Friday, December 15, 2017

Apparition from the Shadow World

"No utilitarian philosophy explains a snow crystal, no doctrine of use or disuse. Water has merely leapt out of vapor and thin nothingness in the night sky to array itself in form. There is no logical reason for the existence of a snowflake any more than there is for evolution. It is an apparition from that mysterious shadow world beyond nature, that final world that contains--if anything contains--the explanation of men and catfish and green leaves."  
~Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey

Friday, December 1, 2017

What Did the Music of Ancient Greece Sound Like?

Hymns to the Delphic Oracle, the Castalian Spring, Orestes and the Furies, and more--readers of NIGHT OF THE FURIES, check this out: 
First choral performance with aulos of ancient scores of Athenaeus Paean (127 BC) and Euripides Orestes chorus (408 BC), with explanation by Armand D'Angour.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Power of a Saint

ST. CATHERINE, Bernardino Luini (1530)
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, November 25th is the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria, who converted hundreds of Egyptians to Christianity in the 3rd century before being beheaded at the age of 18. The legend of her martyrdom may now be disputed, but 1100 years after her death she appeared in a vision to St. Joan of Arc, and for centuries after that she was still inspiring great artists like Luini. I love this subtle masterpiece. It radiates a quiet charisma and embodies the enduring power of myth. Click to enlarge.

Monday, November 6, 2017

True Love

In view of the daily revelations of sexual depredation, here's a reminder from the 18th century of the sublime nature of true love, the highest earthly expression of man's endless search for unity:
"I understand by this passion the union of desire, friendship and tenderness, which is inflamed by a single female, which prefers her to the rest of her sex, and which seeks her possession as the supreme or the sole happiness of our being. I need not blush at recollecting the object of my choice; and though my love was disappointed of success, I am rather proud that I was once capable of feeling such a pure and exalted sentiment."
~historian Edward Gibbon

Blue Guitar

"They said, 'You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.'
The man replied, 'Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.'" 
~Wallace Stevens, excerpt from The Man With the Blue Guitar