Beware of the … bleagle

September 27, 2006

Marie McC posted a closeup of this strange creature last week on Alexandria Daily Photo. Since we both shot pictures of him at the same time, I’m sure she won’t mind if I post one too. Here he is on a column, guarding his owners’ house.

He’s a chimera—a mythical beast made up of parts of several animals. This one seems to have bat’s wings, a lion’s head and body, and eagle‘s talons. I guess that makes him a bleagle. I’m glad he’s on a sturdy leash.

The original Chimaera was a fire-breathing monster, part lion, part goat, and part serpent. Bellerophon killed it, mounted on the winged horse Pegasus, which he tamed for the purpose. There’s a famous statue: The Chimaera of Arezzo. Photographs of a replica of the statue can be found here.

Studious gentleman

September 26, 2006


This shot is for Elisabeth, who likes statues she can interact with. If Elisabeth finds that Kermit isn’t the greatest conversationalist, maybe she’d prefer to sit next to this colonial gentleman (whoever he is). But unless she’s friends with the owners of this private house in Alexandria, She’ll have to content herself with looking at him through the railings, as I did.

Red head and friend

September 12, 2006


These statues with blown glass heads were among the more flamboyant pieces of art on show at the Alexandria Art Fair on Sept. 9 and 10.

Art in Alexandria

September 10, 2006


For the past four years, the City of Alexandria in Virginia closes the length of the main street to traffic and turns it over to artists, photographers, potters, jewelers, printmakers, and other artists and craftspeople. This year, the juried art fair takes place all day September 9 and 10 and features more than 200 artists from around the country, whose work has been selected for display and sale. Marie McC of Alexandria Daily Photo and I went yesterday.

See some more pictures here.

Colossal Head 4

August 29, 2006

This is a replica of a 6-ton basalt portrait of a ruler from the Olmec culture of 1200 – 900 B.C.E. The original (one of 17 known) was excavated in 1946 by Smithsonian archaeologist Matthew Stirling and is on display in the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The Olmec created these sculptures without iron tools.

This replica, which stands outside the Museum of Natural History on Constitution Avenue, was carved from welded volcanic ash by Ignacio Pérez Solano and presented to the Smithsonian Institution by the state of Veracruz in 2001.

Another piece of history

August 25, 2006

Not nearly as old as triceratops horridus, but equally prehistoric to young people today—a typewriter eraser. Remember them? This one was sculpted in painted stainless steel and fiberglass in 1999 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, and it stands in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art.

There’s a dinosaur on the Mall

August 24, 2006

Triceratops horridus roamed northwestern North America 65-70 million years ago when the climate was warmer and wetter. This sculpture was cast, using 3-D modeling based on computer scans, from the original skull of a triceratops in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Dinosaur Hall. Fierce as he looks, he was a herbivore.