Archive for April, 2011

Save the Glasgow Egyptian Hall!

Posted in 19th Century, Alexander "Greek" Thomson, Egyptian Revival, Egyptomania, Pittsburgh on April 26, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Dear Readers, the hands of time are cruel enough without bulldozers leveling works of great beauty.

At this moment the very beautiful and very fallen Egyptian Hall of Glasgow faces a very uncertain future.

This gorgeous building designed by famed Glasgow architect Alexander\”Greek\” Thomson may be condemned as shortly as this summer, if so the building will be demolished. There is interest in restoration, please sign this Facebook petition to make that a reality.

Egyptian Hall

84-100 Union St. Glasgow, UK

Egyptian Halls completed in  1873 is a four storey warehouse that apparently sits empty or partially vacant. For more information concerning the building’s condition follow this Buildings at Risk link. In its present condition Thomson’s jewel is prey to time, vandalism and vulgar greed.

Alexander “Greek”Thomson

b. 9th April 1817

d. 22nd March 1875

Thomson was quite a prolific architect, working outside of the Gothic Revival tradition. His work was  diverse, from warehouse to church, unfortunately many have been lost or severely compromised.

The very marvelous Caledonia Road Church now sits as a ruin, a forlorn testament to Thomson’s inventiveness.I particularly admire the unconventional placement of the tower.

Quite a marvel,

now a shambles.

Don’t let this happen (or worse) happen to Egyptian Hall!

For more information concerning Thomson’s work please follow this informative link, you would also do well to check out the Alexander \”Greek\” Thomson Society.

My readers are probably familiar with Thomson’s incredible Millbrae Crescent. It appears to have been built posthumously.

Millbrae Crescent

started 1876

completed 1877

I must state I have never been to Glasgow, I have never seen Thomson’s bit of Egyptomania, I hope I will have the chance.

My experiences with the fanciful Egyptian revival have been within the States.

In Pittsburgh’s gorgeous Allegheny Cemetery the Winter mausoleum was a favorite landmark on my weekly jog through this fantastic necropolis.


I am not able to forget the wonderful Egyptian Theatre right here in Hollywood, often lost to the dazzle of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

It hasn’t been terribly long since these fine buildings were constructed, how can Egyptian Hall be in such peril? 

It would be tragic to lose the little that has survived of Thomson’s work.

So again, please sign the petition.

Thank you ,

Babylon Baroque

Easter Tidings

Posted in 15th century on April 24, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Easter Greetings



Alvise Vivarini

San Giovanni in Bragora, Venice

warm wishes of joy this Easter morning from

Babylon Baroque

Behold The Man; depictions of the Passion

Posted in Good Friday, Guido Reni, Il Sodoma, Pietro Perugino, Raphael, Vasari on April 21, 2011 by babylonbaroque

As my schedule did not allow my attending this evening’s  Mass of the Lord’s Supper, I am like any modern penitent, blogging as sacrifice.

I hope it counts.

For those uncomfortable with image of faith, particularly Christian, please bear with me, or wait until after Holy Week.

For those uncomfortable with discussion of faith I will attempt to keep the rhetoric to a minimum; the images are far more eloquent then anything I will ever say.

Man of Sorrows

illumination, unidentified

Christ at the Whipping Post


Francesco Vanni


Ecce Homo translates as “behold the man”, Pilate’s words to the gathered crowd.

See what we have wrought.

Ecce Homo


Guido Reni

The Man of Sorrows


Michele Giambono

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I have seen the word Misericoidia  bounced about, I did not know that it translated to mean The Man of Sorrows. This image by Giambono is indeed heart wrenching.

Difficult to not think of the Miserere.

Ecce Homo


J Petel

painted wood

Deposition from the Cross


Il Sodoma

Raphael’s mentor, Pietro Perugino  tried his hand at the Crucifixion, it is easy to see how the boy from Urbino was both  impressed and inspired.


Pietro Perugino

Giorgio Vasari tells us that Raphael was born on good Friday, 1483, he also died on Good Friday 37 years later. Vasari rather priggishly implies he whored himself to death.

No matter, his own Crucifixion is as lovely as you would imagine, the man was indeed touched by God.




National Gallery, London

Vasari also tells us that the great Raphael was born to the artist Giovanni de’ Santi, ” a painter of no great talent”. That is a bit harsh, he possesses talent, but his son is a difficult act to follow.

The following is by Papa, perhaps a bit old fashioned to Raphael’s eyes, but worthy of our attention nonetheless.

Christ Supported by Two Angels


Giovanni Santi

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

The fly on his chest is a particularly good touch.

Raphael will go on to create a more luminous interpretation upon the theme.

The Blessing Christ



Through history Jews have born the ugly brunt, the Passion incited foul reactions; i remember as a child hearing anti-Semitic accusations, in the 70’s!

I’m sorry about that, deeply sorry.

That said the Passion is dear to me, in many ways more so then Easter itself. 

Ecce Homo


Antonio Ciseri

I have readied the house for the Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, the images are draped, as our the mirrors.


I will attend Mass tomorrow.

I will work on a drawing based upon the Vanni.

I will stay away from this damned keyboard.

Until then ,

Babylon Baroque

Good Pesach

Posted in Passover on April 18, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Happy Passover

Wishing  peace, health, and joy this Passover

14th century Haggadah-German

psalm 79, verse 6

19th cent. after 14th. century missal


19th century, Ukranian

detail from Washington Haggadah

dated 29th January 1478

detail depicting the roasting of Passover lamb,

The Washington Haggadah on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through 26th of June, 2011.

Full page with the Dayenu

more information available from

today’s New York Times


The Feast of the Passover

Dieric the Elder Boutis


oil on panel

Sint-Pieterskerk, Leuven

Full image, pardon the quality…

Happy Holidays,


Sebastian and Lucrezia, the wonders of Dosso Dossi

Posted in 16th cent, Apollo, Borgias, Dosso Dossi, Feast of the Epiphany, Vasari on April 13, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Lucrezia Borgia and Saint Sebastian may seem odd studio mates, but in the hands of master Dosso Dossi they are given equal opportunity to blossom into full beauty.

Dosso Dossi, 1490-1542, trained as a youth in the Roman workshop of Raphael was a master colorist. His mysterious allegories wrought in oil dazzle the eye, as do his touching and often sensual images of blessed saints.

Saint Sebastian


If you have been following the  mini-series The Borgias as I have, you might be interested in what the real Lucrezia is to have looked like, at least as painted by Dosso Dossi. This painting known as the Portrait of a Youth is now the only confirmed image of the siren.

Portrait of a Youth


National Gallery of Victoria

(Lucrezia seems a bit hotter on Showtime.)

Cesare might also have posed for Dosso Dossi,

Portrait of a Man

(possibly Cesare Borgia)

Dosso Dossi had a lush sense of coloring, unexpected bursts of visual pleasure. The Epiphany theme is always ripe for splendor, Dosso Dossi adds extra sparkle to the gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Just look at that pink, that green, wondrous.

Adoration of the Magi


National Gallery


I first saw  the work of Dosso Dossi here in LA at the Getty Center.

Saint George


oil on panel

The J. Paul Getty Museum


From Sacred to Pagan,



In Dosso Dossi’s hand even the aged ascetic Saint Jerome seems hot.

Saint Jerome

undated-16th cent.


As I am now engaged in an excellent course examining  the Renaissance, and at last reading Vasari’s Lives of the Artists ,

you might be subjected to more and more work by Renaissance masters.

Have a pleasant week,

Babylon Baroque


The Real Deal, Charles Demuth

Posted in 20th century, Gay on April 9, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Feeling a bit shamefaced by my naiveté concerning the last post, I felt the need to present an actual artist from a period I so admire; Charles Demuth of course comes to mind.

This image still startles me.

Turkish Bath with Self Portrait

Charles Demuth


Really quite extraordinary , the background action a bit shocking.

I was unaware that he was born in Lancaster Pennsylvania, I am hard pressed to imagine this man with his fantastic imagery hailing from such a dour(though attractive) place. The Demuth Museum link provides more details.

Self Portrait



b. 8th of November 1883

d. 23rd of October 1935

Final home, now the Demuth Museum, quite a good looking place.

Buildings, Lancaster


Distinguished Air


The painting I am most familiar with, I assume the sculpture that is being admired is a mock Brancusi.

Three Sailors


I’m sad to say I hesitated including this, I tend towards prudery I’m afraid.

Men at a Bar


I really admire the sense of artificial light captured in the medium of watercolor, no mean feat.

Artist on the Beach at Provincetown




Wishing all a happy weekend,

Babylon Baroque

Bruce Sargeant, the Gay Deceiver?

Posted in 20th century, Babylon Beefcake, Gay, Quaintance on April 7, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Thumbing through the always excellent Gay & Lesbian Review, I was struck by an arresting image, a painting by Bruce Sargeant, Wrestler in Singlet.

As the article promised, I had never heard of Sargeant.

Apparently, a painter of promise, born 1898, that golden period before the war. Gifted, inspired, his talents enhanced by a stint at the Slade School, tragic affairs with young pretty boys, familial exile and ultimately a tragic early (1938) death when a wrestling match goes awry ( I assume with quite a cute lad).

Is all this some sort of E.M. Forster fantasy? If so,  the G&LR doesn’t let on that it is.

Upon research it appears to be some high camp romp. Mark Beard,  a”distant relative”, seems to have created Sargeant as his alter ego. The mainstream gay rags, Out and The Advocate in particular seem to be a bit more clued in.

I confess I am still a bit baffled, but evidence suggests it is a bit of a prank.

In the end it doesn’t matter, painted in the 20’s in some Bloomsbury haze, or yesterday by some smart fellow in New York, the images are a  joy to behold, undeniably sexy, well crafted,  and worthy of our attention be it directed at Beard or Sargeant.

Swimmer Drying Himself

Berlin Olympics


John Stevenson Gallery


Portrait of a Wrestler

John Stevenson Gallery


Weight Lifter

Mark Beard as Bruce Sargeant

Carrie Haddad Gallery

Standing Male Nude

Mark Beard as Bruce Sargeant

Carrie Haddad Gallery

Unidentified Surfer

Mark Beard as Bruce Sargeant

Carrie Haddad Gallery

Young Wrestlers

Mark Beard as Bruce Sargeant


(the year of his wrestling match “death”)

Sargeant’s/ Beard’s draftsmanship is exceptional as the following images illustrate.

both sourced from Carrie Haddad Gallery.

My suspicions were raised by this high camp scene, but really is it any more extreme then some fantasy by George Quaintance?

La Chasse aux Cygnes

Mark Beard as Bruce Sargeant


(he was supposedly born in ’98)

Carrie Haddad Gallery

Great fun.

This mysterious play has left me yearning for flesh and blood vintage beefcake, so I close with some actual dapper fellows.

Tim Murnane




Butch (indeed)



If interested there is a book which seems to accompany Beard’s/Sargeants work, Bruce Sargeant and His Circle, Figure and Form, by Mark Beard.

I hope you have enjoyed these rather naughty images as much as I have.

Take care,

Babylon Baroque

Addendum: my chum Serge, far worldlier (not to mention a collector of Beard/Sargeant) has set me straight so to speak, follow this link for the complete scoop.