Sunday, April 19, 2015

Two Proserpines

Proserpine by Hiram Powers at the Honolulu Museum of Art


Proserpine (or Persephone) is a character from Greek mythology who was forced to spend part of every year in the underworld. Her absence from the earth was believed to cause winter, while her return brought spring. Hiram Powers modeled the original bust of Proserpine to include an elaborate woven basket filled with flowers. This proved too time-consuming and expensive to carve, however, and it was changed to a simple arrangement of acanthus leaves. Proserpine was replicated more than any other work produced by an American sculptor during the nineteenth century, and Powers’s studio carved more than three hundred copies.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I went to the Honolulu Museum of Art.  One of the photos I took was one of Prosperine.   The Museum was a lovely building with several courtyards with seating and plantings.  I enjoyed the collection.

This past weekend I was at the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee Art Museum - The graceful Quadracci Pavilion is a sculptural, postmodern addition designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Highlights of the building are the magnificent cathedral-like space of Windhover Hall, with a vaulted a 90-foot-high glass ceiling I
Imagine my surprise at encountering Prosperine again so soon!

Proserpine by Hiram Powers at Milwaukee Art Museum

 The museum's notes say: 
"Despite Hiram Powers receiving limited training in his native Cincinnati, his talent as a sculptor captured the attention of local collectors and wealthy patrons able to finance his travels to the East Coast and Europe.. Powers eventually settled in Florence and embraced Neoclassicism, a style indebted to the art of ancient Greece and Rome and its subject matter.  In this second of three versions the artist created the Roman Goddess Proserpine, the mythical daughter of Ceres, he depicts her rising out of ornamental acanthus blossoms, a symbol of her mortality and a promise of the return of spring and summer each year.  Due to the sculpture’s popularity and high demand from enthusiastic clients, Power’s studio produced some three hundred copies."

How timely that I discover more about Prosperine (or Persephone, the name I was more familiar with) in the spring of the year in two places!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Juxtaposition

Things Found While Looking Around


Frida Kahlo photographed for US Vogue, in October 1937, in her folkloric costume.

Frida Kahlo's fame lives on more than 60 years after her untimely death in 1954.  Her personal style included folkloric outfits from many parts of Mexico as well as Mexican and Pre-Colombian jewelry.  Many photos exist of her including this one taken for Vogue which is a nod back to the work of Jesús Helguera



No way to tell which of these was first but Helaguera was working from an early age starting at 18 in 1928, so it is entirely possible his work with the lady in a pink skirt came before Frida's iconic portrait.  Something to think about...


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Same Girl ~ Two Artists

Same Girl ~ Two Artists
Female Artist ~ Ernst Ludwig Kirchner & 
Girl on a Green Sofa With a Cat- Max Pechstein

“Think about how that Pechstein, who learned with hat in hand, and after five years came to you and threatened: ‘If you speak against me in public, I will make it so that no one else will look at your work and you can go hungry.’ And you laughed in his face, and rightly, but still it was bitter because the opposite was the case….”
- Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (adressing himself), Davoser Tegebuch (July 6, 1919)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To A Kiss

Paris, 2007

 

Humid seal of soft affections,
Tend'rest pledge of future bliss,
Dearest tie of young connections,
Love's first snow-drop, virgin kiss.
Speaking silence, dumb confession,
Passion's birth, and infants' play,
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,
Glowing dawn of brighter day.
Sorrowing joy, adieu's last action,
Ling'ring lips, -- no more to join!
What words can ever speak affection
Thrilling and sincere as thine!

~ Robert Burns

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Poem #14




Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

From 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair ~ Pablo Neruda




Friday, January 4, 2013

Message in a Chocolate Bar

Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate


Message in a Chocolate Bar

With Christmas, came a chocolate bar.  Delicious, but not just.  When you check the cover, the small note promises "love poem inside"  Lovely added value:


A Magic Moment I Remember

A magic moment I remember:
I raised my eyes and you were there,
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that's beautiful and rare.

I pray to mute despair and anguish,
To vain pursuits the world esteems,
Long did I near your soothing accents,
Long did your features haunt my dreams.

Time passed. A rebel storm-blast scattered
The reveries that once were mine
And I forgot your soothing accents,
Your features gracefully divine.

In dark days of enforced retirement
I gazed upon grey skies above
With no ideals to inspire me,
No one to cry for, live for, love.

Then came a moment of renaissance,
I looked up - you again are there,
A fleeting vision, the quintessence
Of all that`s beautiful and rare.
 Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowflakes

 
Snowflakes
 
Out of the bosom of the Air.
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent and soft and slow
Descends the snow. Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow