Friday, February 19, 2010

The Friday Evening Nudes - I'm Your Venus

A goddess on a mountain top
Burning like a silver flame 
A summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name...


Venus of Willendorf


Lucas Cranach the Elder
Venus
1532
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Birth of Venus


 Birth of Venus
detail

1510

Gerome


Venus the Milo
The Louvre

Sandro Botticelli



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston

 Zora Neal Hurston
African American author, folklorist and anthropologist
1891-1960



"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."
~ Zora Neale Hurston


 


"THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD belongs in the same category with [the works of] William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway, that of enduring American literature."
     - Saturday Review


Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.
-from Their Eyes Were Watching God 


"I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions."
     - Letter from Zora Neale Hurston to Countee Cullen
 





"It was a weak spot in any nation to have a large body of disaffected people within its confusion."
 ~Zora Neale Hurston



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Window Views

Welcome to my blog! There are some changes to the format of The Pagan Sphinx. To make it easier to find older posts, I've put three posts to a page. To find posts older than that, please look for the "older posts" link at the bottom of the three posts. All of the sidebar information, including my blog lists and art resources, can now be found at the bottom of the posts page. Enjoy the larger image format!


pagan sphinx photo

 View of a building on State Street, from Quincy Market
Boston, Massachusetts

Window Views is hosted by Mary

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Letter From Vincent

Two Excerpts from a Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Arles, c. 5 April 1889
read the entire letter here 
This first excerpt regards the work that Van Gogh was undertaking while simultaneously dealing with so many other difficulties:  poverty, ill health - both physical and mental, and rejection from an entire village who wanted him to leave. Heartbreaking.
 P.S. 

 
La Crau with Peach Trees in Blossom

 "Just now I have on the easel an orchard of peach trees beside a road with the Alpilles in the background. It seems that there was a fine article in the Figaro on Monet, Roulin had read it and been struck by it, he said. Altogether it is a rather difficult problem to decide whether to take a new flat, and even to find it, especially by the month."

In this second excerpt from the same letter, Van Gogh shares with his brother Theo a little about his friendship with Joseph Roulin, the postmaster:




Postman Joseph Roulin

1888

 

 Van Gogh actually preferred this later sketch of the original:

"Roulin, though he is not quite old enough to be like a father to me, has all the same a silent gravity and tenderness for me such as an old soldier might have for a young one. All the time - but without a word - a something which seems to say, We do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, but whatever it may be, think of me. And it does one good when it comes from a man who is neither embittered, nor sad, nor perfect, nor happy, nor always irreproachably right. But such a good soul and so wise and so full of feeling and so trustful. I tell you I have no right to complain of anything whatever about Arles, when I think of some things I have seen there which I shall never be able to forget.

NOTE: I visited an exhibition of Van Gogh's portraits at the MFA Boston in the year 2000 or so. Paintings from the MFA's collection were there, as well as all of the Roulin family paintings and several depicting people Van Gogh was able to get to sit for him. The Roulin family paintings were the most memorable and evocative. I moved to tears.  P.S.

"What impassions me most – much, much more than all the rest of my métier – is the portrait, the modern portrait," Vincent wrote to his younger sister in early June 1890, a month before his death. "I should like – you see, I'm far from saying that I can, but I'm going to try anyway – I should like to do portraits which will appear as revelations to people in a hundred years' time."  
~Vincent Van Gogh






 Above:
1. Mother Roulin and her Baby
2. Armand Roudin
3. Portrait of Madame Roudin

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Fun

Welcome to my blog! There are some changes to the format of The Pagan Sphinx. To make it easier to find older posts, I've put three posts to a page. To find posts older than that, please look for the "older posts" link at the bottom of the three posts. All of the sidebar information, including my blog lists and art resources, can now be found at the bottom of the posts page. Enjoy the larger image format!



This is All My Love
McKenzie Thorpe
Kansas City, Missouri

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wish I'd been clever enough to discover this on my own, it is such good fun! At biblioklept a literary blog I discovered recently, there was a little fun number on American writer and historian Zora Neale Hurston's love spells, which are contained in her collection Florida Folklore of Mules and Men. Here is one example:


TO MAKE PEOPLE LOVE YOU

Take nine lumps of starch, nine of sugar, nine teaspoons of steel dust. Wet it all with Jockey Club cologne. Take nine pieces of ribbon, blue, red or yellow. Take a dessertspoonful and put it on a piece of ribbon and tie it in a bag. As each fold is gathered together call his name. As you wrap it with yellow thread call his name till you finish. Make nine bags and place them under a rug, behind an armoire, under a step or over a door. They will love you and give you everything they can get. Distance makes no difference. Your mind is talking to his mind and nothing beats that.


One of my favorite quotes of all times was said by Zora Neale Hurston, when she was asked by a journalist how she felt about racial discrimination:


"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."




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