G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Butterfly with Stinger - James McNeill Whistler and D G Godse द ग गोडसे

Key to unravel great minds and their work often is to know what drove them - personalities, events etc.

Great D G Godse द ग गोडसे, who studied arts in pre-WW II England, I feel, was driven by two personalities all his life-Mastani मस्तानी (wife of First Bajirao Peshwa पहिला बाजीराव पेशवा 1699-1740) and artist James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903).

He was obsessed with Mastani and deeply influenced by Whistler.

Wikipedia describes Whistler as:

“an American-born, British-based painter and etcher. Averse to sentimentality in painting, he was a leading proponent of the credo "art for art's sake". He took to signing his paintings with a stylized butterfly, possessing a long stinger for a tail. The symbol was apt, for Whistler's art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, in contrast to his combative public persona. Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler titled many of his works 'harmonies' and 'arrangements'.”

I think most of it fits Godse too.

“Averse to sentimentality in art…art for art's sake… possessing a long stinger for a tail.. art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, in contrast to his combative public persona…”

“The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies” is a book by Whistler published in 1890. The book contains Whistler's letters to newspapers chronicling his many petty grievances against various acquaintances and friends.

Godse too could have written a book with the same title!

No wonder Godse wrote two wonderful essays on Whistler: “नांगी असलेले फुलपाखरू: 1 & 2” (Stinger Possessing Butterfly: 1 & 2) in 1989.

Thanks to poverty of Marathi publishing world, the book containing these essays is not well printed and has NO pictures, except the one on the cover (reproduced below left).



Artist: D G Godse द ग गोडसे c 1989 and James McNeill Whistler c 1890-1899

First time perhaps they appear together!