Introduction and Welcome

Welcome to All Things Bright and Beautiful. If you are new to this site, I would recommend that you read my very first entry - which is an introduction and welcome to this blog. You can view it here

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sir Edwin Landseer- Isaac Van Amburgh and His Animals, Frahz Schubert - Impromptu in G Flat Majore, William Wordsworth -

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer loved painting animals and this painting is full of a variety of them!  Isaac Van Amburgh was an animal trainer.  You can read wikipedia's entry about van Amburgh here.
Isaac Van Amburgh and His Animals painted by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

A lovely piece of music by Franz Schubert today, Impromptu in G flat Major    It is played by Vladimir Horowitz, one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.  You can read about him here.

here is a link to the "Best of Schubert" on Youtube.

Another lovely poem by William Wordsworth.  It makes me want to drop everything and spend a day outside.

          IT is the first mild day of March:
          Each minute sweeter than before
          The redbreast sings from the tall larch
          That stands beside our door.

          There is a blessing in the air,
          Which seems a sense of joy to yield
          To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
          And grass in the green field.

          My sister! ('tis a wish of mine)
          Now that our morning meal is done,                          10
          Make haste, your morning task resign;
          Come forth and feel the sun.

          Edward will come with you;--and, pray,
          Put on with speed your woodland dress;
          And bring no book: for this one day
          We'll give to idleness.

          No joyless forms shall regulate
          Our living calendar:
          We from to-day, my Friend, will date
          The opening of the year.                                    20

          Love, now a universal birth,
          From heart to heart is stealing,
          From earth to man, from man to earth:
          --It is the hour of feeling.

          One moment now may give us more
          Than years of toiling reason:
          Our minds shall drink at every pore
          The spirit of the season.

          Some silent laws our hearts will make,
          Which they shall long obey:                                 30
          We for the year to come may take
          Our temper from to-day.

          And from the blessed power that rolls
          About, below, above,
          We'll frame the measure of our souls:
          They shall be tuned to love.

          Then come, my Sister! come, I pray,
          With speed put on your woodland dress;
          And bring no book: for this one day
          We'll give to idleness. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer - The Stag, Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major, William Wordsworth - My Heart Leaps Up

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer is an artist that I've admired since I saw a work of his in an old Childcraft Art & Music children's art appreciation book.  It is very hard to find biographies written about him though there are a few old copies.  He enjoyed painting animals.  This weeks painting is of a regal stag.
Scene in Braemar- Highland Deer

Our new musician is Franz Schubert.  You can read a wikipedia biographical sketch of his life and music here.

Our first featured piece of music by Schubert is Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major.  I hope you enjoy this lovely piece of music.

A children's biography to consider is Franz Schubert - Franz Schubert and his merry friends by Opal Wheeler.

I'm still fascinated by William Wordsworth and we haven't had time yet to read a biography of his life so we plan to continue for another season with Wordsworth and his wonderful poetry.  If you're tired of his poetry you may want to look back in the archives for another poet.  

      My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
  A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
  Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be 
Bound each to each by natural piety.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mary Cassatt - Mother Combing Her Child's Hair, Frederic Chopin: Raindrop Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15, William Wordsworth - The Kitten and the Falling Leaves

I like this painting by Mary Cassatt of a mother combing her little girl's hair.  They both look gentle and sweet.  The use of a mirror to the left adds an interesting added perspective of them.  
The impressionistic style is very obvious in the clothing and chair with all the little strokes of color.  This painting is made with pastel and gouche on tan paper.  Pastel is chalks and gouche is opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance.
Mary Cassatt - Mother Combing Her Child's Hair
I have really come to appreciate Mary Cassatt as we have studied her work and read a short biography of her life.  I like how she chose common, comfortable scenes for her paintings.  I didn't realize how impressive this was until I read that this was unusual in her time when most paintings of people were formal and it was a new thing to use bright colors and informal settings.  Next week we will begin studying paintings by Sir Edwin Landseer.
A final piece by Frederic Chopin today is very contemplative.  Frederic Chopin - "Raindrop" Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15.  The following is the text provided by the person who uploaded this piece to You-tube:  

Beginning in D-Flat Major, this piece focuses on inner confliction and the contemplation of the solitary self. The composition was born from the mind of Frédéric Chopin in 1858 during his stay at the Valldemossa monastery. Amantine Dupin once commented, "It casts the soul into a terrible dejection. Maurice and I had left [Chopin] in good health one morning to go shopping in Palma for things we needed at our "encampment." The rain came in overflowing torrents. We made three leagues in six hours, only to return in the middle of a flood. We got back in absolute dark, shoeless, having been abandoned by our driver to cross unheard of perils. We hurried, knowing how our sick one would worry. Indeed he had, but now was as though congealed in a kind of quiet desperation, and, weeping, he was playing his wonderful prelude. Seeing us come in, he got up with a cry, then said with a bewildered air and a strange tone, "Ah, I was sure that you were dead." When he recovered his spirits and saw the state we were in, he was ill, picturing the dangers we had been through, but he confessed to me that while waiting for us he had seen it all in a dream, and no longer distinguishing the dream from reality, he became calm and drowsy. While playing the piano, persuaded that he was dead himself, he saw himself drown in a lake. Heavy drops of icy water fell in a regular rhythm on his breast, and when I made him listen to the sound of the drops of water indeed falling in rhythm on the roof, he denied having heard it. He was even angry that I should interpret this in terms of imitative sounds. He protested with all his might—and he was right to—against the childishness of such aural imitations. His genius was filled with the mysterious sounds of nature, but transformed into sublime equivalents in musical thought, and not through slavish imitation of the actual external sounds. His composition of that night was surely filled with raindrops, resounding clearly on the tiles of the Charterhouse, but it had been transformed in his imagination and in his song into tears falling upon his heart from the sky."

Another thoughtful poem by William Wordsworth - He uses a simple pattern of rhyming every two or occasionally three lines.  

The Kitten and the Falling Leaves

That way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the Kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,

Withered leaves -- one -- two -- and three --
From the lofty elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,

Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed

Sylph or Faery hither tending, --
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.

-- But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!
First at one, and then its fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;

There are many now -- now one --
Now they stop and there are none.
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!

With a tiger-leap half-way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:

Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjurer;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.

Were her antics played in the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care

For the plaudits of the crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!

'Tis a pretty baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet;
Here, for neither Babe nor me,
Other play-mate can I see.

Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)

And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this orchard's narrow space,
And this vale so blithe a place;

Multitudes are swept away
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in bands
Travelled into distant lands;

Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighbourhood;
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,

With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside.
Where is he that giddy Sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colours bright,

Who was blest as bird could be,
Feeding in the apple-tree;
Made such wanton spoil and rout,
Turning blossoms inside out;

Hung-head pointing towards the ground --
Fluttered, perched, into a round
Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!
Prettiest Tumbler ever seen!

Light of heart and light of limb;
What is now become of Him?
Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,

When the year was in its prime,
They are sobered by this time.
If you look to vale or hill,
If you listen, all is still,

Save a little neighbouring rill,
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitter hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain;

Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy:

Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety?

Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every creature;

Whatsoe'er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show, 0
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks, --

Spreads with such a living grace
O'er my little Dora's face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,

That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine,
That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless pair!

And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason,
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,

Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
-- Pleased by any random toy;
By a kitten's busy joy,

Or an infant's laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy;
I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;

Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take,
Even from things by sorrow wrought,
Matter for a jocund thought,

Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mary Cassatt's mother, Frederic Chopin - Mazurka in C Sharp Minor, Op. 6, No. 2, William Wordsworth - To a Child Written in Her Album

Last week I featured a picture of Mary Cassatt's brother and nephew.  This week's paintings are of her mother.  As I said last week, Mary Cassatt was very devoted to her family.  She paints her mother as a strong figure, but you feel the admiration Mary had for her.  

A second Mazurka by Frederic Chopin explained and played here by Marjan Kiepura:  Mazurka in C Sharp Minor, Op. 6, No. 2.

A very short but meaningful poem by
William Wordsworth

To a Child Written in Her Album

Small service is true service while it lasts:
Of humblest Friends, bright Creature! scorn not one:
The Daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dew-drop from the Sun.