“Janus a principio ad finem”

A Still Life is the modern name for the “dead nature” art: a painting or a picture that represents animals, flowers and other objects that may come from the Nature (fruits, groceries, plants, stones or shells) or built by the human being. The purpose of this part of Art is producing an effect of calmness and confort by using a special composition and playing with lights.

And this is exactly what I’ve decided to study this year.

The still life paintings have a long story behind, since the Egypt era, when they were used to decorate tombs. The Egiptian’s believed these groceries would be real beyond life. Later, Plinio the Old painted animals and shoe shops, barbers or other kind of places. That’s why he was called “the artista of the common things”.

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We also find still life art in the old Rome, in mosaics from Pompeii, for instance. During this time it was a tradition to use a skulls in paintings as a symbol of mortality and fugacity.

From 1300 onwards, Giotto and his supporters resumed the still life through religious paintings, although it was a minor habit until the Rennaissance.

With Leonardo da Vinci, the still Life art was separated from the religious meaning. Leonardo studied the Nature through his watercolor system. Jacopo de’ Barbari stepped forward with his Partridge, gauntlets, and crossbow bolt  (1504). Religious relations had already been diminished in size.

During the 16th century the interest for Nature considerably rised including great spreads of still life material with figures and often animals, due to the New World disconvery. Natural objects began to be appreciated as individual objects of study and collections.

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In the 17th century, Caravaggio played an important role, since he was one of the first artists who painted dead nature as a Wall art. He also applied his naturalism art to the still life. His Fruitbasket (1595–96) is the first painting using only dead nature.

My inspiration this year will be the still life masters from Caravaggio onwards: Frans Snyders, Osias Beert, Clara Peeters, Jacob van Es, Willem Heda and Pieter Claesz, Samuel van Hoogstraten, Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts, Georg Flegel, Juan Sánchez Cotán, Zurbarán, Blas de Prado, Mateo Cerezo o Antonio de Pereda, Juan van der Hamen, Juan de Espinosa, Antonio Ponce, Francisco Barrera or Ignacio Arias, Francisco de Burgos Mantilla, related to Velázquez; Pedro de Camprobín and Pedro de Medina, Alejandro Loarte, Juan van der Hamen,  Valbuena, Tomás Yepes or Juan Fernández

Also genius at flowery still life like Jan Brueghel the Old and Daniel Seghers in Flanders, Mario Nuzzi or Margarita Caffi in Italy and Spain, Pedro de Camprobín, Gabriel de la Corte, Juan de Arellano and his son-in-law Bartolomé Pérez de la Dehesa, will join me during this 2015.

These artists were inspired by the Greek sleights of hands, which I’m willing to study in detail in order to try to reproduce the work with my Nikon, my illumination equipment and the many old objetcts I’ve been gathering at home over the years.

I’ll be inspired by the “vanity” painting, the one where fruits and flowers mix with books, jars, coins, jewels, paintings and devices, always accompanied by symbolic pieces. I’ll use the meaning of decadence by picturing dead nature scenes. Each month will be different, but always with a given style behind, a style and an inspiration that I won’t say until the end of the year, so you can guess.

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12 Baroque still lives, 12 still even (according to how they called them back in the 17th century in the Netherlands. I rather will call them this way, instead of “dead nature”. It has a special meaning to me and gets much better what I’m lookinf for.

Many evenings studying, reading calmly and composing photographs are ahead. I’ll focus on lights and shadows. I’ll be entering in a world I love.


Images: María Vintage Photography

Leila Amat and her Emergent Bamboo

With Leila Amat I’m starting a new project. After a post I read in her blog –which I follow very often- I decided I should collect emerging photos and invite the creators to my blog.

Leila Amat is Spanish philologist and a Grammar and Literature teacher. However two years back she decided to dedícate her professional life to creative photography.


In the beginning of her career as an artista she didn’t start shooting with her camera, but studying them. She was 11 when her house in Seville burnt in flames, with all her infancy inside. Fire didn’t burn everything, but what was worth saving was smoked. Walls, things, everything was the color of a charred log. She then started cleaning one by one all pictures that her father kept in a box. That was her first experience with photoraphy, and stayed in her mind forever.

She didn’t do a shot until she was 17, with an analog camera. From then on out, she’s been progressing, evolving, improving her technique and aesthetic. Since the beginning she tries to make a universe of each photograph she makes, a paralell universe where she could interpret a character that she wasn’t in real life. She herself appears in most of the pictures. Leila concieves photography as a language to live, extend or analyse, a tool to dream and make everyone else dream.

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She told me she never thought about exclusively dedicate her life to photography, but suddenly she realized that it was the only thing, together with love, that kept her alive.

She then decided to live out of her pictures, both economic and spiritually. She started selling her works in the streets. She spent hours every day showing and trying to sell her work of art. It was actually very hard because that way, the picture falls in value.

Currently she lives out of selling online in My web’art or through the Gallery Lumas (Germany) and Sophie Lanoe (French)

leila amat3She came to our vintage space to bring me my wonderful acquisition “Emergent bamboo” and her only pressence left a halo of magnetism hard to explain. Leila transmits sensibility through her look and sweetness that make you love her almost from the first meeting.

I consider myself a lucky person for having her work decorating my house.

I’m sure you’ll love her work as much as I do. Go and visit it at:

www.flickr.com/manifestedesyeux and  www.facebook.com/leila.amat.ortega

Images: Leila Amat



Virginia Woolf: The art of writing that only lost against illness

The big screen brought to us a few years ago the image of one more woman ahead of her time: the British Virginia Woolf (played by Nicole Kidman). She was a novelist, essay writer, editor, an active feminist and one of the most representative personalities in London in the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays, she is considered among the best and most innovative writers of that time.

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Born within a well educated family, she was in constant touch with the cultural environment. “A woman should have money and own a room if she means to write fiction”, she said, because her life wasn’t easy – in spite of the fact that her family was wealthy – The life of the writer of Orlando (her biography) was troubled with mental illness. Her parent’s death (specially her father’s) was the beginning of several mental breakdowns and a depression that lead her to commit suicide years after.


Virginia Woolf always suffered from bipolar disorder, but the severe moral in the time stopped her from talking about these episodes in her autobiographies. However, she was strong enough to beat the illness for a while only with her writing. Her husband, Leonardo Woolf also was always a big support. He was an economist and writer, member of the well-knkown group Bloomsbury. They got married whe she was 30 and they always had a huge affinity. They both together launched a publishing house that published, among others, Sigmund Freud or T.S. Eliot’s biggest hits.

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In 1941, with Europe in the middle of a war, Virginia Woolf threw herself to the river Ouse. In her emotional suicide note she showed once more time her loyalty to her husband with these words: “You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer (…) If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been”

Despite her important literary work and her being in the cultural life of the time, after her death Virginia Woolf’s writing dissapeared, until the feminist movement recovered it during the 60’s. It was then when her work revived to become into one of the English biggest novelists. She was terribly engaged wiht her time and other people who, like her, loved the writing. Virginia Woolf was a model of personal and professional development and she passed on us a magnificent work of fiction writing and essays.







“Givenchy, the history of a genious”

This is something I was looking forward to this November, a visit to the first retrospective about the French fashion designer Hubert from Givenchy, a leyend in the history of fashion.

This is the first Givenchy’s exhibition in Spain, in the Thyssen Museum, and it’s also the first time this museum shows fashion. The show is comissioned by Givenchy himself and it’s a walk through the history of this great genious along the second half of the 20th century, since the first store was opened in 1952 in Paris.


A selection of almost 100 pieces coming from several museums and private collections from around the world, many of them still unpublished. They share the room with exquisite paintings from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.

I had the priviledge of pay a visit to the show with Maria de Cuenca and a distinguish group of art lovers. Maria is a tourist guide and expert at Art and History, so the walk through the collection was even more entertaining thanks to her explanations and comments.


Among the pieces we enjoyed are a few designs from the high society along the 20th century. Iconic women like Jackqueline Kennedy, the Windsor duchess, Caroline of Monaco or even her muse and friend Audrey Hepburn. The master was Audrey’s designer in most of her most important movies, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There it was the black dress I’ve dreamt of so many times…


This dress has a very interesting background. I’ve read in many specialized pages some doubts that expert had regarding this dress: the fact that the dress that appears in the beginning of the movie didn’t have the cut in the skirt. This is even more obvious in the scenes where Audrey walks towards Tiffany. She moves very graciously but in short steps so it’s evident the dress is pretty tight. However the dress that appears in most of the promotions let Audrey shows the left leg.


Is this dress the one Givenchy designed for Audrey’s movie? Or maybe it’s an adapted design that Edith Head, Paramount Pictures Manager Designer did in the very last minute? Is it possible that the Givenchy’s model was considered too provocative and they decided to make it more demure?

I’m determined to find out more about this mysterious. If I get the correct answer, you’ll be the first ones to know.

In the meantime, if you have the chance, don’t miss this show, specially if you are a fashion art lover.






Bibliography and Timetable

@Museo Thyssen

Photography @María Vintage Photography

With “A”: for Aljófar Pearl

That curious name “aljófar” comes from the Arabic language. It means: small pearl or group of them with irregular shape. The poets use this word more often to describe the tiny dew drops that cover plants and grass early in the morning. These pearls are generally of not much value.

You can distinguish between two different aljófar: the “poppy” (usually more esferic) and the egg-shaped “seeds”, more irregular.

This name is also given to jewelry pieces made with this kind of pearls like earrings or necklaces, or even to those pieces used to decorate the wealthiest silks during the Renaissance.

Nowadays is not frequent to find jewels made with these pearls, since it’s very complicated to work with them due to their tiny size.

When they are well attached, both over gold or silver, they have a very beautiful and elegant look.



Key after key

In a chapter from the acclaimed series House of Cards, a crafty Kevin spacey has to write a very important letter and he decides to do it with a Underwood writing machine that his father had given to him. We can see his fingers hiting each key and how every word is printed over the paper almost in a solemn way. There’s no screen or cables around, only the indelible ink.

This scene wouldn’t have had the same impact with a computer, laptop or an iPad. It’s not about rejecting the new technologies now but about defending that magic within the printed words that will never be deleted, within the smell of the ink, within the rhythmic sound of the keys hiting the paper.

The first writing machine I can remember was a Rheinmetall in my grandparent’s house. It was portable or, at least, the instructions said that, because the heavy weight made it imposible to carry around. My grandfather, who was a woodworker, made a cover in wood for it. Thanks to that box, the device was able to cross the Atlantic from Venezuela to Spain with not even a scratch. It wasn’t really portable but it was a traveller indeed, because its origin was German. The Company in charge of the production was founded in Dusseldorf by the end of the 19th century, and in 1931 released the first writing machine, although the real business was totally different.


But that tool wasn’t mine, but my father’s, who some day realized my devotion was writing and suddenly gave me away a Canon Typestar 110. I know he brought it from one of his many trips. It was a total revolution since it was electronic and had a little screen that showed the whole line you’d just written before print it over the paper.

Also, my skills as a writer had got much better after waste lots of packets of El Galgo paper. However, even though the Canon was very useful and ecofriendly, it lacked of that rhythmic and evocative sound I needed every time I wanted to write something on my own. It was perfect for my homework though, but muses need their own sound track to be called.

I still keed those two machines and not long ago, a third one came to accompany: a beautiful Underwood (like the one Kevin Spacey used but a bit dirtier) that a friend of mine found in his parent’s basement. He decided to give it to me and I really think he didn’t realize what he was giving to a literary mythomaniac like I am. Kerouac, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, Arthur Conan Doyle… Even Orson Wells in Ciudadano Kane… All of them used this exact machine. A treasure I still keep safe in my library surrounded by thousand of books because I think that’s its proper place. When I feel I’ve lost the battle against a blank paper (or better said, a blank screen) I caress its keys trying to invoke just a few voices that I know are behind it.


Because the writing machines have something very special and magic that computers lack of. Ask Paul Auster who dedicated his book to his old Olympia. The author of the Trilogy of New York or Winter Diary speaks about it like a devoted lover, about the company that it meant and the charming dents and scars. He tells that when he suspected the tapes would stop being manufactured, ordered all of them available to his stationery shop in Brooklyn and now he tries to ration them carefully.

It’s true the modern devices have made our lives easier. They have also given us many shocks though… I’m sure you’ve all been terrified while quitting without saving the document! But the writing is an artisan profession that needs a dose of romanticism and magic. A writer is fetishistic by definition and there’s no major fetish that an old and heavy writing machine with a story behind and another one to be told for those who silently want to plait.

“Post written by Maria Cereijo, Journalist and Writer. Find her on Twitter @capitulosiete or as a juvenil authour @LabAmy 

Pictures by @Maria Cereijo

Marie Curie: Shining in a world for men

She was born in Poland within a very humble family. However it was France the country that crossed her way to make her have a life worth being study, not only because of the science but of the sacrifice and bravery Marie Curie showed during her complicated life.

Born in 1867, she was explorer in so many different fields that it would be impossible to name them all. That was the glory of this woman, the first to obtain not one but two Nobel prizes; the first woman to be graduated in Science in La Soborna, the first woman who had a professorship and being buried thanks to her own achievements in the Mausoleum for Illustred Men in Paris.


A fascinating and wonderful person who fought to get her own path in a time when women were not allowed to have it. She lived in a society where intellectual and public responsabilities belonged to men and only men. However that wasn’t an issue: She fought to show the world her value with such patience that she seemed to know she was going to be successful some day.

Marya Skłodowska, Marie Curie, beyond the austere and cold look was a passionate both for science and her husband Pierre Curie.

She met him when she was 27, after getting the bacherlor’s degree at Physics as the first in the promotion and she was already being called Marie. She found her half in him, a partner on sicence and love who she had two daughters with. Their career together however was tragically cut short when a horse carriage run over him and killed him after 11 years of marriage.


Both were scientists but also humanists. Two persons totally convinced of the social situation around. Marie fell into a deep grief although she knew how to live beyond the pain and knew how to reinvent herself.

She educated her daughters so well that Irène, the older, won a Nobel Prize at Chemistry although she ended up dying young (59 years old) due to all the radiations she got during her professional life.

The same way Marie Curie suffered from a full life dedicated to physics. She knew she would pay the price and for decades she felt a huge fatigue. When she was 60 she was already a very weak woman.


In despite of being an expert in the field, neither she nor her husband saw the danger they faced every day with the experiments. A danger that caused the death to Marie Curie in 1934, when she was 67 years old.

She left for posterity her discoveries, awards and over all her headstrong spirit. The spirit of a woman who knew how to go further in a society that wasn’t ready nor willing to let her be. A woman who never was afraid of limits. A woman who deserves being remembered both for her contribution to science but also for her bravery.

Artículo escrito por @Esther Ginés




Mary Dayton Richards; A bride from the end of the 19th century

Mary Dayton Richards (1842-1921) and Milton Brayton Graff (1840-1877) were married in 1869 in Manhattan. By that time, the wedding gowns were long and with a elliptical skirt. However the trend for brides was about to change.

She – who was very thin – decided to wear a beautiful dress in pure white made in a kind of shiffon. Nowadays it’s not common anymore for brides to wear such a white dress but other tonalities of white like cream or ivory.

The sort of shiffon she used was origin from India and it was very similar to muslin but with a thinner weave and a rigid consistency.


Mary’s dress was a very common model back in the 19th century: it was modest with a demure style like the fashion rules dictated in the time. It had a cute bodice with round neckline and central set of buttons, with a little arpon made of flounces in the same fabric that the rest of the dress. Of course, since the fabric was so transparent, it had a cotton lining to show consistency.

The sleeves were semi transparent as they didn’t get the cotton lining below from the elbow down.

The superb skirt was made by a couple of overskirts (one shorter than the other) resting over a petticoat, with an undulating ending in the same fabric. The drawing was actually a bit modern for the time.


Mary and Milton were married in Manhattan, where she was born, although the couple got back to the groom’s home – Cincinnati – right after the ceremony. He was working there as a psychologist.

They lived together with Milton’s parents, Jacob and May Ann Graff in the west of the city. Between 1850 and 1890 the wealthy businessmens built there impressive Italian-style houses and the area started being called “The Walk of the Millionaires”.

Sadly, the marriage was broken in just a few years due to Milton’s death in 1875. After 5 years, Mary built her own house in Glendale (Ohio), in a community only 15 miles away from Cincinnati.

Glendale was the summer house for rich people from Cincinnati, who wanted to scape from the noise and contamination of a big city. Probably was that and the quite surroundings what grabbed Mary’s attention. She lived there with her two children until she died in 1921.

129, Dayton Street


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.



Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.

Google Maps


Frida Kahlo: Icon of strength against life adversities

She knew how to recover after a tragic accident that marked her life as a teenager. Back then many people started admiring her because of her bravery. However, the Mexican artista Fidra Kahlo (1907-1954) was much more than just a fighter. Nowadays she’s considered one of the most relevant women over the last century.

She was interesting, close and extremely independent. She actually was the pioneer about women emancipation. For many years people only saw in her the partner of a great Mexican muralist, the painter Diego Rivera, but her over 200 works have left a deep track in her contemporary colleagues as well as following generations.


Her wish of independency, far from Diego Rivera both economically and professionally, is the reflection of her innate artist heart. Of course Rivera and his way of understanding art influenced Frida, but studies showed that without him, she would have succeeded the same way.

Frida had a complicated life specially marked for that accident that kept her on bed for long periods of time as well as under constant surgeries. Her need of analyze herself through her art also was a way of over complicate things.


She left us before she was 50 years old, but the life that hit her also allowed her to enjoy really intense relationships – mainly sentimental- and also let her be witness of one of the most relevant cultural and political times in History.

She shared experiences with Picasso, André Breton or even Trotski. All of them admired her because of her magnetism. She was photographed many times accompanied by the pets she truly loved and wearing her well-known native costume. She used to show that way her love for Mexico. Her art is nowadays universal and her –strongly biographic- work has been showed in the best museums in the world.


In the 21st century Frida Kahlo is already an icon, not only because of her art though but for her humanity. That is what makes her different from Diego Rivera whose influence always was artistic and political.

Going deeper into Frida’s self-portraits is like read a fascinating biography. The accident where she broke her column in three parts would have finished with the wish of living in most of the cases but she went on. “I tried to drown my pains but they learnt how to swimm”, wrote a woman who rowed against adversity.

Artículo escrito por @Esther Ginés




Merle Oberon and the most photaphed Catier’s necklace

Merle Oberon was the alias of Estelle Merle O’Brien Thompson, a British actress who was born in Tasmania by the beginning of the 20th century. She is the first protagonist of our new section “Collectors of Jewelry of the History”

Merle Oberon was living in India until she was 17, when she moved out to London on the purpose of becoming a successful actress in cinema.

Her better good luck came when the productor and director Alexander Korda found out about her by chance back in 1930. He made her shine as one of the big ladies in British theatres during the 40’s. The ended up getting married and he was one of the first ones who started giving her away really expensive jewelry.


Merle Oberon wearing the necklace that Napoleon Bonaparte gave to Baroness Haussmann.

One of the very first pieces she acquired was an old necklace in diamonds and emeralds that apparently was a gift from Napoleon the Third to the Baroness Haussmann. It’s said that was his way to thank her for the role of her husband in the new and more modern Paris. Thanks to the alterations made in Paris, this city became in just two decades into the most modern capital in the world. Merle worn the piece in movies like The Divorce of Lady X and Of Love And Desire. Later Merle Oberon removed two tears to the necklace in order to make them earrings.

In 1939 after her marriage, Alexandre got her one of the pieces most beautiful in her collection (at least, it is to me): a Cartier’s piece made with three flowered-formed brooches. The one in the middle, the biggest one, has a charming detail on it: the pistils are diamonds with some movement which adds beauty to the whole piece. These brooches were originary designed to be worn as hair clips but Merle preferred to let them be brooches or even cameos. Sadly after she died the three pieces were sold separately.

There’s a curiosity here that you’ll love to know: a few years later, the Princess Elizabeth of England would get a especial wedding gift from the Prince Philip of Greece: a tiara with three identical flower-formed clips designed by Cartier. Elizabeth II removed them to wear them separately and she did so in many occasions.


Merle Oberon wearing the Cartier’s three-flowered clip that was supposed to be a hair clip in the origins. Photocourtesy of Fine Art America

However, the most amazing piece within her collection is a necklace of diamonds and 29 emeralds from the Baroque that Korda gave her in 1939. The piece fitted her very nicely due to her exotic beauty. The necklace has a very original design for the time especially because of the sensual and elegant form the emeralds are linked.

The story of this piece is very curious indeed and show how humans always want badly what others have. It seemed the necklace meant to be acquired by the designer Elsa Schiaparelli. However Merle saw it in a store in Paris and when she asked the seller about it, she was said the piece had another admirer. Merle didn’t believe the man and thought it was a strategy to sell it to her. After a few days she realized the seller was right when she passed by the store and the jewel had gone. Her mysterious rival was in a fitting room trying on the piece.

The day after Merle went back to the shop to see if the necklace was still there and she saw how Elsa Schiaparelli leaving the place. She came back so devastated that her husband went out, straight away to the jeweller’s and after asking for the piece he surprisingly got it. The stunning 29 emerald will shine in her exotic neckline from that moment onwards.

Merle Obedon's Big Jewelry Collectors in History  Vintage By Lopez-Linares (4)

Merle enjoyed that necklace until she died. 

Cartier 1938, 29 stunning Baroque emeralds like tears, linked with platinum and diamonds, 44 cm long and finished in 2,642,500 CHF. This is one of the Cartier’s necklace most photographed ever.

Link to the necklace in the Catalog Antiquorum

Other pieces in her collection:


  • A set of two clips designed by Cartier with flowered diamonds, one with the pistil in diamonds and the other with rubies. They might be worn together of separately. Other option was making a bracelet with them. Merle had this bracelet in the movie Til We Meet Again in 1940.
  •   A brooch with saphires and diamonds by Cartier, also detachable to wear as a clip. The piece was set with an oval saphire and petals in diamonds. The stem (also in diamonds) was sold separately. Merle worn this piece many times, not only the clip but also the brooch as a short necklace. I’m sure Merle loved Cartier’s jewelry and the versality of his work.
  •  By the end of the 50’s and 60’s she acquired and changed a big amount of jewelry. She spent a time living in Rome where she got a Bulgari’s brooch with diamonds and rubies. Bulgari also created for her an elegant bag in a non-conventional design (acorn).
  • Van Cleef&Arpels was other of the preferred Merle’s designers during the 70’s. Among her collection is a set of a brooch, earrings and a necklace with turquoises and diamonds in pink that could be transformed into a brooch and a bracelet.
  •  Merle also had a small but good collection of rubies that included an spectacular necklace by David Webb who also made for her a ring and earrings with a big oval ruby in the center.

Most of these pieces were sold in an auction in New York back in 1980, exactly a year after she passed away.

Merle Oberon had a really beautiful and huge jewelry collection.

Pictures and biography






 “Hollywood Jewels” by Penny Proddow, Debra Healy and Marion Fasel

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