October 28, 2013


Perhaps the greatest pirate picture NOT painted by Howard Pyle or N.C. Wyeth is The Buccaneers by Frederick J. Waugh (1861-1940).  Heir to Winslow Homer's title as dean of American marine artists, Waugh's depictions of surging coastal seas are renowned for their brilliant design, lyrical beauty and majesty.  But rare are his figurative works, let alone grand action pictures like the hand-to-hand melĂ©e seen here.

The power of the painting (and it's obvious influence upon every filmmaker who ever staged a scene of pirates boarding an enemy ship) speaks for itself!


October 4, 2013

The Molly Maguire Memorial

A little known example of great contemporary public art stands in the tiny Molly Maguire Memorial Park at Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.  

The larger-than-lifesize bronze depicts a common man bound at the wrists and ankles, hooded for execution -- he is seconds away from death by hanging.  This haunting sculpture dedicated in 2010, is the work of American artist Zenos Frudakis.   

Between the years 1877 and 1879 twenty Irish American coal miners were sent to Pennsylvania's gallows for murders they allegedly commited as members of a trade-unionist terror cabal known as "The Molly Maguires".  

Modern scholarship however, has raised grave doubt that the legendary conspiracy ever existed (Execution of Molly Maguires Historical Marker).    

This work bears silent and somber witness to the memory of the region's anthracite coal miners who suffered terrible injustice in their struggle to win fair wages and decent working conditions.    

Zenos Frudakis website