Saturday, January 23, 2016

Let it Snow (Monet)

Best wishes for all my friends enduring the snowstorm, Talk about persistence! Monet painted water lilies more than 250 times.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 - February 18, 1902)

January 08, 1830. Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 - February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion.

 Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Park, c. 1868, Oakland Museum

 Lake Tahoe, 1868

 Buffalo Trail

Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century. In this image: Sean O'Leary looks at Albert Bierstadt's "Storm in the Rocky Mountains-Mount Rosalie," an oil on canvas painting from 1866, while viewing the exhibit, American Sublime, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 20, 2002.

The complete works

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Predicting the New Year

It’s January 1st and you want to know how the year will go? You can use this handy guide, written by a 14th century Italian merchant, in which he offers what to expect throughout year, based on which day January 1st falls on.

If the first of January comes on a Friday, the winter will be temperate, and the summer and autumn, dry. Grain will be cheap. There will be eye diseases, and many infants will die, and there will be movement of knights, and there will be much oil in some places.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mr Holmes

In reading the reviews on Netflix, I am sorry to see how many people's sensibilities have been blunted by CGI, cute tricks, loud explosions and staccato dialogue in the current incarnations of Sherlock Holmes. "Mr Holmes" not a fast paced movie; quite the opposite - it's an elegy for a life coming to a close, with many regrets and yet, a moment of grace at the end. You have no illusions about the ravages of age as McKellen portrays them superbly but you also see how age can bring wisdom. Don't bother with "Mr Holmes" if you want to see clever stunts and sexual innuendo. Or if your preference is for a crude plot that bangs you over the head and ends with the most predictable of conclusions.

Our bodies do fall apart with age as do our memories - and that is presented in the movie. Maybe we have distanced ourselves so much from what age looks like that it's too painful to view. But the movie also shows tender and sometimes not so tender relationships, the loss of friends, the cost of sacrifice for one's country, loneliness and reaching out across the generations with gentle wisdom to reach and teach a younger generation. Life is like that; not full of high kicks and beautiful bodies but has both friendship and regret, successes and loss and yes, pain as we move toward our end, as Holmes does in the movie. The acting is superb, the landscapes beautiful and the story ends on a beautiful, compassionate note.