The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven has given rise to many fine paintings. One of them is this excellent rendition by Lorenzo Monaco, done in 1407-09. Check out the zoom and you'll see what I mean. Those colors!
These are not perfect, but they do seem to have some merit. There are now a number of sites, all connected, purporting to display the complete works of a given artist. Here are the sites I've found so far:
As near as I can tell, the sites above are accurate. One of the sites in this series is, however, full of error. The one supposedly devoted to Giotto is chock full of works by Fra Angelico!
The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists are well represented:
I hope that my friend and fellow blogger am will forgive me for a bit of shameless pilfering from her very fine blog, Talking 37th Dream with Rainbow. Just a few days ago she quoted the following from Thomas Merton:
Do not depend on the hope of results. … you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.
-- Thomas Merton in a letter to Jim Forest dated February 21, 1966, reproduced in The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters by Thomas Merton
I came across something this afternoon which might be worth a few minutes' thought.
It begins with an observation by French writer Joseph Joubert (1754-1824): "Misery is almost always the result of thinking".
My modern source then suggests that to find out whether this statement is true, we should try this experiment the next time we are unhappy: "Disentangle your thoughts from the situation. Then look at the situation without the thoughts (or realize that the entire problematic situation was never real, such as when you worry). When you face the simple 'isness' of the present moment (it's all there ever is), misery has nothing to hang on to any more"
What do you think? It seems to me that there is something in the author's suggestion. But also that it is rather simplistic. We are not simply thinking beings. We are feeling, social, goal-seeking, symbolic beings too.
Tonight I came across this observation by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches.
One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
In an interview, Ann Druyan, collaborator and wife of the late Carl Sagan, says:
It is a great tragedy that science, this wonderful process for finding out what is true, has ceded the spiritual uplift of its central revelations: the vastness of the universe, the immensity of time, the relatedness of all life, and life’s preciousness on our tiny planet.
Wow! I've thought something like that rather often but I doubt I could ever have said it quite that way.
I've loved the drawings by Edward Petrovich Hau of the Hermitage and Winter Palace ever since I first discovered them more than ten years ago. It's been several years since I last looked at them but, having done so last night, I find that they still retain their charm.
Hau made this set of 111 watercolors of the Royal living quarters during the 1850s-1870s. They can be viewed at two different sites:
We have two January pages from Books of Hours by the Limbourg brothers, done in the early 1400s for the Duc de Berry.
The January page from "Les Belles Heures" was illuminated in about 1405. It is about 9-1/2 inches tall and about 6-1/2 inches wide. Like most calendar pages, it has three parts:
1: Top: In the quatrefoil at the top of the page, a young man and an old man sit back to back, a Janus-like allusion to the beginning and end of the year.
2: Middle: January's feast days.
3: In the quatrefoil at the bottom, the figure of Aquarius is shown as a powerful man wearing only a loincloth. He is pouring water from a jug supported on his shoulder and braced by his hip-planted arm.
The border for this page is quite elaborate. It includes an additional quatrefoil at each side, with one of the duke’s emblems, his arms in a shield supported by a swan.
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The Tres Riches Heures is more colorful, less restrained, and generally more sumptuous than the Belles Heures. It is in fact the most famous Book of Hours in history. It was made in about 1418, mostly by the Limbourg brothers. Each leaf is approximately 9 inches high and 5.5 inches wide.
The Tres Riches Heures uses a two-page format for each month, with astrological signs and activities on one page and the list of feast days on another.
This January page shows the two former components:
At the top, the "zodiacal tympanum" shows its appropriate hemisphere with a solar chariot, the signs and degrees of the zodiac for January, Capricorn the goat and Aquarius the water-bearer. It also contains numbers reflecting the days of the month and the martyrological letters for the ecclesiastical lunar calendar.
The main picture, immediately below, shows the household of Jean, Duc de Berry, exchanging New Year gifts, a January custom. The picture is full of interest -- there appears to be an abbot or bishop; there are a couple of huntsmen; there are two small animals (kittens?) on the table; and a handsome white dog on the floor. Jean de Berry himself can be seen on the right, wearing a brilliant blue robe!