swimming.

Above two photographs showing Dolores del Rio surfacing in 1932 (after some Photoshop fiddling of stills from a Youtube clip) and two paintings by British artist Bill Bate (b. 1962) who is also very much "into the underwater". 

Which brings me to the astonishing, very beautiful and brave Natalia Avseenko (link)a Russian record holding free diver and marine scientist who dived and swam in arctic waters near Murmansk with Belugas creating these incredible photographs made by the crew of Viktor Lyaguskin. Above: training with a crew of divers and below: two photographs that amazed the world. See and enjoy the movie !  

The Belugas would not swim with her when dressed. Proving these elegant and gentile mammals have brains very much like those of humans. 

If Japan ever kills a whale again (they are still slaughtering dolphins aren't they ?) why don’t we just stop buying Toyotas and Mazdas, tv sets and stereos ! I did. 

When in 1932 technical possibilities would have been to todays incredible high but taken for granted standards Dolores and Joel would probably have had altogether other careers. But on the other hand that movie surely would never have been allowed to be seen publicly.

1960, Japanese Ama pearl diver on the isle of Hekura.  

So here are from our liberated times, some more Doloresses and Natalias proving your and my human brain are not so very different from those of Belugas.

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen. 

   Galerie Souris: 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you ! This is really very much appreciated. This posting has been read by thousands (!) of visitors lately and you are the first to take the time and effort to leave a comment. I hope you've enjoyed as much as I did composing it.

    2. Two years later this post, posting or blog article was read and probably enjoyed over 10.000 times. Resulting in one nice comment, proving all (but one) blog readers are munchers ......... ?

  2. fascinating article....thank you for the is very helpful to me

  3. Thank YOU, Jenny. It is always nice and good to know to have been of help. That quote has made a deep impression on me too. Best, gerrie