Category Archives: Art

Sunset over Parikia, Paros

“These things have an unreal reality, like mermaids, difficult to hold. They exist, but the uses of language fail, because their substance is thinner and finer than words.”

“Such was life in the age of happiness”

Freya Stark in ‘Ionia: A Quest

(with a sunset over Parikia bay, Paros)

Freya Stark Quotes

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Leonard Cohen: The Poet

leonard cohen

 “A heavy burden lifted from my soul,

           I heard that love was out of my control.”

                                                    Leonard Cohen

I started this day by watching a 1965 film about Leonard Cohen (via OpenCulture). A young Leonard Cohen. In the film, Cohen is portrayed mainly as a poet, as a literary man. So that got me going and I started looking on the web about his poems and his quotes and I bumped into plenty of interesting material.

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick everyday.”

Leonard Cohen

At some point in the film, at 20mins into it to be exact, Cohen explains how he got to move to Greece, to Hydra. He says he lived in London at the time. It was winter, it was gloomy, rainy, and he had a cold, when he bumped into the Bank of Greece, the title of which was etched in marble on the building facade. He walked in and the man behind the counter was wearing sunglasses. Leonard felt, and I am quoting him, that this was “the most eloquent protest against the entire landscape.” That was the beginning of his affair with Greece.

Here is a page from the Leonard Cohen Files website, an incredible database, with Leonard’s photos & poems from the island of Hydra (click on image to access the link):

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Poems & Photos from Hydra

“Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore.”

Leonard Cohen

Then, at 26mins into the film, he recites from his poem/song “True Love Leaves No Traces“, where he beautifully says:

                        “As the mist leaves no scar

                         on the dark green hill

                         so my body leaves no scar

                         on you nor ever will

                         When wind and hawk encounter

                         what remains to keep

                         so you and I encounter

                         then turn then fall to sleep”

Leonard Cohen, “True Love Leaves No Traces”

Love and Leonard…. In this realm, it is an all together different song I wanted to share with you here, the ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’:

“When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.”

Leonard Cohen

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Alberto Giacometti

“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”

Alberto Giacometti

(Thanx Kosta for sharing this quote! I had to post it too..)

Giacometti Quote

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In the Realm of Wonder

Mythology, art or science, all dwell in the realm of wonder…

The Birth of the Milky Way, by Peter Paul Rubens

The Birth of the Milky Way, by Peter Paul Rubens

The term Galaxy is an ancient Greek one.  It comes from the word milk, since the cluster of celestial material is such that colours the night sky with a white stripe, like a milk splash. What a beautiful image that is…. This image inspired so many more images, wordy, musical or visual, ever since…. This is what I love about wonder and curiosity! It gets imagination going to explore both the magic and the reality out there. It helps our growth with the nutritious elements of knowledge and beauty…

Similar to a previous post , where I was talking about the inspirational drive that mythology has put into the arts, here is another great  sample of human creativity par excellence, namely ‘The Birth of the Milky Way“, (ca. 1637), by Peter Paul Rubens. This work of art now belongs to and can be seen at the Prado Museum, Madrid.

But even the etymology of the terms ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Milky Way’ are poetic. Here is what Wikipedia says on the terms’ provenance:

The word galaxy derives from the Greek term for our own galaxy, galaxias (γαλαξίας, “milky one”), or kyklos (“circle”) galaktikos (“milky”)for its appearance as a lighter colored band in the sky. In Greek mythology, Zeus places his son born by a mortal woman, the infant Heracles, on Hera’s breast while she is asleep so that the baby will drink her divine milk and will thus become immortal. Hera wakes up while breastfeeding and then realizes she is nursing an unknown baby: she pushes the baby away and a jet of her milk sprays the night sky, producing the faint band of light known as the Milky Way.

In the astronomical literature, the capitalized word ‘Galaxy’ is used to refer to our galaxy, the Milky Way, to distinguish it from the billions of other galaxies. The English term Milky Way can be traced back to a story by Chaucer:

“See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë
Which men clepeth the Milky Wey,
For hit is whyt.”
—Geoffrey Chaucer. The House of Fame, c. 1380.

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The Vermeer Project

This post is a reblog from the Aegean Center blog about the  amazing Vermeer project that the amazing Jane Morris Pack is leading at the Aegean Center right now…
… When Curiosity is the exploratory force behind all understanding and advancement, be it in art, the sciences, in life….

 “Sitting in the dark, seeing the painterly vision of light causes nearly all to exclaim at its beauty.”

Jane Morris Pack

The Chronicle

Actual-Projected-Image-(flipped)Actual Projected Image in Camera Obscura (approx. 40×48 cm / 16×19 in)

by Jane Morris Pack

Have you ever painted upside down in the dark?

While visiting Rome this winter I had the opportunity to study several Vermeer paintings in the exhibit at the Quirinale.  They were part of a larger show called “Vermeer and The Golden Age of Dutch Art”  and although there were some other fine pieces in the exhibit, the Vermeers outshone the others. They seem to glow from within and the accuracy of the perceived space is extraordinary. Johannes Vermeer has captured modern interest not only for his dreamy women engaged in mundane tasks but also perhaps due to the mystery surrounding his life.  We know little about his training, his personal life or his methods.  I was intrigued by his use of the camera obscura, which seems to be an accepted fact among art historians…

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Vonnegut’s 8 points on how to Write a Story

Point 7:

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”

Kurt Vonnegut

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Some Poetry, Some Art, Some Borges

Maria sleeping

The Art of Poetry

To gaze at a river made of time and water
and remember that Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.

To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.

To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.

To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness, such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.

Sometimes at evening there’s a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.

They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.

Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.

Jorge Luis Borges

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“It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.”

 

verses from the poem “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower” by William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams Poem

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Digital Photography at the Aegean Center

The new, Spring 2013, semester at the Aegean Center has just begun… Inspiration and love for life, art and the craft of life and of art is already perfuming our air. This will be my 5th semester of studying Digital Photography with John Pack and I am more than excited about it. ‘Digital Photography’ is just the focal point in John’s class and it serves as a good title to communicate the medium of study. But his class is so much more than that. It is a class of gratitude. It is a class of poetry. Embedded in his philosophy of learning by sharing, daring, caring and crafting, John takes us on a journey where each one of us, and together as a group, acquire the skills and appetite to capture our inner view within a frame of reference, reveal our subtleties by mastering the tonal vocabulary and sculpt these impressions as images on fine prints.

Ah…and this will be a spring journey…!

Just as I embark on this journey, I thought of sharing my Portofolio from last semester, Fall 2012:

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Raphael’s ‘School of Athens’ and the Religious themes at the Stanza della Segnatura, a reflection on Pope Julius II library

Stanza Rafael, Musei Vaticani

Stiched panorama of the four walls in the Stanza della Segnatura, painted by Raphael

The philosophical and religious discourse that took off in Renaissance Italy is beautifully depicted by Raphael in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican (Musei Vaticani).

Pope Julius II, in the early 1500’s, commissioned Raphael to paint his private apartments. Raphael painted the frescoes of four Rooms. All rooms are accessible to visitors today, they make part of the Musei Vaticani complex, which are known as the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms).

One of these four Rooms is known as ‘The Stanza della Segnatura’, which is the very room that housed the Pope’s private library. For this Room, Raphael decided to make four frescoes (one on each wall) that depict the Renaissance newly (re)discovered Classical ideals in relation to the values of the Christian tradition. This choice of themes was meant to reflect the contents of the Pope’s library, the categories of which were : theology, philosophy, jurisprudence and poetry.

Of course the most famous fresco in this Room is none other than the ‘School of Athens‘….

school_of_athens

There is an interesting discussion on BBC Radio 4 about this painting, its relation to the other frescoes in the room and the concepts, ideas and discussions that were contemporary to the painting. I felt that this podcast gave me a bit more information on the choices made by Raphael (and Pope Julius II). The discussion is an episode of the ‘In Our Time’ program with Melvyn Bragg on BBC 4, available as a podcast for free. I am a fan of Melvyn’s podcasts… Here is the link to the ‘School of Athens’ episode:

'The School of Athens' episode

‘The School of Athens’ episode

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