Balloons as national symbols crowd the sky in this Italian cartoon from the 1870s. The unknown artist lampoons no fewer than 23 countries among them, including imperialist Great Britain, expansionist Russia whose balloon is already the largest; Prussia whose gondola is a spiked helmet and the United States whose light-hearted citizens are lifted by the balloons of several states bound together. Others in this illustration awaiting to get off the ground include balloons from the nations of Algeria and Brazil.
However, below are two paintings called “Aeronauts” by Paul Lengelle, which belong to the Mussee Carnavalet, in Paris, France. Not much is known about Lengelle’s work, except that he once held the title of Official Painter of the French Air Force. This title can only be granted by the French Minister of Defence to artists who have devoted their talent to aeronautics and space flight artworks. Those worthy of this title include painters, photographers, illustrators, engravers and sculptors. The “Body of painters, engravers and sculptors of the Department of the Air” (or “Armies’ painters, Air specialty“), was created in 1931 by the Air Minister Jean-Louis Dumesnil.
In 1987, the “Painters of the Air and Space Association” was created to fulfill the need to develop links with state or private organizations relating to aeronautical vocation, in aid to bring the amateur public to become interested in aeronautical exhibitions. It would now appear that the traveling exhibition managed by the French armies’ Information and Public Relations Service and a blog now complete representation of the association.
Seeing all of these balloon depictions reminds me of the wonderful events held at Cappadocia or Oshkosh which attract enormous amounts of followers to these events.
Anyway, if you want an ear-worm song to impregnate your senses for a while you can do as I have done and sing along to “Up, Up & Away” which has been recorded by many artists, but my favourite is by Dionne Warwick who recorded a version of this song on her 1967 L.P. “Valley Of The Dolls”. Here is the first verse:
“Wouldn’t you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
Wouldn’t you like to glide in my beautiful balloon?
We could float among the stars together, you and I
For we can fly”