Monday, 28 February 2011

Phoenix Rising

Recently, I came across this door on a street that I have been on a few times - many times in a car - but had never actually walked near it enough to notice it (the river is on the other side of the street so I think I was always looking towards the river). I don't know when this door was put here or why the pheonix mosaic was put over it as the two, no, three styles (including the arch itself which is art nouveau) are, in my opinion, an odd combination. That being said, I still like all three. The door itself, is of simple wood with delicate carvings of flowers on it that have just a few touches of gold on them. This is rich without being too much. The other touches of gold such as the ornate metallic corner points on the door's upper inside edges and lower edge (the door's kick plate) and the door handle plates and keyhole plates are incredibly charming. I find their swirls and whorls happy and uplifting (a bit like the phoenix rising from the flames!)!!

There is, as you may see here, what appears to be Hebrew (???) written in gold relief...I haven't a clue what it says, but I suppose someone who knows how to read it might be able to shed some light as to why it has been put on this door.

The carved flowers are lilys which traditionally symbolise purity, innocence and/or virginity. According to one dictionary I have on symbolism, in Bohemia (yes, Prague is considered to be in Bohemia) the lilly is seen as a symbol of celestial purity, but I have to admit that I don't quite grasp what they mean by 'celestial'... There are other interpretations of the lilly such as it standing for forbidden love. Another has it symbolising temptation or the doors to hell. French kings have used the symbol of a lilly to mean the prosperity of the race. There are other definitions as well, but one that might have something to do with the placement of these lilys on the door AND the writing is the biblical tradition of the lilly which is that this flower is the symbol of choice of the beloved, e.g. what was the privilege of Isreal amongst the nations and of the Virgin Mary among the women of Isreal. The lilly also symbolises providence: leaving things (life?) to the hands of God.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Here's looking atcha!

Once again, I recently came across a door that I could honestly say I have passed in front of a thousand times and never noticed!! Can you believe it?? I can't!

Finally, I opened my eyes (or was it my ears...

surely this beautiful door was screaming silent screams - afterall, there are enough mouths on it - for me to notice it each time I blindly walked past it!) and gave it a thorough inspection and photo-documenting. Notice the date of 1615 on the door? Wow!!

Funny nice to see that whoever made and/or wanted this door also had a sense of humour!!

Of course, in all fairness to myself, I do believe that the reason I never really noticed this door - in all its glory - is because it has always been open when I have gone past it. Perhaps this is why I only now noticed it...because it was closed!

I opened the door and was disappointed by what was behind not interesting!!

Nevermind all that, let's just admire it and be glad that for whatever reason, it was there, waiting for me at just the right moment!! Now, you can enjoy it, too!

OK, so the handle isn't that fabulous...

but check out these places where the screws for the hinges are...I love how the one larger piece even has a little design carved into it!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Art Deco's Clean Lines

As I have mentioned numerous times in the past, I am a huge fan of Art Nouveau. Oddly though, I am not that big of a fan of Art Deco which is, in fact, a period that slightly overlapped Art Nouveau's last few years. Where Art Nouveau was romantic and flourishing; flowing and elegant, Art Deco is hard and geometric, bold and serious. Some people like these traits in Art Deco...I am not one of them, but even if they are interesting to look at or offer elements that capture the eye, I find the style - as a whole - too septic.

That being said, I can't deny that there are occasional Art Deco items that I find interesting to look at. Take, for example, this door and it's frame. Alone, each of these elements is at most "interesting".

But what 'sells' this door for me was the combination of the door, it's frame and the gate. The doors alone have an attractive simplicity: they are made of an appealingly warm wood and they contain elegant beveled glass windows. The ample glass surface on the door partially reflects the impressive size of the gate and what happens in front of this door. The pretty baubles on the arch overhead are just the icing on the cake.

The wrought-iron gate is simple in its design and takes advantage of the technique of using a repetition of circles and squares. The overhead arched frame contains the period's copyright colours (blue and green).