Louise Bourgeois – ‘I Transform Hate Into Love’

Advertisements

#bourgeois, #louisebourgeois, #love

5 Days of Oscar Wilde – 4: The Grosvenor Gallery, 1877

oscar-wilde-portrait

Welcome to day 4 of ‘5 Days of Oscar Wilde’!

THE GROSVENOR GALLERY, 1877

(Dublin University Magazine, July 1877.)

That ‘Art is long and life is short’ is a truth which every one feels, or ought to feel; yet surely those who were in London last May, and had in one week the opportunities of hearing Rubenstein play the Sonata Impassionata, of seeing Wagner conduct the Spinning-Wheel Chorus from the Flying Dutchman, and of studying art at the Grosvenor Gallery, have very little to complain of as regards human existence and art-pleasures.

Descriptions of music are generally, perhaps, more or less failures, for music is a matter of individual feeling, and the beauties and lessons that one draws from hearing lovely sounds are mainly personal, and depend to a large extent on one’s own state of mind and culture.  So leaving Rubenstein and Wagner to be celebrated by Franz Hüffer, or Mr. Haweis, or any other of our picturesque writers on music, I will describe some of the pictures now being shown in the Grosvenor Gallery.

The origin of this Gallery is as follows: About a year ago the idea occurred to Sir Coutts Lindsay of building a public gallery, in which, untrammelled by the difficulties or meannesses of ‘Hanging Committees,’ he could exhibit to the lovers of art the works of certain great living artists side by side: a gallery in which the student would not have to struggle through an endless monotony of mediocre works in order to reach what was worth looking at; one in which the people of England could have the opportunity of judging of the merits of at least one great master of painting, whose pictures had been kept from public exhibition by the jealousy and ignorance of rival artists.  Accordingly, last May, in New Bond Street, the Grosvenor Gallery was opened to the public.

As far as the Gallery itself is concerned, there are only three rooms, so there is no fear of our getting that terrible weariness of mind and eye which comes on after the ‘Forced Marches’ through ordinary picture galleries.  The walls are hung with scarlet damask above a dado of dull green and gold; there are luxurious velvet couches, beautiful flowers and plants, tables of gilded and inlaid marbles, covered with Japanese china and the latest ‘Minton,’ globes of ‘rainbow glass’ like large soap-bubbles, and, in fine, everything in decoration that is lovely to look on, and in harmony with the surrounding works of art.

Burne-Jones and Holman Hunt are probably the greatest masters of colour that we have ever had in England, with the single exception of Turner, but their styles differ widely.  To draw a rough distinction, Holman Hunt studies and reproduces the colours of natural objects, and deals with historical subjects, or scenes of real life, mostly from the East, touched occasionally with a certain fancifulness, as in the Shadow of the Cross.  Burne-Jones, on the contrary, is a dreamer in the land of mythology, a seer of fairy visions, a symbolical painter.  He is an imaginative colourist too, knowing that all colour is no mere delightful quality of natural things, but a ‘spirit upon them by which they become expressive to the spirit,’ as Mr. Pater says.  Watts’s power, on the other hand, lies in his great originative and imaginative genius, and he reminds us of Æschylus or Michael Angelo in the startling vividness of his conceptions.  Although these three painters differ much in aim and in result, they yet are one in their faith, and love, and reverence, the three golden keys to the gate of the House Beautiful.

On entering the West Gallery the first picture that meets the eye is Mr. Watts’s Love and Death, a large painting, representing a marble doorway, all overgrown with white-starred jasmine and sweet brier-rose.  Death, a giant form, veiled in grey draperies, is passing in with inevitable and mysterious power, breaking through all the flowers.  One foot is already on the threshold, and one relentless hand is extended, while Love, a beautiful boy with lithe brown limbs and rainbow-coloured wings, all shrinking like a crumpled leaf, is trying, with vain hands, to bar the entrance.  A little dove, undisturbed by the agony of the terrible conflict, waits patiently at the foot of the steps for her playmate; but will wait in vain, for though the face of Death is hidden from us, yet we can see from the terror in the boy’s eyes and quivering lips, that, Medusa-like, this grey phantom turns all it looks upon to stone; and the wings of Love are rent and crushed.  Except on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, there are perhaps few paintings to compare with this in intensity of strength and in marvel of conception.  It is worthy to rank with Michael Angelo’s God Dividing the Light from the Darkness.

Next to it are hung five pictures by Millais.  Three of them are portraits of the three daughters of the Duke of Westminster, all in white dresses, with white hats and feathers; the delicacy of the colour being rather injured by the red damask background.  These pictures do not possess any particular merit beyond that of being extremely good likenesses, especially the one of the Marchioness of Ormonde.  Over them is hung a picture of a seamstress, pale and vacant-looking, with eyes red from tears and long watchings in the night, hemming a shirt.  It is meant to illustrate Hood’s familiar poem.  As we look on it, a terrible contrast strikes us between this miserable pauper-seamstress and the three beautiful daughters of the richest duke in the world, which breaks through any artistic reveries by its awful vividness.

The fifth picture is a profile head of a young man with delicate aquiline nose, thoughtful oval face, and artistic, abstracted air, which will be easily recognised as a portrait of Lord Ronald Gower, who is himself known as an artist and sculptor.  But no one would discern in these five pictures the genius that painted the Home at Bethlehem and the portrait of John Ruskin which is at Oxford.

Then come eight pictures by Alma Tadema, good examples of that accurate drawing of inanimate objects which makes his pictures so real from an antiquarian point of view, and of the sweet subtlety of colouring which gives to them a magic all their own.  One represents some Roman girls bathing in a marble tank, and the colour of the limbs in the water is very perfect indeed; a dainty attendant is tripping down a flight of steps with a bundle of towels, and in the centre a great green sphinx in bronze throws forth a shower of sparkling water for a very pretty laughing girl, who stoops gleefully beneath it.  There is a delightful sense of coolness about the picture, and one can almost imagine that one hears the splash of water, and the girls’ chatter.  It is wonderful what a world of atmosphere and reality may be condensed into a very small space, for this picture is only about eleven by two and a half inches.

1868_Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_-_Phidias_Showing_the_Frieze_of_the_Parthenon_to_his_Friends

The most ambitious of these pictures is one of Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends.  We are supposed to be on a high scaffolding level with the frieze, and the effect of great height produced by glimpses of light between the planking of the floor is very cleverly managed.  But there is a want of individuality among the connoisseurs clustered round Phidias, and the frieze itself is very inaccurately coloured.  The Greek boys who are riding and leading the horses are painted Egyptian red, and the whole design is done in this red, dark blue, and black.  This sombre colouring is un-Greek; the figures of these boys were undoubtedly tinted with flesh colour, like the ordinary Greek statues, and the whole tone of the colouring of the original frieze was brilliant and light; while one of its chief beauties, the reins and accoutrements of burnished metal, is quite omitted.  This painter is more at home in the Greco-Roman art of the Empire and later Republic than he is in the art of the Periclean age.

The most remarkable of Mr. Richmond’s pictures exhibited here is his Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon—a very magnificent subject, to which, however, justice is not done.  Electra and her handmaidens are grouped gracefully around the tomb of the murdered King; but there is a want of humanity in the scene: there is no trace of that passionate Asiatic mourning for the dead to which the Greek women were so prone, and which Æschylus describes with such intensity; nor would Greek women have come to pour libations to the dead in such bright-coloured dresses as Mr. Richmond has given them; clearly this artist has not studied Æschylus’ play of the Choëphori, in which there is an elaborate and pathetic account of this scene.  The tall, twisted tree-stems, however, that form the background are fine and original in effect, and Mr. Richmond has caught exactly that peculiar opal-blue of the sky which is so remarkable in Greece; the purple orchids too, and daffodil and narcissi that are in the foreground are all flowers which I have myself seen at Argos.

Sir Coutts Lindsay sends a life-size portrait of his wife, holding a violin, which has some good points of colour and position, and four other pictures, including an exquisitely simple and quaint little picture of the Dower House at Balcarres, and a Daphne with rather questionable flesh-painting, and in whom we miss the breathlessness of flight.

I saw the blush come o’er her like a rose;
The half-reluctant crimson comes and goes;
Her glowing limbs make pause, and she is stayed
Wondering the issue of the words she prayed.

It is a great pity that Holman Hunt is not represented by any of his really great works, such as the Finding of Christ in the Temple, or Isabella Mourning over the Pot of Basil, both of which are fair samples of his powers.  Four pictures of his are shown here: a little Italian child, painted with great love and sweetness, two street scenes in Cairo full of rich Oriental colouring, and a wonderful work called the Afterglow in Egypt.  It represents a tall swarthy Egyptian woman, in a robe of dark and light blue, carrying a green jar on her shoulder, and a sheaf of grain on her head; around her comes fluttering a flock of beautiful doves of all colours, eager to be fed.  Behind is a wide flat river, and across the river a stretch of ripe corn, through which a gaunt camel is being driven; the sun has set, and from the west comes a great wave of red light like wine poured out on the land, yet not crimson, as we see the Afterglow in Northern Europe, but a rich pink like that of a rose.  As a study of colour it is superb, but it is difficult to feel a human interest in this Egyptian peasant.

Mr. Albert Moore sends some of his usual pictures of women, which as studies of drapery and colour effects are very charming.  One of them, a tall maiden, in a robe of light blue clasped at the neck with a glowing sapphire, and with an orange headdress, is a very good example of the highest decorative art, and a perfect delight in colour.

(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Mr. Spencer Stanhope’s picture of Eve Tempted is one of the remarkable pictures of the Gallery.  Eve, a fair woman, of surpassing loveliness, is leaning against a bank of violets, underneath the apple tree; naked, except for the rich thick folds of gilded hair which sweep down from her head like the bright rain in which Zeus came to Danae.  The head is drooped a little forward as a flower droops when the dew has fallen heavily, and her eyes are dimmed with the haze that comes in moments of doubtful thought.  One arm falls idly by her side; the other is raised high over her head among the branches, her delicate fingers just meeting round one of the burnished apples that glow amidst the leaves like ‘golden lamps in a green night.’  An amethyst-coloured serpent, with a devilish human head, is twisting round the trunk of the tree and breathes into the woman’s ear a blue flame of evil counsel.  At the feet of Eve bright flowers are growing, tulips, narcissi, lilies, and anemones, all painted with a loving patience that reminds us of the older Florentine masters; after whose example, too, Mr. Stanhope has used gilding for Eve’s hair and for the bright fruits.

Next to it is another picture by the same artist, entitled Love and the Maiden.  A girl has fallen asleep in a wood of olive trees, through whose branches and grey leaves we can see the glimmer of sky and sea, with a little seaport town of white houses shining in the sunlight.  The olive wood is ever sacred to the Virgin Pallas, the Goddess of Wisdom; and who would have dreamed of finding Eros hidden there?  But the girl wakes up, as one wakes from sleep one knows not why, to see the face of the boy Love, who, with outstretched hands, is leaning towards her from the midst of a rhododendron’s crimson blossoms.  A rose-garland presses the boy’s brown curls, and he is clad in a tunic of oriental colours, and delicately sensuous are his face and his bared limbs.  His boyish beauty is of that peculiar type unknown in Northern Europe, but common in the Greek islands, where boys can still be found as beautiful as the Charmides of Plato.  Guido’s St. Sebastian in the Palazzo Rosso at Genoa is one of those boys, and Perugino once drew a Greek Ganymede for his native town, but the painter who most shows the influence of this type is Correggio, whose lily-bearer in the Cathedral at Parma, and whose wild-eyed, open-mouthed St. Johns in the ‘Incoronata Madonna’ of St. Giovanni Evangelista, are the best examples in art of the bloom and vitality and radiance of this adolescent beauty.  And so there is extreme loveliness in this figure of Love by Mr. Stanhope, and the whole picture is full of grace, though there is, perhaps, too great a luxuriance of colour, and it would have been a relief had the girl been dressed in pure white.

Mr. Frederick Burton, of whom all Irishmen are so justly proud, is represented by a fine water-colour portrait of Mrs. George Smith; one would almost believe it to be in oils, so great is the lustre on this lady’s raven-black hair, and so rich and broad and vigorous is the painting of a Japanese scarf she is wearing.  Then as we turn to the east wall of the gallery we see the three great pictures of Burne-Jones, the Beguiling of Merlin, the Days of Creation, and the Mirror of Venus.  The version of the legend of Merlin’s Beguiling that Mr. Burne-Jones has followed differs from Mr. Tennyson’s and from the account in the Morte d’Arthur.  It is taken from the Romance of Merlin, which tells the story in this wise:

It fell on a day that they went through the forest of Breceliande, and found a bush that was fair and high, of white hawthorn, full of flowers, and there they sat in the shadow.  And Merlin fell on sleep; and when she felt that he was on sleep she arose softly, and began her enchantments, such as Merlin had taught her, and made the ring nine times, and nine times the enchantments.

. . . . .

And then he looked about him, and him seemed he was in the fairest tower of the world, and the most strong; neither of iron was it fashioned, nor steel, nor timber, nor of stone, but of the air, without any other thing; and in sooth so strong it is that it may never be undone while the world endureth.

So runs the chronicle; and thus Mr. Burne-Jones, the ‘Archimage of the esoteric unreal,’ treats the subject.  Stretched upon a low branch of the tree, and encircled with the glory of the white hawthorn-blossoms, half sits, half lies, the great enchanter.  He is not drawn as Mr. Tennyson has described him, with the ‘vast and shaggy mantle of a beard,’ which youth gone out had left in ashes; smooth and clear-cut and very pale is his face; time has not seared him with wrinkles or the signs of age; one would hardly know him to be old were it not that he seems very weary of seeking into the mysteries of the world, and that the great sadness that is born of wisdom has cast a shadow on him.  But now what availeth him his wisdom or his arts?  His eyes, that saw once so clear, are dim and glazed with coming death, and his white and delicate hands that wrought of old such works of marvel, hang listlessly.  Vivien, a tall, lithe woman, beautiful and subtle to look on, like a snake, stands in front of him, reading the fatal spell from the enchanted book; mocking the utter helplessness of him whom once her lying tongue had called

   Her lord and liege,
Her seer, her bard, her silver star of eve,
Her god, her Merlin, the one passionate love
Of her whole life.

In her brown crisp hair is the gleam of a golden snake, and she is clad in a silken robe of dark violet that clings tightly to her limbs, more expressing than hiding them; the colour of this dress is like the colour of a purple sea-shell, broken here and there with slight gleams of silver and pink and azure; it has a strange metallic lustre like the iris-neck of the dove.  Were this Mr. Burne-Jones’s only work it would be enough of itself to make him rank as a great painter.  The picture is full of magic; and the colour is truly a spirit dwelling on things and making them expressive to the spirit, for the delicate tones of grey, and green, and violet seem to convey to us the idea of languid sleep, and even the hawthorn-blossoms have lost their wonted brightness, and are more like the pale moonlight to which Shelley compared them, than the sheet of summer snow we see now in our English fields.

The next picture is divided into six compartments, each representing a day in the Creation of the World, under the symbol of an angel holding a crystal globe, within which is shown the work of a day.  In the first compartment stands the lonely angel of the First Day, and within the crystal ball Light is being separated from Darkness.  In the fourth compartment are four angels, and the crystal glows like a heated opal, for within it the creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars is passing; the number of the angels increases, and the colours grow more vivid till we reach the sixth compartment, which shines afar off like a rainbow.  Within it are the six angels of the Creation, each holding its crystal ball; and within the crystal of the sixth angel one can see Adam’s strong brown limbs and hero form, and the pale, beautiful body of Eve.  At the feet also of these six winged messengers of the Creator is sitting the angel of the Seventh Day, who on a harp of gold is singing the glories of that coming day which we have not yet seen.  The faces of the angels are pale and oval-shaped, in their eyes is the light of Wisdom and Love, and their lips seem as if they would speak to us; and strength and beauty are in their wings.  They stand with naked feet, some on shell-strewn sands whereon tide has never washed nor storm broken, others it seems on pools of water, others on strange flowers; and their hair is like the bright glory round a saint’s head.

The scene of the third picture is laid on a long green valley by the sea; eight girls, handmaidens of the Goddess of Love, are collected by the margin of a long pool of clear water, whose surface no wandering wind or flapping bird has ruffled; but the large flat leaves of the water-lily float on it undisturbed, and clustering forget-me-nots rise here and there like heaps of scattered turquoise.

In this Mirror of Venus each girl is reflected as in a mirror of polished steel.  Some of them bend over the pool in laughing wonder at their own beauty, others, weary of shadows, are leaning back, and one girl is standing straight up; and nothing of her is reflected in the pool but a glimmer of white feet.  This picture, however, has not the intense pathos and tragedy of the Beguiling of Merlin, nor the mystical and lovely symbolism of the Days of the Creation.  Above these three pictures are hung five allegorical studies of figures by the same artist, all worthy of his fame.

Mr. Walter Crane, who has illustrated so many fairy tales for children, sends an ambitious work called the Renaissance of Venus, which in the dull colour of its ‘sunless dawn,’ and in its general want of all the glow and beauty and passion that one associates with this scene reminds one of Botticelli’s picture of the same subject.  After Mr. Swinburne’s superb description of the sea-birth of the goddess in his Hymn to Proserpine, it is very strange to find a cultured artist of feeling producing such a vapid Venus as this.  The best thing in it is the painting of an apple tree: the time of year is spring, and the leaves have not yet come, but the tree is laden with pink and white blossoms, which stand out in beautiful relief against the pale blue of the sky, and are very true to nature.

M. Alphonse Legros sends nine pictures, and there is a natural curiosity to see the work of a gentleman who holds at Cambridge the same professorship as Mr. Ruskin does at Oxford.  Four of these are studies of men’s heads, done in two hours each for his pupils at the Slade Schools.  There is a good deal of vigorous, rough execution about them, and they are marvels of rapid work.  His portrait of Mr. Carlyle is unsatisfactory; and even in No. 79, a picture of two scarlet-robed bishops, surrounded by Spanish monks, his colour is very thin and meagre.  A good bit of painting is of some metal pots in a picture called Le Chaudronnier.

Mr. Leslie, unfortunately, is represented only by one small work, called Palm-blossom.  It is a picture of a perfectly lovely child that reminds one of Sir Joshua’s cherubs in the National Gallery, with a mouth like two petals of a rose; the under-lip, as Rossetti says quaintly somewhere, ‘sucked in, as if it strove to kiss itself.’

Whistler-Nocturne_in_black_and_gold

Then we come to the most abused pictures in the whole Exhibition—the ‘colour symphonies’ of the ‘Great Dark Master,’ Mr. Whistler, who deserves the name of ‘Ο σκοτεινος as much as Heraclitus ever did.  Their titles do not convey much information.  No. 4 is called Nocturne in Black and Gold, No. 6A Nocturne in Blue and Silver, and so on.  The first of these represents a rocket of golden rain, with green and red fires bursting in a perfectly black sky, two large black smudges on the picture standing, I believe, for a tower which is in ‘Cremorne Gardens’ and for a crowd of lookers-on.  The other is rather prettier; a rocket is breaking in a pale blue sky over a large dark blue bridge and a blue and silver river.  These pictures are certainly worth looking at for about as long as one looks at a real rocket, that is, for somewhat less than a quarter of a minute.

No. 7 is called Arrangement in Black No. 3, apparently some pseudonym for our greatest living actor, for out of black smudgy clouds comes looming the gaunt figure of Mr. Henry Irving, with the yellow hair and pointed beard, the ruff, short cloak, and tight hose in which he appeared as Philip II. in Tennyson’s play Queen Mary.  One hand is thrust into his breast, and his legs are stuck wide apart in a queer stiff position that Mr. Irving often adopts preparatory to one of his long, wolflike strides across the stage.  The figure is life-size, and, though apparently one-armed, is so ridiculously like the original that one cannot help almost laughing when one sees it.  And we may imagine that any one who had the misfortune to be shut up at night in the Grosvenor Gallery would hear this Arrangement in Black No. 3 murmuring in the well-known Lyceum accents:

   By St. James, I do protest,
Upon the faith and honour of a Spaniard,
I am vastly grieved to leave your Majesty.
Simon, is supper ready?

Nos. 8 and 9 are life-size portraits of two young ladies, evidently caught in a black London fog; they look like sisters, but are not related probably, as one is a Harmony in Amber and Black, the other only an Arrangement in Brown.

Mr. Whistler, however, sends one really good picture to this exhibition, a portrait of Mr. Carlyle, which is hung in the entrance hall; the expression on the old man’s face, the texture and colour of his grey hair, and the general sympathetic treatment, show Mr. Whistler {19} to be an artist of very great power when he likes.

There is not so much in the East Gallery that calls for notice.  Mr. Leighton is unfortunately represented only by two little heads, one of an Italian girl, the other called A Study.  There is some delicate flesh painting of red and brown in these works that reminds one of a russet apple, but of course they are no samples of this artist’s great strength.  There are two good portraits—one of Mrs. Burne-Jones, by Mr. Poynter.  This lady has a very delicate, artistic face, reminding us, perhaps, a little of one of the angels her husband has painted.  She is represented in a white dress, with a perfectly gigantic old-fashioned watch hung to her waist, drinking tea from an old blue china cup.  The other is a head of the Duchess of Westminster by Mr. Forbes-Robertson, who both as an actor and an artist has shown great cleverness.  He has succeeded very well in reproducing the calm, beautiful profile and lustrous golden hair, but the shoulders are ungraceful, and very unlike the original.  The figure of a girl leaning against a wonderful screen, looking terribly ‘misunderstood,’ and surrounded by any amount of artistic china and furniture, by Mrs. Louise Jopling, is worth looking at too.  It is called It Might Have Been, and the girl is quite fit to be the heroine of any sentimental novel.

The two largest contributors to this gallery are Mr. Ferdinand Heilbuth and Mr. James Tissot.  The first of these two artists sends some delightful pictures from Rome, two of which are particularly pleasing.  One is of an old Cardinal in the Imperial scarlet of the Cæsars meeting a body of young Italian boys in purple soutanes, students evidently in some religious college, near the Church of St. John Lateran.  One of the boys is being presented to the Cardinal, and looks very nervous under the operation; the rest gaze in wonder at the old man in his beautiful dress.  The other picture is a view in the gardens of the Villa Borghese; a Cardinal has sat down on a marble seat in the shade of the trees, and is suspending his meditation for a moment to smile at a pretty child to whom a French bonne is pointing out the gorgeously dressed old gentleman; a flunkey in attendance on the Cardinal looks superciliously on.

Nearly all of Mr. Tissot’s pictures are deficient in feeling and depth; his young ladies are too fashionably over-dressed to interest the artistic eye, and he has a hard unscrupulousness in painting uninteresting objects in an uninteresting way.  There is some good colour and drawing, however, in his painting of a withered chestnut tree, with the autumn sun glowing through the yellow leaves, in a picnic scene, No. 23; the remainder of the picture being something in the photographic style of Frith.

What a gap in art there is between such a picture as the Banquet of the Civic Guard in Holland, with its beautiful grouping of noble-looking men, its exquisite Venetian glass aglow with light and wine, and Mr. Tissot’s over-dressed, common-looking people, and ugly, painfully accurate representation of modern soda-water bottles!

Mr. Tissot’s Widower, however, shines in qualities which his other pictures lack; it is full of depth and suggestiveness; the grasses and wild, luxuriant growth of the foreground are a revel of natural life.

We must notice besides in this gallery Mr. Watts’s two powerful portraits of Mr. Burne-Jones and Lady Lindsay.

To get to the Water-Colour Room we pass through a small sculpture gallery, which contains some busts of interest, and a pretty terra-cotta figure of a young sailor, by Count Gleichen, entitled Cheeky, but it is not remarkable in any way, and contrasts very unfavourably with the Exhibition of Sculpture at the Royal Academy, in which are three really fine works of art—Mr. Leighton’s Man Struggling with a Snake, which may be thought worthy of being looked on side by side with the Laocoon of the Vatican, and Lord Ronald Gower’s two statues, one of a dying French Guardsman at the Battle of Waterloo, the other of Marie Antoinette being led to execution with bound hands, Queenlike and noble to the last.

The collection of water-colours is mediocre; there is a good effect of Mr. Poynter’s, the east wind seen from a high cliff sweeping down on the sea like the black wings of some god; and some charming pictures of Fairy Land by Mr. Richard Doyle, which would make good illustrations for one of Mr. Allingham’s Fairy-Poems, but the tout-ensemble is poor.

Taking a general view of the works exhibited here, we see that this dull land of England, with its short summer, its dreary rains and fogs, its mining districts and factories, and vile deification of machinery, has yet produced very great masters of art, men with a subtle sense and love of what is beautiful, original, and noble in imagination.

Nor are the art-treasures of this country at all exhausted by this Exhibition; there are very many great pictures by living artists hidden away in different places, which those of us who are yet boys have never seen, and which our elders must wish to see again.

Holman Hunt has done better work than the Afterglow in Egypt; neither Millais, Leighton, nor Poynter has sent any of the pictures on which his fame rests; neither Burne-Jones nor Watts shows us here all the glories of his art; and the name of that strange genius who wrote the Vision of Love revealed in Sleep, and the names of Dante Rossetti and of the Marchioness of Waterford, cannot be found in the catalogue.  And so it is to be hoped that this is not the only exhibition of paintings that we shall see in the Grosvenor Gallery; and Sir Coutts Lindsay, in showing us great works of art, will be most materially aiding that revival of culture and love of beauty which in great part owes its birth to Mr. Ruskin, and which Mr. Swinburne, and Mr. Pater, and Mr. Symonds, and Mr. Morris, and many others, are fostering and keeping alive, each in his own peculiar fashion.

#1877, #adam, #afterglow, #agamemnon, #almatadema, #archimage, #argos, #art, #asiatic, #beguilingofmerlin, #botticelli, #breceliande, #burnejones, #cambridge, #charmides, #correggio, #creation, #creator, #daysofthecreation, #death, #dowerhouseatbalcarres, #dublinuniversitymagazine, #dukeofwestminster, #east, #egyptian, #electra, #empire, #england, #english, #eros, #eve, #exhibition, #findingofchristinthetemple, #firstday, #florentine, #gallery, #ganymede, #goddess, #greatdarkmaster, #grecoroman, #greece, #greek, #grosvenorgallery, #hangingcommittees, #haweis, #heraclitus, #holmanhunt, #homeatbethlehem, #hood, #housebeautiful, #hunt, #italian, #japanese, #johnruskin, #king, #lechaudronnier, #lindsay, #london, #lord, #love, #loveandthemaiden, #malphonselegros, #marchionessoformonde, #medusa, #merlin, #michaelangelo, #millais, #minton, #mirrorofvenus, #mortedarthur, #mralbertmoore, #mrburnejones, #mrcarlyle, #mrfrederickburton, #mrleslie, #mrpater, #mrrichmond, #mrsgeorgesmith, #mrspencerstanhope, #mrstanhope, #mrtennyson, #mrwaltercrane, #nationalgallery, #newbondstreet, #nocturneinblackandgold, #northerneurope, #oriental, #oscarwilde, #oxford, #phidias, #phidiasshowingthefriezeoftheparthenontohisfriends, #renaissanceofvenus, #richmond, #roman, #ronaldgower, #rubenstein, #sebastian, #shadowofthecross, #shelley, #sircouttslindsay, #sirjoshua, #sistinechapel, #sladeschools, #spanish, #spinningwheel, #stjohn, #sun, #swinburne, #thegrosvenorgallery, #turner, #venus, #virginpallas, #vivien, #wagner, #westgallery, #wilde, #wisdom, #world, #zeus

The Monday Poem – pretenders

pretenders

by Jay Snelling

 

danced in the

never was

you love we

do you remember

bell

remember was

in September

love you So,

I

I

memories I hope life treats you

will

you

We need real out

#jaysnelling, #love, #memories, #poem, #pretenders, #real, #remember, #september

My Top 10 Weird Fiction Authors

Weird Fiction is one of my favourite genres to read and there’s no shortage of great authors in this field if you look hard enough! In no particular order, here are ten wonderfully weird authors.

    1. Premendra Mitra – The Discovery of Telenapota” by Bengali author Premendra Mitra is a good place to start if you want to skip over some of the more famous authors in The Weird. You won’t find much of Mitra’s work in English, and nothing at all in the U.S. apart from this tale. It’s a hallucinatory trip into rural India where you get to do some fly-fishing, fall in love, take a rather cramped ride in a miniature cart pulled by miniature bulls, and accept a marriage proposal under a false name. And it’s all directed at you in a mesmerizing future tense. But “Telenapota” is not just the trippy prose-poem that all suggests. There is some genuine emotion in the tale and a kind of clever twist in the end too. – Thommy Ford Reads
    2. Mike Russell – “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.  There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us.” If I had to concisely summarize these little stories, I seriously couldn’t think of a better way to do it than via Magritte’s words. – Oddly Weird Fiction. Read one of his short stories for free here. Disclaimer: Mike is my other half. I was a fan before we became a couple though :p If you enjoy Examining the Odd, supporting Mike is the best way to show your support! Thank you dear readers.x
      Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell
      Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell

      3. Joanna Russ – The narrator has just returned from one of these worlds where she was fomenting a revolution dressed up as a (male) arch-demon/faery prince, Issa/Ashmedai, in “Storybook Land” (122), and is telling her lover, the recipient of her letter, all about it. This is a performance of something like theater; the narrator compares it repeatedly to kabuki drama. The characters of Storybook Land are all faintly (or very) preposterous and unreal, so the narrator can do her job with some ease, but eventually Art and Bob (two noblemen) prove a problem. She has to keep them away from a woman they seem intent to rape by pretending to be the only one who can have her. Then she ends up having to have sex with the princess, who is determined to be had by her (in her male persona), and all sorts of bizarre courtly intrigues. Finally, the playacting done and pretty well injured, the narrator gets to come home and finds out that her own world isn’t at the probability center, either. There’s a revolution going, too. – TOR 1ac0335538f21dabd4a4ae1ca661a7be

The Female Man

4. Fitz James O’Brien – His writing contained both weird fiction and horror, and he is considered one of the forerunners of science fiction writing. What Was It, today’s short story, contains one of the first examples of invisibility in fiction, wherein the occupants of an apparently haunted house are assailed by, and then catch a strange invisible creature. It’s a traditional short mystery story with strong leanings towards Edgar Allan Poe, and short enough to read in a sneaky Friday coffee break (well, if you are quick!). Enjoy! Read the story here! – Dublin2019
Horror Classics

5. Carl Richard Jacobi – Carl Jacobi was a journalist, weird-fiction and adventure-story writer, and one of the last surviving pulp-fictioneers to have contributed regularly to the legendary American horror magazine Weird Tales during its “glory days” (the 1920s and 1930s). – Independent. Read one of his short stories for free here. the-long-voyage-carl-richard-jacobi

6. H. G. Wells – Short, cold, economic and totally unrelenting. – China Mieville writing for the Guardian.
H G Wells

7. Hanns Heinz Ewers – If you’re here for a weird tale about a supernatural earthly being, this was so much fun to read.
obviously the fact that it was written at the beginning of last century, adds up to the beauty of it. – Astrid Diaz on Amazon. Read one of his short stories for free here.

Hanns Heinz Ewers
Hanns Heinz Ewers

8. Maurice Level – Almost wholly devoted to this form is the living writer Maurice Level, whose very brief episodes have lent themselves so readily to theatrical adaptation in the “thrillers” of the Grand Guignol. As a matter of fact, the French genius is more naturally suited to this dark realism than to the suggestion of the unseen; since the latter process requires, for its best and most sympathetic development on a large scale, the inherent mysticism of the Northern mind. – H.P.Lovecraft.com. Read his short stories for free here. hqdefault-1

9. Jay Lake – Joseph Edward “Jay” Lake, Jr.[1] (June 6, 1964 – June 1, 2014) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. In 2003 he was a quarterly first-place winner in the Writers of the Future contest. In 2004 he won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction. He lived in Portland, Oregon, and worked as a product manager for a voice services company. – Wikipedia. Read some of his short stories for free here.
Endurance

10. Luigi Ugolini – A compelling tale of weird transformation, “The Vegetable Man” was originally published in 1917 in an Italian publication whose title translates as The Illustrated Journal of Travel and Adventure Over Land and Sea. Brendan and Anna Connell’s skilful translation of the story for The Weird is the first in the English language. Brendan Connell has lent further insights on this story, deriving valuable context for reading not just from the author’s experience and viewpoints, but also from the spirit of the times in which he wrote. – Weird Fiction Review.

#clever, #emotion, #false, #fan, #ford, #india, #interest, #love, #magritte, #marriage, #mesmerising, #mikerussell, #miniature, #odd, #poem, #read, #stories, #support, #tale, #telenapota, #us, #visible

3 Random Books from My Shelves

  1. Neil Gaiman – Fragile ThingsgaimanI’m not really sure what to say, as I would imagine most people who visit Examining the Odd have read some or all of Gaiman’s work! Since this book is a collection of short stories (and wonders!), I decided to randomly choose one of the pieces too. The chosen piece was The Fairy Reel, one of the “wonders”, since it is a poem rather than a short story. I’ve heard people liken this poem to a Keats ballad.

 

So plaintive and so wild and strange that all who heard it danced along

And sang and whirled and sank and trod and skipped and slipped and reeled and rolled

Until, with eyes as bright as coals, they’d crumble into wheels of gold…

I’d love to know which Gaiman piece is your favourite, from Fragile Things or elsewhere. People often say he’s hit or miss for them, but he’s all hit for me.

2. George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four1379095168358.cached Ah, the number one dystopian novel.

1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, where the story is set, known as Airstrip One. Winston Smith is a middle-aged, unhealthy character, based loosely on Orwell’s own frail body, an underling of the ruling oligarchy, The Party. The Party has taken early 20th century totalitarianism to new depths, with each person subjected to 24 hour surveillance, where people’s very thoughts are controlled to ensure purity of the oligarchical system in place… But Winston believes there is another way… “He who controls the past, controls the future” is a Party slogan to live by and it gives Winston his job, but Winston cannot see it like that.Online Literature

It made me laugh that this book was randomly chosen right now (I live in the UK).

The conditions of government repression, censorship, and mass surveillance Orwell foresaw have seemed imminent, if not fully realized, in the decades following the novel’s 1948 publication, though the adjective “Orwellian” and many of the novel’s coinages have suffered a good deal through overuse and misapplication. Just as the first radio play of 1984 warned of a “disturbing broadcast,” this 1965 version begins, “The following play is not suitable for those of a nervous disposition.” Open Culture (hear the play in full)

Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously.

3. Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice9780316246620_custom-1b8a3367be3348eb1c36a41bd0e8c2563decdbfa-s99-c85

A space opera that skillfully handles both choruses and arias, Ancillary Justice is an absorbing thousand-year history, a poignant personal journey, and a welcome addition to the genre. – NPR

Justice of Toren is one being who gets caught up in political crossfire and finds herself reduced to a fragment of what she was: a lone human body, limited and alone. The first part of the book alternates between present and past, plunging the reader into the story and slowly providing the background. This is not a book you should try to skim.Jim C. Hines

Here it was, the moment I had worked toward for twenty years. Waited for. Feared would never come.

This book is actually from my to read pile, so I can’t give you my own opinion yet! I’m really looking forward to it though – I love books that span a huge amount of time.

#author, #book, #books, #fragilethings, #gaiman, #georgeorwell, #gold, #keats, #love, #neilgaiman, #strange, #thefairyreel, #wonders

The Beautifully Ornate Book Covers of Days Long Gone

I often judge a book by its cover and sometimes I’m wrong, often I’m right. But oh how I wish book covers could go back to being as deliciously detailed as they once were. Let’s take a look at some examples…

Book Cover of British Butterflies  archive.org/stream/generaspeciesofb00hump#page/n0/mode/2up

Book Cover of British Butterflies
archive.org/stream/generaspeciesofb00hump#page/n0/mode/2up

The text is so ornate that it’s hardly legible! Compare this to a modern book on the same subject.

Silver bookbinding - Augsburg (?) - 17th century

Silver bookbinding – Augsburg (?) – 17th century

This is so beautiful.

housewitch: Iran Book Binding, 18th/19th century Via: ghostsintherosegarden Source: ghostcafe

housewitch:
Iran Book Binding, 18th/19th century
Via: ghostsintherosegarden
Source: ghostcafe

I would love to know more about this book.

The ‘Codex Rotundus’ owes its name to its round shape. It is a small book of hours (9 cm diameter) made in Bruges in 1480.

The ‘Codex Rotundus’ owes its name to its round shape. It is a small book of hours (9 cm diameter) made in Bruges in 1480.

We need more round books!

The pleasures of book collecting

17TH CENTURY,FILIGREE, BINDING,Sotheby's,New York

17TH CENTURY,FILIGREE, BINDING,Sotheby’s,New York

SEGRE Benaja,ITALIAN BOOK BINDINGS,Sotheby's,New York

SEGRE Benaja,ITALIAN BOOK BINDINGS,Sotheby’s,New York

Having said all that, there are still people today making incredible books, such as this one from http://www.leslie-marsh.com/

Having said all that, there are still people today making incredible books, such as this one from http://www.leslie-marsh.com/

1860's Dutch Bible, Beautiful Gauffered Edges, Ornate Double Clasps, Simply Lovely

1860’s Dutch Bible, Beautiful Gauffered Edges, Ornate Double Clasps, Simply Lovely

Silver-gilt book-cover

Silver-gilt book-cover

Silver book-clasp

Silver book-clasp

Coronation Evangeliar cover by Hans von Reutlingen, c. 1500

Coronation Evangeliar cover by Hans von Reutlingen, c. 1500

H Noel (Henry Noel) Humphreys 1810-1879 The history of writing or, The origin and progress of the art of writing: a connected narrative of the development of the art London: Ingram, Cooke and Co., 1853 chromolithography and gilt on paper in papier maché and parchment binding Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland / RB 411.09 1853

H Noel (Henry Noel) Humphreys 1810-1879
The history of writing or, The origin and progress of the art of writing: a connected narrative of the development of the art
London: Ingram, Cooke and Co., 1853
chromolithography and gilt on paper in papier maché and parchment binding
Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland / RB 411.09 1853

Koster. Hamburgischer Taschen-Kalender auf das Schalt-Jahr 1828 Hamburg : F.H. Nestler, [1827?]. Glazed paper binding with embossed gold paper onlays and embossed cartonnage slipcase with gold paper onlays.

Koster. Hamburgischer Taschen-Kalender auf das Schalt-Jahr 1828 Hamburg : F.H. Nestler, [1827?]. Glazed paper binding with embossed gold paper onlays and embossed cartonnage slipcase with gold paper onlays.

The “Black Book of Hours” , facsimile of Codex Vindobonensis, a Burgundian Manuscript of c.1470 written and illuminated on black vellum. (Source: dndgalleries.com)

The “Black Book of Hours” , facsimile of Codex Vindobonensis, a Burgundian Manuscript of c.1470 written and illuminated on black vellum.
(Source: dndgalleries.com)

00191

#17thcentury, #1860, #amitie, #archive, #art, #australian, #beautiful, #binding, #blackbookofhours, #book, #bruges, #burgundian, #chromolithography, #clasp, #codex, #coronation, #dndgalleries, #ghostcafe, #ghostsintherosegarden, #glazed, #history, #hnoel, #housewitch, #incredible, #iran, #koster, #lesliemarsh, #london, #love, #marsh, #onlays, #poems, #round, #segrebenaja, #silver, #silvergilt, #text, #thehistoryofwriting, #vellum, #writing

Wise Words from Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. He is the man Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.” His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world. – Plum Village

o-THICH-NHAT-HANH-CALLIGRAPHY-facebook

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”


“My actions are my only true belongings.”

“If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love.”

“Our own life has to be our message.”

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”

thichnh-the-source-of-love-is-deep-love-quote-pictures

#anger, #beautiful, #earth, #freedom, #happiness, #life, #love, #smile, #sorrow, #suffering, #thichnhathanh