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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Great Art Was Born of Great Terrors...Fate of Manuel's Magpie and Finches

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977):
"...Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them..."



Orson Welles as Harry Lime ‘The Third Man’, 1949: 
"In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace - and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."


The following picture combines two snaps taken in the months of November/ December 2015.

On the left are two birds:  a sparrow eating biscuit powder laid in the steel plate and a bulbul (a member of  family Pycnonotidae, medium-sized passerine songbirds) is perched on a bar after having had its fill earlier.

On the right are two cats somewhere in my cousin's garden.



The cats above look so cute, indeed pious but I know how murderous they can get on sighting a bird.


"'They're cute and furry and cuddly, but we need to remember when we have cats as pets, we are inviting little predators into our house,' psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel told 9NEWS".

All this reminded me of  the following stunning picture.



Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zúñiga, 1787-1788, current location: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Artist: Francisco Goya

When I first saw the picture, I was focused on Goya's 'Red Boy' Manuel...but as my gaze came down, I saw the terror that was lurking in the picture....three cats are eyeing Manuel's pet magpie.

Robert Hughes in his wonderful book 'Goya', 2003 says this about the painting:
"...The little boy, who was four at the time, is wearing a rich red silk jumpsuit with silvery-white sash and collar. He holds a string whose other end is tied to the leg of a pet magpie (the eclectic bird, noted for picking up things here and there, has Goya’s calling card in its beak, complete with a design of palette and brushes). Two cats are staring at the bird with fixated, murderous concentration, waiting for the boy’s attention to stray. Nearby on the floor is a cage full of finches, which the cats will presumably polish off as well if they get a chance. On one level this may be a lighthearted painting, but on others it is no such thing. It is another example of Goya’s awareness of how contingent life is: how at any moment, without warning, death can break into it, and it will be too late to save anything or anyone. Neither the magpie nor its noble young owner can relax. The price of privilege is unremitting tension, for birds as for people...."

Manuel himself died young at the age of just eight. There probably is no record of what happened to the magpie and finches.



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