Tag Archives: painting

Facts (NL IX, Retrospect, first 6 paragraphs)

Index to this series

A certain person says,

I am not better than you or more virtuous than you. If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God.

How should one hear these words: as an eminently reasonable expression of benevolent humility such as any of us might honorably make? Well, no matter how qualified, the command obey me might be a warning sign. The words are in fact from a recently published video, as quoted in the Guardian Weekly (Vol 190 No 5, 11–17 July 2014, p. 4). The speaker is the man whose nom de guerre is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on whose head the Department of State of the United States of America placed a ten-million-dollar bounty in 2011. He now styles himself Ibrahim, Caliph of the Islamic State, a new entity that is supposed to restore the lost Muslim glory of past centuries. This restoration is to be achieved through war. War requires military discipline, with punishments meted out for infractions like insubordination, not to mention the slaughter of those perceived as enemies. So al-Baghdadi’s request to be advised and halted if seen to be in the wrong must be interpreted rather carefully.

It is difficult to know how to interpret somebody’s words. With that I pass to the transitional chapter in the first part, “Man,” of Collingwood’s The New Leviathan.

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Two women

On the left, Vincent van Gogh, Mousmé, 1888, National Gallery of Art, Washington. On the right, Stephen Chambers, Woman (Green Background), 2006, private collection, London; currently on display at the Pera Museum, Istanbul, where I saw it on Saturday, June 21, 2014, and made the (slightly tilted) photograph on the right below.

A10433.jpg

The van Gogh image, I downloaded from the National Gallery website. I cropped and resized the Chambers image to be the same height as the van Gogh; then I juxtaposed the two with convert +append van-gogh-la-mousme.jpg chambers-woman.jpg two-women.jpg

I did not know of the artist Stephen Chambers before. The green background of his Woman, and her expression, caused me to think of van Gogh’s Mousmé. The Mousmé’s head is round, but her dotted skirt is as flat as the blouse of the Woman.

More pairings

Following up on my last article, here I continue to bring together images from different times and places, albeit with no particular conclusion to draw. Continue reading

Pairing of paintings

According to the founder of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington,

For those who have the power to see beauty…all works of art go together, whatever their period.

Here I put together two paintings, one from ancient Pompeii, and the other a nineteenth-century American work from Mr Freer’s collection.

In the archeological museum in Naples a few weeks ago, I was able to see the original sources of a number of famous images.  One was this Pompeiian fresco, said to represent Flora:

Image

In fact I did not see the original image in Naples.  In its place was a photograph, the original having been sent to London for an exhibit at the British Museum. The photograph above is from somewhere on the web. So is the next photograph below, of “After Sunset” (1892) by Thomas Dewing (Freer Gallery of Art, Washington):
dewing-after-sunset

Here is a close-up, taken by me:

dewing-sunset-detail


Freer collected American works like this, but mostly Asian works of past centuries. Apparently he found some community of spirit among the various elements of his collection. In particular, he compared Dewing’s work with that of Utamaro, as in the following prints, currently displayed at the Freer together with Dewing’s “After Sunset” and the similar “Before Sunrise”:

utamaro

I have seen no evidence that Dewing knew of the Pompeiian Flora.