31 July 2011

Please don't go ...

You will always be a part of who I am. 
Forever a part of me ... 
Please don't go ... 
But if you do, please promise will smile at me from the sky ... 

The Grandmother by Pierre Joseph Toussaint 

30 July 2011

The Blood Of Kingu by Therion

Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning "unskilled laborer", was a god in the Babylonian mythology. After the murder of his father Apsu — the consort of the goddess Tiamat, his  mother,  wanted to establish Kingu as ruler and leader of all gods before she was killed by Marduk. Tiamat gave Kingu the three Tablets of Destiny, he wore them as a breastplate, which gave him great power and put him in charge of Tiamat's army. Eventually, he was killed by Marduk. To prevent his rise, Kingu's blood was used to create mankind. Kingu's pivotal role in the creation myth is described in Enûma Elish (The Mesopotamian/Babylonian Creation Myth). 

"I dreamed I spoke in another's language,
I dreamed I lived in another's skin,
I dreamed I was my own beloved,
I dreamed I was a tiger's kin.

I dreamed that Eden lived inside me,
And when I breathed a garden came,
I dreamed I knew all of Creation,
I dreamed I knew the Creator's name.

I dreamed--and this dream was the finest--
That all I dreamed was real and true,
And we would live in joy forever,
You in me, and me in you."

Clive Barker

29 July 2011

The God of Small Things ...

"Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house---the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture --must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story." 

 Arundhati Roy 

Sleeping by John Everett Millais

28 July 2011

Empty space inside ...

"And suddenly, in the middle of the central nave, I realize something very important: the cathedral is me, it is all of us. We are all growing and changing shape, we notice certain weaknesses that need to be corrected, we don't always choose the best solutions, but we carry on regardless, trying to remain upright and decent, in order to do honour not to the walls or the doors or the windows, but to the empty space inside, the space where we worship and venerate what is dearest and most important to us." 

Paulo Coelho

27 July 2011

Star Sower - Kaunas, Lithuania

In the daytime this monument makes little sense, but when night comes down to the city, its secret is revealed.

"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I have nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."  Jack Kerouac

26 July 2011

The black death and its influence on painters and art in the Middle Ages

The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Bubonic plague is a bacillus, an organism, most often carried by infested rats who were plague-ridden with fleas. The infected  fleas, seeking a new blood meal jumped off their rodent hosts and leapt onto a human, biting their new victim causing infection. Thought to have started in China, it travelled along the Silk Road and had reached the Crimea by 1346. From there, probably carried by Oriental rat fleas living on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships, it spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% – 60% of Europe's population,reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as having created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague returned at various times, killing more people, until it left Europe in the 19th century.

Thousands painters perished, including the great Sienese geniuses, Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Pietro Lorenzetti. The heart of the art world was torn open. The horrors of the black death pervaded all aspects of Medieval culture and especially art. Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian writer and poet who lived through the plague, wrote "They sickened by the thousands daily, and died unattended and without help. Many died in the open street, others dying in their houses, made it known by the stench of their rotting bodies. Consecrated churchyards did not suffice for the burial of the vast multitude of bodies, which were heaped by the hundreds in vast trenches, like goods in a ships hold and covered with a little earth." The effects were lasting, bringing a somber darkness to visual art, literature, and music. The dreadful trauma of this era instigated the imaginations of writers and painters in frightful and gruesome ways for decades to follow. The insecurity of daily survival created an atmosphere of gloom and doom, influencing artist to move away from joyful spiritual themes and turn to images of Hell, Satan and the Grim Reaper. When the plague struck, Europe was emerging from the "dark ages" trying to put unpleasant memories behind it and move on to a more enlightened era. Barbarians no longer ran rough shod, putting entire villages to the torch and slaughtering the local peasants. Without the constant fear of invasion, art and architecture found fertile ground to grow. Medieval painters were not simply anonymous lowly craftsmen, but well respected professionals. They were held in high esteem and often interacted with clergy and wealthy patrons. The arrival of Black death harkened in a new darker era of painting. Artists were tormented by the constant menace of death, causing them to look for answers in scripture and the Church. Paintings overflow with tortured souls, death, dying, fire and brimstone.

The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel (painted around 1562 depicting the Black Death)

The Triumph of Death (detail)

25 July 2011

Life is a storm ...

"There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live.....the sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: Wait and Hope." 

Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)

Lighthouse Family - Ain't no Sunshine

24 July 2011

The first flower ...

"She wanted to exist only as a conscious flower, prolonging and preserving herself." 

F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned )

23 July 2011

Bitter truths you can't avoid ...

"It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things."

Lemony Snicket

Mourning Their Loss painted by Carl Wilhelm Hubner 
We are left in this world to experience their absence ... to look at the sky and pretend we can see them smiling at us. Left to feel like something will be missing forever because they are not here ... and at the same time ... feel grateful because they were once part of our lives. Left to hear their voices and laughter inside of our minds. Left to think, one day we shall meet again. 

Sometimes they catch you ...

"Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you on this earth. Sometimes you catch them. They can be the hands of the people you love. They can be your pets- pups with funny names, cats with ferocious old souls. The thing that keeps you here can be your art. It can be things you have collected and invested with a certain sense of meaning. A flowered, buckled treasure chest of secrets. Shoes that make you taller and, therefore, closer to the heavens. A suit that belonged to your fairy godmother. A dress that makes you feel a little like the Goddess herself. Sometimes you keep falling; you don't catch anything. Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you here. Sometimes you catch them. Sometimes you don't. Sometimes they catch you." 

Francesca Lia Block

The Violinist by Joseph Rodefer de Camp

15 July 2011

Reclining Girl by Henri Joseph Thomas

"They cannot scare me with their empty spaces between stars—on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home to scare myself with my own desert places." 

Robert Frost

It's just emptiness everywhere ... ghosts that run in front of my eyes ... this is goodbye ...

14 July 2011

The Secret by William Whitaker

"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside of them they all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe." 

Neil Gaiman

13 July 2011

Waiting by the Fountain by Vittorio Matteo Corcos

"Even when I try to stir myself up, I just get irritated because I can't make anything come out. And in the middle of the night I lie here thinking about all this. If I don't get back on track somehow, I'm dead, that's the sense I get. There isn't a single strong emotion inside me." 

Banana Yoshimoto

12 July 2011

Inertia ...

"Our self discoveries make us each a microcosm of the larger pattern of history. The inertia of introspection leads toward recollection, for only through memory is the past recaptured and understood. In the fact of experiencing and making the present, we are all actors." 

 Terence McKenna

11 July 2011

There is no other way ...

"There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened, or why it ends, or why or who you are. You want one and I want one, but there isn't one. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit, and when you are done you hold yourself up, and still there are holes and you are a rag doll, invented, imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way." 

Marya Hornbacher

10 July 2011

Schwarzalbenheim by Therion

The dwarves and the black elves live below the ground and in stumps and stones. Among all creatures in the universe they are the foremost blacksmiths. Deep down in the underworld they forge the treasures of gods. They use the metals from the veins of earth to create the most precious things. It has been said that this folk may be able to teach you the secret of alchemy and the knowledge of making gold out of earth.

09 July 2011

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn ...

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." 

Maya Angelou

08 July 2011

Following the ballerinas ...

"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be." 

Stephen Chbosky
Ballet Rehearsal on Stage by Edgar Degas

About Degas 

Degas, (Hilaire-Germain-) Edgar born July 19, 1834. French artist, acknowledged as the master of drawing the human figure in motion. Degas worked in many mediums, preferring pastel to all others. He is perhaps best known for his paintings, drawings, and bronzes of ballerinas and of race horses.

The art of Degas reflects a concern for the psychology of movement and expression and the harmony of line and continuity of contour. These characteristics set Degas apart from the other impressionist painters, although he took part in all but one of the 8 impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. Degas was the son of a wealthy banker, and his aristocratic family background instilled into his early art a haughty yet sensitive quality of detachment. As he grew up, his idol was the painter Jean Auguste Ingres, whose example pointed him in the direction of a classical draftsmanship, stressing balance and clarity of outline. After beginning his artistic studies with Louis Lamothes, a pupil of Ingres, he started classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts but left in 1854 and went to Italy. He stayed there for 5 years, studying Italian art, especially Renaissance works.

Returning to Paris in 1859, he painted portraits of his family and friends and a number of historical subjects, in which he combined classical and romantic styles. In Paris, Degas came to know Édouard Manet, and in the late 1860s he turned to contemporary themes, painting both theatrical scenes and portraits with a strong emphasis on the social and intellectual implications of props and setting.

In the early 1870s the female ballet dancer became his favourite theme. He sketched from a live model in his studio and combined poses into groupings that depicted rehearsal and performance scenes in which dancers on stage, entering the stage, and resting or waiting to perform are shown simultaneously and in counterpoint, often from an oblique angle of vision. 

07 July 2011

Starry Night over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh

"You - you alone will have the stars as no one else has them...In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night...You - only you - will have stars that can laugh." 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ( The Little Prince)

Starry Night over the Rhone is a painting by Vincent van Gogh, executed in late September 1888. The painting shows Arles at night, the city where van Gogh lived at that time. He was fascinated of painting at night and the theme of lightning effects and the nightly sky is also to be found in several other paintings by van Gogh. The most famous  is without doubt The Starry Night.

06 July 2011

Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife by Jacques-Louis David

This is one of the grandest portraits of the eighteenth century, painted in 1788 when the thirty-one-year-old David was at the peak of his powers and had become the self-appointed standard-bearer of French Neoclassicism. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier is known today as the founder of modern chemistry, for his pioneering studies of oxygen, gunpowder, and the chemical composition of water. In 1789, his theories were published in the influential "Traité elementaire de chimie". The illustrations in this book were prepared by his wife and collaborator, who is believed to have studied with David. Marie-Anne-Pierrette Paulze was only thirteen when her father, a tax collector for the royal government, married her to the twenty-eight-year-old Lavoisier. The couple's income and social standing came from Lavoisier's own position of "tax collector, which eventually led to his execution at the guillotine in 1794, during the French Revolution. His widow married the eccentric American inventor Count Rumford in 1804 but soon separated from him; she died in Paris in 1836.

Lavoisier's "habit noir", as opposed to the colorful suits of courtiers, was the customary, English-inspired dress of men who owed their rank to a profession or purchased office. Madame Lavoisier's muslin gown is characteristic of fashionable women of her day, neither exaggerated nor excessively modest. The interruption that provides the pretext for the portrait is as carefully staged as every other aspect of the painting, from the array of instruments that would not necessarily be used together, to the red velvet cloth, inappropriate for messy scientific experiments, to the expensive gilt furniture and the invented, though stately and restrained, architecture. Madame Lavoisier recorded an experiment in her husband's actual laboratory in a drawing made in 1790–91 (private collection), in which she includes herself in a pose that echoes that of her husband in David's painting.

Although the documents concerning the commission have not been found, David's payment of 7,000 livres is recorded in a receipt dated December 16, 1788. This was a huge sum: David had charged Louis XVI only 6,000 livres for "The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons" (Musée du Louvre, Paris). David had planned to include the Lavoisier portrait at the Salon of 1789, but it was withdrawn at the last minute and not exhibited publicly until a hundred years later. Although it has since become one of David's most famous works, and it is justifiably considered his finest portrait, it had no immediate impact on the artists of David's generation, nor on the generation of his students.

04 July 2011

L'Amour au Papillon by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

"If that moment had been a real thing, it would've been a butterfly, flapping and fluttering toward the sun." 

 Maggie Stiefvater 

(Cupid with a Butterfly)

03 July 2011

About today's pain ...

"The damage was permanent; there would always be scars. But even the angriest scars faded over time until it was difficult to see them written on the skin at all, and the only thing that remained was the memory of how painful it had been." 

Jodi Picoult

01 July 2011

Handshakes unfold ...

"Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter's tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end." 

Salman Rushdie (The Ground Beneath Her Feet)

Summer Moved On - A-ha