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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Raphael - The Small Cowper Madonna, Antonio Vivaldi - Flute Concerto in D Allegro and Cantibile, Rainer Maria Rilke - The Last Supper, Robert Louis Stevenson - Time to Rise


I'd like to feature another Madonna painting by Raphael this week.  Actually we will study four different Madonna paintings by Raphael this term.  What similarities and what differences do you notice as you compare last week's painting to this week's? There are many differences to note, but one thing I noticed is the difference in how this mother and child are holding their heads as opposed to last week's painting, where Mary's head was tilted toward Jesus in a protective sort of pose.  His head was also inclined toward hers.  This mother is more contemplative and the child looks more adventurous.  

The Small Cowper Madonna by Raphael

Looking for music by Antonio Vivaldi I realize we'll only get a taste of his work as there is so much of his beautiful music available!  This week I chose his Flute Concerto in D Allegro and Cantibile played by 9 year old Emma Rasmini.  Lovely music!!  I found a CD at our library with "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi so we've been listening to that as background music.  I've also ordered in a couple of biographies of Vivaldi, so I'll hopefully be able to find something to recommend if you want a book biography of his life. 

The following was Rainer Maria Rilke's response to seeing Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper"

Última Cena - Da Vinci 5.jpg
The Last Supper

They are assembled, astonished and disturbed
round him, who like a sage resolved his fate,
and now leaves those to whom he most belonged,
leaving and passing by them like a stranger.
The loneliness of old comes over him
which helped mature him for his deepest acts;
now will he once again walk through the olive grove,
and those who love him still will flee before his sight.

To this last supper he has summoned them,
and (like a shot that scatters birds from trees)
their hands draw back from reaching for the loaves
upon his word: they fly across to him;
they flutter, frightened, round the supper table
searching for an escape. But he is present
everywhere like an all-pervading twilight-hour.

 I've often quoted this short poem by Robert Louis Stevenson to my children if I need to wake them early in the morning.  

                               Time to Rise

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!"

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