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Thursday, 22 December 2016
The Oldest Confession
Is one of Need,
Half the need Love
The other half Greed.
Seeking good fortune
As we rise from the mud,
'Tis often we're paid
From a purse filled with blood.
But here's the point of this post - although I had tried for years to find a copy of The Keener's Manual, no librarian was able to help me. Eventually I discovered that it has never existed; it's existence was completely fabricated by Condon as were all of the quotes! There are several other examples of this kind of thing. One that springs to mind is the extensive use of footnotes about the scientist de Selbey in Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. The footnotes must comprise about a quarter of the book.
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
It is a mineral rock which provides the most intense deep blue pigment. When it began to be imported into Europe in the Middle Ages, blue was a difficult and expensive colour for artists to obtain and it became the basis of French Ultramarine paint for centuries until artificial pigment could be manufactured. This had the effect of making it rare and costly so that it became a status symbol in art in much the same way as gold leaf.
|The Madonna, Sassoferrato, 17th century|
It is useful to bear in mind that this rule, as with all symbolism, should not be seen as immutable; artists were free to create alternative values but the 'meaning' of a picture would often need to be 'read' through it's depictions and colours.
Sunday, 27 November 2016
|Caravaggio: Judith Beheading Holofernes 1598-99|
|Artemisia Gentileschi: Judith Beheading Holofernes 1614-20|
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
|Stephen Joshua Goodman|
It's a sad story about growing old, dementia and long-lasting love. But, it's not entirely sad, having some wistful elements of nostalgia. I like the lines:
"And he sees her for a moment, calls her name,
Such a clear picture is painted in those two lines.
Steve Goodman died of Leukaemia in 1984 aged just 36. He had known his illness was terminal for some time but kept on working and writing. His most famous song is The City of New Orleans made famous by Arlo Guthrie.
Saturday, 17 September 2016
I love one-liner jokes so I've collected a few favourites together to help lighten your mood!
From Tim Vine:
- I phoned the local gym and I asked if they could teach me how to do the splits. He said, "How flexible are you?" I said, "I can't make Tuesdays."
- So I went to buy a watch, and the man in the shop said "Analogue." I said "No, just a watch."
- I went into a shop and I said, "Can someone sell me a kettle." The bloke said "Kenwood?" I said, "Where is he?"
- So I went to the record shop and I said "What have you got by The Doors?" He said: "A bucket of sand and a fire blanket!"
- I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what - never again.
- Militant feminists: I take my hat off to them. They don’t like that.
- I was mugged by a man on crutches, wearing camouflage. Ha ha, I thought, you can hide but you can’t run.
- My wife... its difficult to say what she does... she sells seashells on the seashore.
- My grandfather invented the cold air balloon... But it never really took off.
- Hopefully I’ve got a book coming out soon. Shouldn’t have eaten it, really.
- I knocked on the door at this Bed and Breakfast and a lady stuck her head out of the window and said: 'What do you want', I said, 'I want to stay here'. She said, 'Well stay there' and shut the window.
- D'you know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said "Parking Fine." So that was nice.
- "Doctor, I can't pronounce my F's, T's or H's". "Well, you can't say fairer than that."
- So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me “Can you give me a lift?” I said “Sure, you look great, the world’s your oyster, go for it.’
- I asked the waiter: “How long will my spaghetti be?” He said: “I don’t know. We never measure it."
- My wife and I decided we don’t want children; if someone wants them, we’ll drop them off tomorrow.
- My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance; we’ll see about that.
- So I phoned up the spiritual leader of Tibet, he sent me a large goat with a long neck, turns out I phoned dial-a-lama.
- I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together; it was riveting.
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
William I had a castle there after the eleventh century Norman invasion.
Westminster Abbey: In the early eighth century a Saxon Church dedicated to St Peter was constructed on the site. The church became known as the West Minster ('west monastery'), while St Paul's, a few miles to the east was known as the East Minster ('east monastery').
Friday, 26 August 2016
Two faces or a candlestick?
I find much of her colour works have a wonderful calming influence and I could easily live with one on my wall.
|A 1989 portrait of the artist. I think this a wonderful photo. (by Jane Brown).|
Thursday, 18 August 2016
|Jake Thackray 1938 -2002|
Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Ralph McTell and Jasper Carrot were also influenced by his style. He accompanied his rich baritone voice with his nylon-stringed classical/jazz-style guitar playing. He is very English and may not have much appeal beyond these shores but he was a great talent who died too young, aged 64 in 2002.
He was a modest man who has been called 'The Noel Coward of the North' but he refused to accept that flattering comparison. I feel that he never quite achieved the acclaim he deserved.
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
|Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze, 1851|
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Public Domain,
My American friends will have to excuse this Brit for writing about what is possibly the most famous of American paintings. Emanuel Leutze, 1816 – 1868, was a German-American ‘History Painter’; History painting was at the summit of the hierarchy of genres, meaning that it was considered the most important because, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, it required all of the skills that were needed for all other types of painting. This painting was completed in 1851, around the time that those hierarchies were starting to become less important. In keeping with the genre, it is of a monumental size, measuring more than 12ft by 21ft., (3.78 by 6.47m). He started to paint the picture in 1849 but it was damaged by a fire in his studio in 1850. It was restored only to be destroyed in Berlin in 1942 by a bombing raid. He did, however, make at least two copies and many other artists have copied and pastiched this painting.
I think it is a very beautiful picture which has been executed with great skill. There are various inaccuracies and ‘impossibilities’ of which it may seem petty of me to mention. However, it won’t stop me because they are all interesting points. Firstly, the man standing on Washington’s right (who is James Munroe, a future President), is holding the Stars and Stripes flag which did not exist as such until well after this depiction – on the dawning of 26th December 1776. The Delaware is much narrower than depicted here at that crossing point and when it freezes over it tend to be in sheets, not chunks as depicted. The artist used images of the Rhine to create the river, where the ice does form chunks. Incidentally, Washington was leading a surprise attack on the Hessian troops based in Trenton, New Jersey, who were German mercenaries employed by the British; they formed fully 30% of British troops in the War of Independence!
The boats, shown carrying a selection of ‘types’, eg. a Scotsman, a Negro, a Frontiersman etc, are of the wrong kind with sides that are much too low. The light is all wrong, appearing to come from several different directions at once. Also, Washington, reasonably enough, is shown in an heroic pose but would not have been able to stand up like that. None of this matters much- it is a magnificent piece of work which creates real depth by the way in which the background boats are spread into the distance and one can almost reach out to touch the ice-chunks.
I'm listening to Carole King singing her own song, "I Wasn't Born to Follow" made famous by The Byrds but I love her version best!
Saturday, 30 July 2016
|The Abbey Road Studios and that crossing, St John's Wood, London|
|Abbey Road, 1969|
|Sir George Martin, 1926 - 2016|
I'm listening to Revolver, my favourite Beatles Album
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
|The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1907-8, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna|