Monday, June 27, 2011

More theory work

The following quotes are from Meaning in the visual Arts by Erwin Panofsky. On the whole this book describes ways to shift from considering images iconographically to iconologicaly and realy taking a closer look into finding the meaning in images. Some of the highlights from the book are as follows

“To perceive the relation of signification is to separate the idea of the concept to be expressed from the means of expression”
Pg. 5 Meaning in the visual arts
“But a work of art always has aesthetic value,: whether or not is serves some practical purpose, and whether it is good or bad, it demands to be experienced aesthetically…only he who simply and wholly abandon himself to the object of his perception will experience it aesthetically…Those man-made objects which do not demand to be experienced aesthetically, are commonly called “practical,” and may be divided into two classes: vehicles of communication, and tools or apparatuses. A vehicle of communication is “intended” to transmit a concept. A tool or apparatus is “intended” to fulfill a function (which function, in turn, may be the production or transmission of communications”
Pgs.11-12 Meaning in the visual arts
“However, the element of “form” is present in every object without exception, for every object consists of matter and form, and there is no way of determining with scientific precision to what extent, in a given case, this element of form bears the emphasis. Therefore one cannot, and should not, attempt to define the precise moment at which a vehicle of communication or an apparatus begins to be a work of art…Where the sphere of practical objects ends, and that of “art” begins, depends, then, on the “intention” of the creators. This “intention” cannot be absolutely determined in the first place, “intentions” are, per se, incapable of being defined with scientific precision. In the second place, the intentions” of those who produce objects are conditioned by the standards of their period and environment. Classical taste demanded that private letters, legal speeches and the shields of heroes should be “artistic” ( with the possible result of what might be called fake beauty), while modern taste demands that architecture and ash trays should be “ functional” with the possible result of what might be called fake efficiency). Finally our estimate of those “intentions” is inevitably influenced by our own attitude, which in turn depends on our individual experiences as well as on our historical situation.”
Pgs.12-13 Meaning in the visual arts
“…the more the proportion of emphasis on “idea” and “form” approaches a state of equilibrium, the more eloquently will the work reveal what is called “content”. Content, as opposed to subject matter, may be described in the words of Peirce as that which a work betrays but does not parade. It is the basic attitude of a nation, a period, a class, a religious or philosophical persuasion—all this unconsciously qualified by one personality, and condensed into one work. It is obvious that such an involuntary revelation will be obscured in proportion as either one of the two elements, idea or form, is voluntarily emphasized or suppressed…”
Pgs.13-14 Meaning in the visual arts
“ For it is obvious that historians of philosophy or sculpture are concerned with books and statues not in so far as these books and sculptures exist materially, but in so far as they have a meaning. And it is equally obvious that this meaning can only be apprehended by re-producing, and thereby, quite literally, “realizing,” the thoughts that are expressed in the books and the artistic conceptions that manifest themselves in the statues. Thus the art historian subjects his “material” to a rational archaeological analysis at times as meticulously exact, comprehensive and involved as any physical or astronomical research. But he constitutes his “ material” by means of an intuitive aesthetic re-creation, including the perception and appraisal of “ quality,” just as any “ordinary” person does when he or she looks at a picture or listens to a symphony…Intuitive aesthetic recreation and archaeological research are interconnected so as to form, again, what we have called “organic situation”…Anyone confronted with a work of art, whether aesthetically re-creating or rationally investigating it, is affected by its three constituents: materialized from, idea ( that is, in the plastic arts, subject matter) and content…it is the unity of those three elements which is realized in the aesthetic experience, and all of them enter into what is called aesthetic enjoyment of art.”
Pg. 16 Meaning in the visual arts
“The re-creative experience of a work of art depends, therefore, not only on the natural sensitivity and the visual training of the spectator, but also on his cultural equipment. There is no such thing as an entirely “naïve” beholder.”
Pg.16 Meaning in the visual arts.

This quote may prove helpful in finding a way to blend in my humanities emphasis into the research

“A subtle difference exists in Latin between scientia and erudition, and in English between knowledge and learning. Scientia and knowledge, denoting a mental possession rather than a mental process, can be identified with the natural sciences, erudition and learning, denoting a process rather than a possession, with the humanities. The ideal aim of science would seem to be something like mastery, that of the humanities something like wisdom”

Pgf.25 Meaning in the visual arts.
“ Iconography is that branch of the history of art which concerns itself with the subject matter or meaning of works of art, as opposed to their form.”
Pg.26 Meaning in the visual arts
“ factual meaning; it is apprehended by simply identifying certain visible forms with certain objects known to me from practical experience, and by identifying the chang in their relations with certain actions or events”
Pg.26 Meaning in the visual arts

Thoughts about the next quote :
Art has meaning that each works attempts to convey to the viewer but it is up to us to decide or consider what the meaning is and it will be different, unique to each person who engages in deriving or interpreting this meaning found in our explainations of the experience we have in viewing art and it is all wrapped up in our human experience, whether or not we wish to find this meaning is irrelevant--it exists for the trained or untrained eye. Art is all around us what then do we make of it, and how carefully do we look or stop to consider the art?

“Both the factual and the expressional meaning may be classified together: they constitute the class of primary or natural meanings. When I interpret the lifting of a hat as a polite greeting, I recognize in it a meaning which may be called secondary or conventional, it differs from the primary or natural one in that it is intelligible instead of being sensible, and in that it has been consciously imparted to the practical action by which it is conveyed.”
Pg.27Meaning in the visual arts

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Checking in

Hi Misty,
Thanks for the invitation. At the moment I am simply checking that I'm using this correctly. I can see from the pictures that you have found additional examples of the Fleur-de-lis image. Can I assume that you are making progress? Although I am not a natural "Blogger", I will try to participate and contribute as useful insights emerge in my aging brain. Let me know how things are going with the Capstone project.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Investigating theories of art

More sightings! Another bottle which could be used to denote the French origins of the wine and could possibly be tied into the association the fleur-de-lis has with Mardi Gras. The other sighting was from an avon brochure I came across in the break room at work. Perhaps this sighting could be compared with Riguads famous portrait of Louis XIV wearing his regal robe?
Lately I have been reading and skimming several books in the hopes of finding a way to derive meaning in the research completed thus far. I have typed up some quotes I found useful in Jacques Ranciere The Future of the Image. This book talks about images and art in ways I have not yet explored. Although I did not understand all the contexts or artworks referred to it helped me think of how to organize my own writings.

“There is the simple relationship that produces the likeness of an original: not necessarily its faithful copy, but simply what suffices to stand in for it. And there is the interplay of operations that produces what we call art: or precisely an alteration of resemblance. This alteration can take a myriad of forms. It might be the visibility given to brush-strokes that are superfluous when it comes to revealing who is represented by the portrait; an elongation of bodies expresses their motion at the expense of their proportions; a turn of language that accentuates the expression of a feeling or renders the perception of an idea more complex; a word or a shot in place of the ones that seemed bound to follow; and so on and so forth. This is the sense in which art is made up of images, regardless of whether it is figurative of whether we recognize the form of identifiable characters and spectacles in it. The images of art are operations that produce a discrepancy, a dissemblance. Words describe what the eye might see or express what it will never see; they deliberately clarify or obscure an idea. Visible forms yield a meaning to be construed or subtract it. A camera movement anticipates one spectacle and discloses a different one. A pianist attacks a musical phrase ‘behind’ a dark screen. All these relations define images. This means two things. In the first place, the images of art are, as such, dissemblances. Secondly, the image is not exclusive to the visible. There is visibility that does not amount to an image; there are images which consist wholly in words. But the commonest regime of the image is one that presents a relationship between the sayable and the visible, a relationship which plays on both the analogy and the dissemblance between them. This relationship by no means requires the two terms to be materially present. The visible that can be arranged in meaningful tropes; words deploy a visibility that can be blinding. It might seem superfluous to recall such simple things. But if it is necessary to do so, it is because the identifarian alterity of resemblance has always interfered with the operation of the relations constitutive of artistic images. To resemble was long taken to be the peculiarity of art, while an infinite number of spectacles and forms of imitation were proscribed from it. In our day, not to resemble is taken for the imperative of art, while photographs, videos and displays of objects similar to everyday ones have taken the place of abstract canvases in galleries and museums. But this formal imperative of no-resemblance is itself caught up in a singular dialectic. For there is growing disquiet; does not resembling involve renouncing the visible? Or does it involve subjecting its concrete richness to operations and artifices whose matrix resides in language? A conter-move then emerges: what is contrasted with resemblance is not the operativeness of art, but material presence, the spirit made flesh, the absolutely other which is also absolutely the same.” Pgs. 6-8 The Future of the Image- Jacques Ranciere

“Hyper –resemblance, the resemblance that does not provide the replica of a reality but attests directly to the elsewhere whence it derives.”Pg. 8 The Future of the Image

“ Puntum, the immediate pathetic effect that he contrasts with the stadium, or the information transmitted by the photograph and the meanings it receives. The stadium makes the photograph a material to be decoded and explained. The punctum immediately strikes us with the affective power of the that was: that- i.e. the entity which was unquestionably in front of the aperture of the camera obscura,…” pg. 10 The Future of the Image

“But the Semiologist who read the encoded messages of images and the theoretician of the punctum of the wordless image base themselves on the same principle: a principle of reversible equivalence between the silence of images and what they say. The former demonstrated that the image was in fact a vehicle for a silent discourse which he endeavored to translate into sentences. The latter tells us that the image speaks to us precisely when it is silent, when it no longer transmits any message to us. Both conceive the image as speech which holds its tongue. The former made its silence speak; the latter makes this silence the abolition of all chatter. But both play on the same inter-convertibility between two potentialities of the image. The image as raw, material presence and the image as discourse encoding a history.” Pg. 10-11 The Future of the Image

“… regime of ‘ imageness’, a particular regime of articulation between the visible and the sayable...” pg. 11 The Future of the Image

“ … by way of narration and description words make something visible, yet not present, seen…words make seen what does not pertain to the visible, by reinforcing, attenuating or dissimulating the expression of an idea, by making the strength or control of an emotion felt. This dual function of the image assumes an order of stable relations between the visible and invisible-for example, between an emotion and the linguistic tropes that express it, but also the expressive traits whereby the hand of the artist translates the emotion and transposes the tropes.”pg. 12 The Future of the Image

“…image as a cipher of a history written in visible forms and as obtuse reality, impeding meaning and history...” pg. 11-12 The Future of the Image

“…the image is no longer the codified expression of a thought or feeling. Nor is it a double or a translation. It is a way in which things themselves speak and are silent. In a sense, it comes to lodge at the heart of things as their silent speech.” Pg. 13 The Future of the Image

“Silent speech is to be taken in two senses. In the first, the image is the meaning of things inscribed directly on their bodies, their visible language to be decoded.” Pg.13 The Future of the Image

“Silent speech, then, is the eloquence of the very thing that is silent, the capacity to exhibit signs written on a body, the marks directly imprinted by its history, which are more truthful than any discourse proffered by a mouth. But in a second sense the silent speech of things is, on the contrary, their obstinate silence.” Pg. 13 The Future of the Image

3 major categories of images

1-naked image “ The image that does not constitute art, because what it shows us excludes the prestige of dissemblance and the rhetoric of exegeses.”pg. 22 The Future of the Image

2- Ostensive image “ This image likewise asserts its power as that of sheer presence without signification. But it claims it in the name of art. IT posits this presence as the peculiarity of art faced with the media circulation of imagery, but also with the powers of meaning that alter this presence: the discourses that present and comment on it, the institutions that display it, the forms of knowledge that historize it”

3-metamorphic image “It aims to play with the forms and products of imagery, rather than carry out their demystification.”Pg. 24 The Future of the Image

“The interruptions, derivations and reorganizations that alter the circulation of images less pretentiously have no sanctuary. They occur anywhere and at anytime.” Pg. 28 The Future of the Image

“ Naked image, ostensive image, metaphorical image: three forms of ‘imageness’, three ways of coupling or uncoupling the power of signifying, the attestation of presence and the testimony of history; three ways, too, of sealing or refusing the relationship between art and image. Yet it is remarkable that none of these three forms thus defined can function within the confines of its own logic. Each of them encounters a point of undecidability in its functioning that compels it to borrow something from others.” Pg.26 The Future of the Image

Naked image-“ intent soley on witnessing. For witnessing always aims beyond what it presents.” The Future of the Image

“ The idea of the specificity of pictorial technique is consistent only at the price of its assimilation to something quite different: the idea of autonomy of art, of the exception of art from technical rationality.” Pg. 72 The Future of the Image

“There is no art without eyes that see it as art.” Pg. 72 The Future of the Image

“Contrary to the healthy doctrine which would have it that a concept of art is the generalization of the properties common to a set of practices or objects, it is strictly impossible to present a concept of art which defines the properties common to painting, music, dance, cinema, or sculpture, The concept of art is not the presentation of a property shared by a set of is the concept of disjunction- and of a historically determinate unstable disjunction-between the arts, understood in the sense of practices, ways of making.. Mimesis is not an external constraint that wighed on the arts and imprisoned them in resemblance. It is the flod in the order of ways of making and social occupations that rendered them visible and thinkable, the disjunction that made them exist as such…Mimesis is not resemblance understood as the relationship between a copy and a model. It is a way of making resemblances function within a set of relations between ways of making, modes of speech, forms of visibility, and protocols of intelligibility.” Pgs. 72-73 The Future of the Image

“There is such a thing as art in general by virtue of a regime of identification of disjunction-that gives visibility an signification to practices of arranging words, displaying colours, modeling the volume or evolution of bodies; which decides, for example, what a painting is, and what one sees on a painted wall or canvas. But such a decision always involves the establishment of a regime of equivalence between practice and what it is not.” Pg. 74 The Future of the Image

“ If perspective was linear and theatrical before becoming aerial and sculptural, it is because painting first of all had to demonstrate its capacity for poetry-its ability to tell stories, to represent speaking, acting bodies. The bond between painting and the third dimension is a bond between painting and poetic power of words and fables.” Pg. 75 The Future of the Image

“ To see something as art , be it a Depostion from the Cross or a White Square on white background , means seeing two things at once. Seeing two things at once is not a matter of trompe-l’oeil or special effects. It is a question of the relations between the surface of exhibition of forms and the surface of inscription of words.” Pg. 79 The Future of the Image

“ But this new bond between signs and forms that is called criticism, and which is born at the same time as the proclamation of the autonomy of art, does not work in the simple form of retrospective discourse adding meaning to the nakedness of forms. It works in the first instance towards the construction of a new visibility. A new form of painting is one that offers itself to eyes trained to see differently, trained to see the pictorial appear on the representative surface, under representation.” Pg. 79 The Future of the Image

“ …forms do not proceed without the words that install them in visibility.” Pg.88 The Future of the Image

“…the surface of graphic design is three things: firstly, the equal footing on which everything lends itself to art; secondly, the surface of conversion where words, forms and things exchange roles; and thirdly, the surface of equivalence where the symbolic writing of forms equally lend itself to expressions of pure art and the schematization of instrumental art. This ambivalence does not mark some capture of the artistic by the political. ‘Abbreviated forms’ are, in their very principle, an aesthetic and political division of a shared world: they outline the shape of a world without hierarchy where functions slide into one another. The finest illustration of this might be the posters designed by Rodchenko for the aircraft company Dobrolet.” Pg. 106-107 The Future of the Image

“ If I should speak here of design, it is not as an art historian or a philosopher of technique. I am neither. What interests me is the way in which, by drawing lines, arranging words of distributing surfaces, one also designs divisions of communal space. It is the way in which, by assembling words or forms, people define not merely various forms of art, but certain configurations of what can be seen and what can be thought, certain forms of inhabiting the material world. These configurations, which are at once symbolic and material, cross boundaries between arts, genres and epochs. They cut across the categories of an autonomous history of technique, art or politics. This is the standpoint from which I shall broach the question: how do the practice and idea of design, as they develop at the beginning the…” pg.91 The Future of the Image

“ Representation is an ordered deployment of meanings, an adjusted relationship between what is understood or anticipated and what comes as a surprise, according to the paradoxical logic analyzed by Aristotle’s Poetics.” Pg. 114 The Future of the Image

Friday, April 22, 2011

Down to the wire

This is another revision of the thesis in which I hope I have been clear conscise and had a chance to iron out all the wrinkles that needed clarifying.

Intrigued by the resurgence and the repetition of the fleur de lis image, I
began to satisfy my curiosity by researching more about its origins. I wanted to
find out how it started and what it really meant; but now I am lost in a maze of
fleur-de-lis, and I am not attempting to discover its origins but rather how it
is used. Through vigorous research and recordings made possible through a
sighting journal I will address the question, what is it about this successful
image that lends itself so readily to various contexts and is there a single
connection between these images? A study of the history of this image will
enable an analysis to be drawn of the various meanings given to and the
retention of the fleur de lis image.
Examining the contexts in which the Fleur de Lis image is seen will demonstrate the role that culture plays in how meaning is derived in each Fleur de Lis image. What may have begun as an image denoting positions of prestige has been integrated into everyday use among the not so ordinary common people. Using a sightings journal, a recording of the instances in which fleur de lis appear, to fuel and satisfy my curiosity with the image of the fleur de lis as each sighting leads me into different paths of
research. In addition to driving my research, these images will provide a variety of contexts in which to probe and analyze for a more in-depth study of the Fleur de Lis. As well as satisfying my curiosity for this image, this research will consequently permit a more thorough understanding of how graphic arts and humanities play a significant role and work in tandem with each other as mutual collaborators. Graphic design creates and delves into images and what they come to represent in a practical way. Humanities in this application are how images are able to be used and the meaning that we associate with each image.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thoughts and Impressions

  1. This week I have tried to revise my thesis and have approached possible advisors. One has accepted the task of working with me on this topic and the other I will contact again on monday. I came across a picture which reinforced the idea that everyone would like to be seen as important ( the same essence of importance which Hyacinth Rigaud captured in his portrait of King Louix XIV). The picture was part of the news and announcements page in the UVU Library website. It announced a battle of the bands and had a caption does queen still rock you, alonside a picture of queen on stage in a red robe and wearing a crown.Could this be one of the reasons why we like images of the fluer de lis because in some form or other the fleur de lis has been visible on clothing however refined or urbanized?
Follow up responses to unanswered questions

  1. I have also given some thought to the following questions:Do you think the image retains some of its royal feel of pomp-& regalia even in its mass market variations? Do you think it would be marketed without that cultural context? ( That is, do you have any reason to believe that the symbol has an inherent attraction that transcends specific context, or not?). In response I think that the fleur de lis does retain some of its royal feel of pomp-& regalia in its mass market variations and this is why there are so many variations because even though the public realizes that other people will be wearing the same shirt, jacket, hat, or pair of jeans that they purchase they still might feel that there is enough similarities and differences between the image that perhaps makes them feel like an individual. However, I think that there is some weight to the specific cultural contexts even if we are not aware of what they may be. If the consumers of these products do not know the history behind this image there is still something communicated that speaks of simplicity and refinement or something along these lines. I feel certain that the designers of the products do know some information about the image and that it sells and that is why we may continue to see patterns in the contexts in which we see the image. In a paper weight I saw the other day the words Elegance, chic, style, design and they were in a cursive script that looked old and that seems significant. I viewed this object as combining the old with new. An old symbol, the fleur de lis image, with a new connotation that redifines what the image was with the meaning we have given to it today. Rather than make an argument I would like go the route of an analysis approach and state what I have learned in studying the fleur de lis image , below is an updated attempt at a thesis provided for further scrutiny.
Thesis - a work in progress

  1. Initially, I thought that the Fleur-de-lis was a print maker’s trademark and at the time I was taking some courses on printmaking and felt part of that heritage. One afternoon while shopping I came across an elegant and refined hair stick. Thinking how strange it should be that a print maker’s trademark should be duplicated as a hair pin-- not at all what it was intended to represent -- I purchased the item. Later I took an art history class which covered the Renaissance up until the present day. In class we came across a portrait painting of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud. Depicted on the king’s cloak was an abundance of fleur-de-lis. Because of my previous exposure to the image, I began to see it everywhere. It sprang up in the Boy Scout’s emblem and in clothing worn today. Intrigued by this image’s resurgence and the repetition of the image itself, I began to satisfy my curiosity by researching more about its origins. I wanted to find out how it started and what it really meant; but now I am lost in a maze of fleur-de-lis, and I am not attempting to discover its origins but rather how it is used. Through vigorous research and recordings made possible through a sighting journal I will address the question, what is it about this successful image that lends itself so readily to various contexts and is there a single connection between these images? Examining the contexts in which the Fleur de Lis image is seen will demonstrate the role that culture plays in how meaning is derived in each Fleur de Lis image. What may have begun as an image denoting positions of prestige has been integrated into everyday use among the not so ordinary common people. Through the use of a sightings journal, a recording of the instances in which fleur de lis appear, I will be able to let images of the Fleur de Lis fuel, and satisfy my curiosity as they lead me into different paths of research. In addition to driving my research, these images will provide a variety of contexts in which to probe and analyze for a more in-depth study of the Fleur de Lis. As well as satisfying my curiosity for this image, this research will consequently permit a more thorough understanding of how graphic arts and humanities play a significant role and work in tandem with each other as a mutual collaboration. Graphic design creates and delves into images and what they come to represent in a practical way. Humanities in this application are how images are able to be used and the meaning that we associate with each image.

Friday, April 8, 2011

An enexpected, but most welcome source

This past week while at work a co-worker told me about a reference to the fleur de lis in a book they were reading. I was so excited to get a new source so enexpectedly and without looking for one. Even better than gaining a new source is that it all might tie into the previous sources. The book is called Antonio Stradivari His Life & Work ( 1644-1737) by W. Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill & Alfred E. Hill. I have only glimpsed through parts of it but from what I have been told violins were decorated with the fleur de lis image.

"When we arrive at the epoch of the Amatis-i.e. during the seventeenth century-it had ceased, we may say amost enirely, although it survived in the ornamentation of the fittings, such as the finger-boards, tail-pieces, pegs, and bridges. We have seen two violins, the work of Nicolo Amati, which were gracefully embellished with inlaid ornament: in one of them the ornamentation consisted of double purfling, and a fleur-de-lys inlaid in black at the corners of the back and belly, interspersed with small precious stones, while a design of similar character was let into the sides at the blocks."

later in a footnote

"The gigliato was so named because it bore the device of the Florentine giglio, or iris (fleur-de-lys), the emblem of the Republic, as it is to-day of the Commune of Florence."

The time frame of Stradivari's life makes him contemporary with Louis XIV and Louis was responsible for initiating several academies perhaps his music academy each bore an image of the city it represented and the founder of the academy (another avenue to look into). I have not done much in the way of researching this week because I have tried to fine tune (no pun intended) my proposal, so that I can be ready to approach possible advisors.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A flood of images

The connections between all the images of the fleur de lis comes into focus with each sighting. I begin to notice patterns in the context each sighting is found and the purpose for each image. The book cover for Savage Wilderness reinforces what I have read about in The fleurs de lis of the kings of France, 1285-1488 by William M. Hinckle. What was most helpful to see while reading this book was the connection between why both France and Englan used the fleur de lis on their coat of arms. At one point France and England were governed under a dual monarchy. The bread wrapper is another way that the image has shifted from an image of regalia to an image used in the food industry like the De Loach wine.The same idea is strenghtened by the use of the fleur de lis in architecture from Buckingham palace to a lamp finial which can be purchased by anyone today at Lowes. The image becomes one of decor rather than an image of regalia and the public at large appears to be more interested in the style rather than in denoting status. From clothing such as a robe being an object of regalia now the fleur de lis has taken on a more urban look which can be added onto any article of clothing through an iron on patch.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Symbolism- The Lily

While googling I came across a book which helped me understand part of the symbolism in the fleur-de-lis image. There are several ways of interpreting meaning behind the lily image and this book covered several from color to its use as a heraldic emblem. The book validated what I have learned in my earlier research, chiefly that there is more than one nation which uses lilies in their emblem or arms. Here are some excerpts
The White Lily
" A fair imperial flower;
She seems designed for Flora's hands,
The sceptre of her power."

"Pliny ranks the Lily next in nobility to the Rose: Lilium nobilitate est, and , indeed, these two flowers are in the reality of floral nature universally regarded as respective queens."

" With the Jews the lily would seem to have been a favourite and sacred flower.Susis, of Persian and Scriptural fame, takes its name from the lily- shushan- and in Biblical descriptions of ecclesiastical architectural decoration, frequent reference is made to this flower."

" ...hence a common name for the lilium candidum, "Madonna Lily" or " our Lady's Lily," abbreviated by time to simply "Lady Lily"

" " An Early Church Calendar of English Flowers" we read:
'From Visitation to St. Swithen's showers,
The lilie white reigns queen of flowers.' "
"...the angel Gabriel, announcing the wondrous tidings to the trembling Mary, carries in his
hand a branch of the lilium candidum, hence a common name for the flower, " Annunciation Lily."

" St. Cecilia is said to have received a miraculous crown of lilies and roses, and to the saints more especially distinguished for innoncence and devotion a white lily is assigned."

" In former times it was popularly believed that upon the grave of one unjustly accused a white lily has long been associated."

" As a heraldic emblem the lily, " plant and flower of light," has played an important part. The sceptres of the Carlovingian kings were surmounted by a lily, and although this flower and the iris are in heraldry two distinct bearings, and the latter is now generally considered to be the flower represented in the arms of the Bourbons, the white lily is, nevertheless, regarded by many as the veritable fleur-de-lis, or true lily of France. (CF. Fleur-de-lis.)"

" As early as the year 1048 the Order of the Knights of St. Mary of the Lily was instituted by Garcius, fourth king of Navarre, and in 1403 Ferdinand of Aragon also created an Order of the Lily, the collar of which was formed of lilies and griphons."
" Upon the arms of the city of Winchester, as also upon those of the college, three lilies argent figure. Dundee, too, carries lilies argent on its arms, and the emblem of lovely Florence is the giglio bianco, or " white lily." For this fair imperial flower, " clad but in the lawn of almost naked light," which, bending from its high stem, seems to demand and to obtain the homage of nature, the French know a peculiar reverence, regarding it not only as typical of beauty, of love, and of chaste delight, but, in its character of fleur-de-lis, of majesty, of abundance, of high aims, of stainless honour, and of divinity. With ourselves, too, " the Lady Lily looking gently down" has long held undisputed sway, and is commonly regarded as the emblem of purity, of moral excellence, and of innocence"
"Innocence, child beloved, a gift from the land of the
Beautiful, and in her hand a lily."

Flower Favorites Their Legends, Symbolism and Significance by Lizzie Deas

Friday, March 25, 2011

Piecing the puzzle

Trying to make sense of all the ideas about the fleur de lis that are running wild in my head. With the sources and sightings I am attempting to take a closer look at the meaning behind the fleur de lis image and move towards applying them into possible arguments, here is what I have come up with-
Is there a connection between the uses of the fleur de lis image?
What may have begun as an image denoting positions of prestige has been integrated into everyday use among the not so ordinary common people.

The widespread uses of the fleur de lis
A) Kings of France/England
B) America
Louisiana-Mardi Gras
George Washington's Inaugural Ball Silk Sash

Common place use of Kingly/Queenly imagery-
Idea of every man/women being a queen

Heraldry- how images represent many people

Coinage- people’s recognition of the fleur de lis as representing France but the image was used by people in a practical way just as well as the image is used today in various contexts.

-Burger King “There’s a new king in town”
- Epics to picture books (Fancy Nancy/Mary Engelbreit “it’s good to be queen”)

-Clothing from robes to: t-shirts, pants, sweaters, accessories worn by several

-Academic – sighting writing tools –you do not have to be royal to think or write

-De Loach- wine of world-class wine with the fleur de lis image on each bottle widespread availability-connection to the consumption of wine with nobility-
-Andy Warhol
“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”
From his 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, observations on the American perception of Coke.


Lily- An image chosen from a flower- accessible to all becomes regal through its stylization and association 3 petals, association with divinity and divine right to rule

Scout Emblem/folklore- Compass-guide (in reference to leadership/kings) Knowledge, light, truth, eagle

Friday, March 18, 2011

More Sources

So basicaly these are highlights from two different sources; Crown, cross, and 'fleur-de-lis': an essay on Pierre Le Moyne's baroque epic 'Saint Louis', and Heraldry and Genealogy. The book Crown, cross. is about an epic poem called Saint Louis which along with other poems really brought images of the fleur de lis about. The Heraldry and Genealogy article helps solve the puzzle of why it is that the image is not exclusive or does not represent only one thing. I have found the fire hydrant and it is a bit overwhelming all I know is that I want to somehow comment on the several uses of the fleur de lis and how the image has come to mean so many things and has such a vast history that we may never entirely know.

“…the tools of modern criticism-Freudian, Jungian, phenomenological, and
structuralist-are eminently appropriate for such purposes. We the children of
surrealism perhaps represent the ideal public for a Pierre Le Moyne, capable of
appreciating his strengths and of forgiving his failings.”
“It is certain that the writers of epic gave expression to a nostalgia for power and glory, for honor, heroic living, and knightly doings, but also that the nobility tried to
live up to such models of heroism in their own lives. In this period, as in the
twelfth century, heroic literature reflects and helps create wish-fulfillment on
the part of a threatened aristocratic class.”
“by 1641 Le Moyne conceived a project for a heroic poem on the subject of King Louis IX Egyptian Crusade. And from 1650 on he dwelt in the professed House of the Jesuit order, rue Saint-Antoine, on the Ile-Saint-Louis. The newly constructed house and church were dedicated to Saint Louis. Over the façade was placed a statue of Louis IX beneath the arms of France; inside were painting by Simon Vouet, one celebrating Saint Louis’ apotheosis, another depicting King Louis XIII as he offers the plans of the church to his ancestor in heaven. It was in this atmosphere that Father Le Moyne worked away on his nationalistic, dynastic, and religious poem.”

“The rules of epic in the seventeenth century and the particular mode of ceremonial heroic romance in which Tasso and Le Moyne chose to write required a happy ending. And Le Moyne himself, a man who in other contexts esteemed
himself to be a historian, proclaims in the dissertation the poet’s freedom with
regard to history. Le Moyne merely exercised that freedom given to all artists;
it is his privilege to write a heroic romance instead of a chronicle, to transform history into art.”

“Among the strongest impressions the reader receives from Saint Louis is one of splendor and magnificence.” “According to Maskell, seventeenth-century long poems can be divided into three categories: the annalistic epic, the heroic epic, and the romance.”
“Finally, when Le Moyne alters the facts of history, he does so out of patriotism and Christian faith.”
“ Finally, Le Moyne speaks of the laurel as an image of heroism, of the palm branch as an image of martyrdom, and , above all, of the French fleur-de-lis. He declares that King Louis’ victory will result in a grafting of the crown of thorns onto the crown of lilies, the fleur-de-lis. Ensuring that Louis’ descendants will sprout on the royal tree and that future kings and kingdoms shall put their names beneath the names of Louis’ and Bourbon’s descendants (books 1 and 8). And he praises Julie de Montausier, daughter of his patrons, the Marquis and Marquise of Rambouillet, who will bloom on the family tree and, crowned by myrtle, be allied with the fleur-de-lis. Christ and the French royal house are assimilated, for the lily, the emblem chosen by Clovis for his purification through baptism, stands for the Virgin Mary and the
annunciation of Christ’s coming as well as for the Capetian-Bourbon dynasty."

“physical light and the act of seeing are images of spiritual or moral insight…God and his angels are forces of light, while satan and his minions hide in darkness. The shadow of spiritual death, hell, sorcery, and vices contrast to the light that emanates from Christ, the Tree of Jesse, and the fleur-de-lis. For Le Moyne, the earth is often shrouded in night, but heaven is base in pure light, for fire and light are images of divine power, wisdom, and love. They destroy or transform, act as eternal wrath no less than as eternal grace, and they overcome the false light of human worldliness. In the second “Amour divin” the poet invokes the Holy Spirit, who as fire spoke to Moses in the Burning Bush. Love is conceived as God’s own vial principle, created from the flames of the Father and Son. It is the embodiment of divine creation and generation, and of his grace offered to sinners. The stars represent angels hovering around the divine sun, flying mirrors reflecting God, and human souls too, for Christ on the cross iss a torch whose sparks light up the world… The only riches that
Louis seeks in Egypt are a handful of miserable thorns. If he had sought more,
he would have been defeated a hundred times, but since he seeks thorns, he will
win the treasures of the Orient and, because of this pitiful, ironic crown, the
crown of France will remain in his family forever.”
“Louis undergoes symbolic death more than once, and, therefore, he lives. He imitates Christ, chooses his master’s crown, and thus becomes worthy of being Christ’s deputy in the world.”

Crown, cross, and ‘fleur-de-lis’: an essay on Pierre Le Moyne’s baroque epic ‘Saint Louis’By Calin, William
“Prior to the establishment of the English College of Arms on a royal
foundation, in the reign of Richard III, it was the practice of the great feudal
nobles (each of whom generally had his own herald, as Somerset, Warwich,
Clarence, Oxford, &C.), as a reward for service in the field or council, to
bestow on his chief vassals some portion of his own coat of arms, varied, more
or less, according to the rank of the individual or the nature of the service
preformed. These grants were recorded by the herald and his pursuivant or
scribe. Others received the armorial device in commemoration of some marked
event of their lives. Besides these arms proper, which were peculiar to
individuals, there were badges and devices attached to great houses, all the
members of which bore them… of the nature of badges are the different heathers of the Scottish clans, and the flowers adopted as such by various nations, as the lily of France, the rose, thistle, and shamrock of England, Scotland, and Ireland…Indeed, heraldry within its own demesne, makes but a poor appearance compared with its gorgeous blazon on the stained glass of the houses of parliament at Westminster, or on the panels of sumptuous equipages in Hyde Park. Yet, from the obscure recesses of the dusty court at Doctor’s Commons, emanate those marks of honor and of antiquity which are so much coveted by all classes, there, too, lies the secret, in some forgotten pedigree, which might cause the rich man and his poor neglected kinsman to change places... the national arms of the United states are remarkable as seeming to embody to some extent the paternal arms of the great man whose name is so prominent in their annals, and the stars and stripes is perhaps unique as being the only national coat of arms in the New World which is derived from the age of chivalry.”
Heraldry and Genealogy by J. Shelton Mackenzie

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wide Open

A perspective proposal below and the search for more sources, always ongoing- A wealth of information to choose from, direction seems to be the real question. Where should the research turn from here?
Hyacinthe Rigaud is the artist who painted the famouse portrait of Louis XIV and was responsible for creating portraits that captured the essence of importance. Which really helped to represent or embody this idea of absolutism a God given right to rule. This article helps to give shape and offer a connection between having objects of regalia- in this case the kings robe to verify that even if we do not see images of the fleur-de-lis as often they had some sort of impact on either those who design clothing bearing the image of the fleur-de-lis or those who unconsciously wear this type of clothing without knowing the history or reason why but who seem to choose these images because of their regalness.
Osborne, Harold and Marc Jordan . "Rigaud, Hyacinthe." The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 5 Mar. 2011 .
This clip from Antiques Roadshow may help in the discovery between the images transition from French to American
George Washington's Inaugural Ball Silk Sash, ca. 1789
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $6,000 /Appraised on: June 12, 2010 /Appraised in: San Diego, California /Appraised by: Leigh Keno /Category: Folk Art /Episode Info: San Diego, Hour 2 #1505 /Originally Aired: January 31, 2011 /IMAGE: 1 of 1 Form: Sash /Material: Silk /Period / Style: 18th Century

Artist/ jack of all trades by the name of Juste-Aurele Meissonnier used the Fleur-de-lis as his trademark. This article shows another usage of the Fleur-de-lis. It contributes to the overall ambiguity of the image which perhaps after I research more will be able to string some thread and see any similarities in the overall usage of the Fleur-de-lis.
Elaine Evans Dee. "Meissonnier, Juste-Aurèle." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 3 Mar. 2011 .

[French, ‘lily flower’] a heraldic flower with three petals forming a stylized lily. It was a central emblem in the French royal arms from as early as the 12th century and was used in ornament from the Gothic period onwards. It was also the emblem of the powerful Italian Farnese family and of the city of Florence.
"fleur-de-lis." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 3 Mar. 2011
John A. Goodall. "Regalia." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 25 Feb. 2011

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, the final day of feasting and festing before Ash Wednesday, when many Christians begin their fasting for Lent. Mardi Gras is observed around the world; the American celebration dates back to 1699.

From Taste of homes magazine Feb/Mar 2010
The article talks about what regalia is and how it is depicted and the image of prestige it creates for the person it attempts to define. I have found out what constitues as an object of regalia cheifly a sword, crown, sceptre, rod, orb, robes, rings, arm bands. Crowns were worn by so many people- kings of arms, crown princes, archdukes, dukes of grand dukes, and popes. Crowns were not used very often or for everyday wear but for more ceremonial purposes such as moment of crowning. The reason that we know about Louis XIV using the fleur de lis as an object of regalia at all is because an artist (Hyacinthe Rigaud) preserved an object of regalia (kings robe) in a portrait painting of the king. Here are some highlights from the rest of the article
John A. Goodall. "Regalia." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 1 Mar. 2011

THE fleur-de-lis is such a hopeless puzzle that grave authorities regard it as the corrupted figure of a frog, others recognize a phallic emblem, others a bee with wings spread ; this last view com mended itself strongly to Napoleon. There are serious arguments and illustrations in favor of each origin; the one fact tolerably cer tain is
that Frankish kings bore a cognizance which has developed into the fleur-de-lis,
as soon as history gets a clear view of them. Almost certainly, however, that cognizance was not a flower of any sort in the beginning. The history of the double-headed eagle in Europe is known well enough. The German Emperor Conrad
saw it at Con stantinople when crusading in II47. Learning that the device represented sovereignty over East and West, he thought it adapted to his own
case, and annexed it. The counts of Flanders were equally struck in the next
Crusade, and followed the same course. It was finally appropriated by the House
of Austria in I345; after ward Prussia and Russia yielded to the fascination of
its beauty. But when we quit these modern inanities and seek the double-headed
eagle in its native home, we are led into the very beginning of things. Tracing
the symbol upward, it is found as a common orna ment among the Mamelukes of
Egypt, evidently introduced by the Mesopotamian artists whom they favored. In
the Museum at South Kensington are several exquisite works of that period
showing the double-headed eagle. It has' been suggested that Saladin bore it.
His cognizance was certainly an eagle, but one may think that Christian
chroniclers would have mentioned it had the bird been double-headed. But the
device appears at an earlier date on the coinage of the Prince of Singar, in
Mesopotamia; also it was sculptured on the walls of the city of Amia in that
region. Passing an indefinite number of centuries, we find it on. the golden
orna ments of Mycenae. But the original is identified, so far, among the most
mysterious of peoples, the Hittites. With them it was a very holy and powerful
symbol evidently, though the significance is not yet ascertained. On the
enormous monoliths of granite before the palace at Eyuk double-headed eagles are
carved, holding an animal. So in that wondrous cave-temple of Borghas-Keui,
where the gods are sculptured in procession, two of them ride upright on the
mystic bird. It is carved above the gates of cities and on their massive walls.
We shall know more, doubtless, in good time.-Pall Mall Gazette.

Fleur-de-Lis and Double-Headed Eagle
Pall Mall Gazette
The Collector and Art CriticVol. 1, No. 2 (May 1, 1899), p. 31
Article Stable URL:

From this source I think a connection can be made between the French translation of the Fleur –de-lis flower of light and Jesus Christ being the light of the world. There appears to be symbolism beyond the image. A line from A Carol of the Fleur-de-lis

Mary hath borne the Fleur-de-lys on Christmas night, when it was cold, our Lady
lay among beastes bold, And there she bore Jesu, Joseph told, And there she bare
Jesu, And there-of came the Fleur-de-lys.
Perhaps this is why the image is carried across cultures and time and given such importance.

A Carol of the Fleur-de-LysAuthor(s): Hubert Du PlessisSource: The Musical Times, Vol. 94, No. 1327 (Sep., 1953), pp. 1-8Published by: Musical Times Publications Ltd.Stable URL: .Accessed: 10/03/2011

The power of the visual image is astounding and the impact an image has on humanity is even more so. How can one image be so successful that it in time comes to represent so many things? Fleur –de- lis is an image with many faces, how it has changed over time is most intriguing. The fleur-de-lis is seen in art, fashion, history, and has been a major part of culture. A symbol of many meanings to all who come across the fleur de lys. The questions I would like to address; what makes the image of the fleur -de-lis so successful? How does it lend itself to so many sources without weakening its strength or impact?Why do we never tire of seeing this image or fail to notice its existence? Does the appearance of the fluer de lis today have any possible connections with how the image was represented in times past?
Sightings to date:
notebook, book cover, Mardi Gras, De Loach, George Washington's Inaugural Ball Silk Sash