Posted: 18 Feb 2018 04:30 AM PST
The first article in this two-part series looked at paintings of earlier phases of the Industrial Revolution, up to 1880. These had started with awe-inspiring industrial landscapes, concentrated on activities and the environment inside factories and ironworks, then during the 1870s had come to focus on the men and women working there.
Thomas Pollock Anshutz’s The Ironworkers’ Noontime (1880) uses the ironworks as its background, and shows the iron workers during their short lunchtime break. They are taking turns to wash the grime of the morning off their arms and faces, and enjoying the moment out in the sunshine.
John Singer Sargent’s early painting of Venetian Glass Workers was made in 1880-82. These women appear to be preparing bundles of fine glass rods, which would presumably go on to further manufacturing processes.
During the 1880s, painting the portraits of workers became increasingly popular. Ernst Josephson’s Spanish Blacksmiths (1882) is a fine example of a Naturalist, or ‘social realist’, portrait in which its objectivity is enhanced by the white wall behind them. Josephson has painted every rip, tear and fray in the remains of the white shirt worn by the man in the middle, and his muscular forearms are almost hyper-real.
Charles Frederic Ulrich painted in fine Naturalist detail too. In The Glass Blowers (1883) the work is more delicate: blowing and preparing glass domes, perhaps for use as covers of watches and clocks.
Ulrich also painted a young apprentice drinking during a moment’s pause in his work in The Village Printing Shop, Haarlem (1884).
The employment of children, who might otherwise have been in school, was becoming controversial in many societies. With artists now drawing attention to the workers and their conditions, social messages developed in their art.
Joan Planella i Rodríguez’ The Little Weaver (1882-89) is a superb Naturalist painting with strong social content. This version is a replica of the artist’s original, which was completed in 1882. It shows a young girl working at a large and complex loom in Catalonia, as a man lurks in the background, keeping a watch over her.
This work was awarded a medal when it was exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and was purchased from there into a Saint Louis public collection. It didn’t return to Catalonia until 2012.
Christian Ludwig Bokelmann’s oil sketch of a Lead Mine in Selbeck (1888) has a more subtle social message for an ancient industry which had long recognised the toxicity of the lead which it worked with, but which continued to employ children.
Another Naturalist artist, Jean-Eugène Buland tackled more complex issues in his Un Patron, or The Apprentice’s Lesson (1888). After France’s ignominious defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, efforts were made to make France more industrial and more modern. Here a young boy is being trained by the foreman to make a cogwheel, when many would have preferred him still to be at school. Buland used photographs quite extensively in the preparatory work for this painting, to capture its wealth of detail.
I have not included paintings of the reconstruction of major cities such as Paris, but this by Édouard Joseph Dantan shows some of the more traditional skills still being used for a Glasshouse Under Construction (1890).
Painting men and women at work was by no means confined to Naturalists, with their attention to fine detail. Alessandro Milesi’s undated The Spinners is a much looser oil sketch which could qualify as being an Impression.
Beda Stjernschantz shows a more usual view of Glassblowers (1894) working on larger-scale products. This was painted from life in a glass factory at Impilahti in Finland, on the shore of Lake Ladoga. In 1944, this area was ceded to Russia.
Maximilien Luce painted many works showing people at work, as his style moved on from Neo-Impressionism to Post-Impressionism during the 1890s. His Charleroi Foundry, Casting (1896) shows this well, and is one of a long series he painted showing those working in heavy industry.
Luce’s The Pile Drivers (1902-3) shows the very active construction work which continued in Paris in the early twentieth century, with blocks of factories on the opposite bank, infiltrating the surrounding residential and commercial districts.
Döme Skuteczky’s painting In the Smithy from 1897 returns to smaller-scale and more traditional industry.
Not all metal working was heavy and large-scale. Jean-Eugène Buland uses strongly Naturalist style to depict The Tinker (1908), who repaired damaged pots, pans, and domestic metal objects in a cottage industry which predated the Industrial Revolution.
With the decline of Naturalism in the early twentieth century, the emphasis on workers weakened, and artists like Hans Baluschek returned to painting heavy plant and processes in his Steel Rolling Mill (1910).
Maximilien Luce’s Construction Site (1911) is another depiction of those at work in Paris at the time, and shows the high chroma influence of the Fauves.
Finally, Robert Sterl’s Ironworkers of 1919 is an oil sketch showing workers at one of the Krupp plants in Germany.
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 12:00 AM PST
I’m in the market for a new Mac. My wife, who is naturally the Editor-in-Chief of this blog, has been getting along using an old white MacBook running OS X 10.6.8, but needs a new hand-me-down in the form of my slightly younger MacBook Air, which in turn needs to be replaced by something capable of getting more from High Sierra.
Last week, when I started browsing Apple’s UK store, I was left feeling rather puzzled. If I wanted any of the standard configurations of either MacBook or MacBook Pro, I could have it delivered the next day, or pick one up at our nearest physical Apple store in a few hours. But the moment that I wanted something built to order, say with an i7 processor or larger SSD, I’d have to wait three weeks for collection or delivery.
The thought did occur to me, in a twinkling of irrational optimism, that this might be because Apple was starting to fit processors which had been ‘fixed’ from Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. Of course we have many more months or years to wait before that might begin to happen, and will have to suffer another few rounds of software mitigations yet, until some sections of code will have been patched repeatedly like a very old pair of jeans.
By coincidence, at the same time that I was making a mental note to revisit the MacBook purchase in a few weeks time, a friend asked me whether there was any chance of those vulnerabilities being addressed in replacement processors in the immediate future. He too is looking to buy a new Mac, and wondered whether waiting a little might be worthwhile.
I reassured him that there was still no evidence that Meltdown or Spectre were being exploited in the wild yet. I ventured that, at least for the time being, such exploits would appear improbable because of their difficulty. So long as there are easier pickings to be made, Meltdown and Spectre looked unlikely choices for the malware author.
This is the big problem with Meltdown and Spectre: yes, they are very serious and pretty fundamental security problems, which processor manufacturers should have addressed long ago, or shouldn’t have allowed to happen in the first place. But ‘even’ Macs have far more attractive vulnerabilities, which can be exploited more reliably. The only plausible reason for a malware developer wanting to exploit Meltdown or Spectre would be the kudos of being the first.
We’re only seven weeks into the year, and we have already seen a succession of conventional malware. Yet the press has largely obsessed over Meltdown and Spectre, rather than bringing home the simple lessons reinforced by the likes of OSX.CreativeUpdate (or OSX.Mudminer.A if you prefer Apple’s term). I can’t point to any statistics, but strongly suspect that the majority of Macs in use have no defences against malware apart from those built into macOS.
From the timeline of this release of OSX.CreativeUpdate, we now know that the first conventional anti-virus product, Malwarebytes, was able to detect and remove the infection about a day after malware release. That was an excellent achievement by Thomas Reed and the Malwarebytes team, but was reactive rather than pre-emptive.
Apple’s macOS security data update wasn’t built for another week, and wasn’t installed on many Macs until nearly two weeks after first appearance of the malware.
During its installation, OSX.CreativeUpdate writes a new property list file in ~/Library/LaunchAgents, to attempt persistence. This type of behaviour is such common practice in malware that it could almost be diagnostic. Except that software vendors who want us to let their products download and install silent updates – Adobe springs to mind – do essentially the same thing.
None of this is new or exciting, so as Meltdown and Spectre continue to haunt the headlines, the general and specialist press yet again don’t draw attention to the simple things that users should be doing to protect themselves from both novel and established malware attack.
I have just looked at how you can use some anti-malware products, and general software tools, to keep an eye on changes made to LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders. Without such tools, as Apple persists in hiding the ~/Library folder from view, there is no easy monitoring or protection in macOS. Patrick Wardle drew attention to these and other issues some years ago, and I and others have repeatedly warned of the dangers.
As with so many hazards, the more novel and intangible the threat, like radiation, the greater attention it attracts; the older and more physical the threat, like drowning, the less we seem prepared to do about it, or even become concerned. Just as we are generally much more likely to drown than to die of radiation exposure, our Macs are more likely to be affected by traditional malware which abuses LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders, than one which exploits Meltdown or Spectre.
Shouldn’t we all want to see more being done in macOS to keep a watch on these vulnerable folders, and warn us of potential novel attacks?
|You are subscribed to email updates from The Eclectic Light Company. |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States|