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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Raphael - Crucified Christ, Vivaldi - Concerto for Oboe No. 1 in B flat, Rainer Maria Rilke - Girl's Lament, Robert Louis Stevenson - At the Seaside

Are you enjoying Raphael's paintings?  I find them interesting, though not perhaps something I want to frame and hang, yet they are thought provoking.  This week we'll study two paintings of the crucified Christ.  Notice the emotional responses of the various people.  Compare the two paintings.  Which do you prefer and why?

Our music this week from Antonio Lucio Vivaldi is Concerto for Oboe No. 1 in B flat
  A picture of an oboeoboe the oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind ...

Our poem this week by Rainer Maria Rilke is "Girl's Lament"

In the years when we were
all children, this inclining
to be alone so much was gentle;
others' time passed fighting,
and one had one's faction,
one's near, one's far-off place,
a path, an animal, a picture.

And I still imagined, that life
would always keep providing
for one to dwell on things within,
Am I within myself not in what's greatest?
Shall what's mine no longer soothe
and understand me as a child?

Suddenly I'm as if cast out,
and this solitude surrounds me
as something vast and unbounded,
when my feeling, standing on the hills
of my breasts, cries out for wings
or for an end.

 And by Robert Louis Stevenson

            At the Seaside

 When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
      To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
      Till it could come no more.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Raphael - Vision of Ezekiel, Vivaldi - Piano Guys performing Let it Go - Vivaldi Winter,

This week our painting by Raphael is Ezekiel's vision.  The Biblical reference is Ezekiel 1.  How is this painting like the Scriptural passage?  How is it different?  What would you change if you were the artist?

Vision of Ezekiel by Raphael
After that painting it seems we need some dramatic music to go along with it so how about this dramatic video by the Piano Guys Let it Go (Disney's "Frozen") - Vivaldi's Winter.  It's also been below zero here all week so the winter scene and Vivaldi's "Winter" struck a chord with me.  I haven't seen Frozen, so I'm not endorsing the movie here, but I really enjoyed this music video, a creative twist with Vivaldi's music.  

This week's poem by Rainer Maria Rilke ponders growing old. Wisdom looks ahead and seizes the moment, will we look back with regret or pleasure in how we used our nights and days?

                    Growing Old

In some summers there is so much fruit,
the peasants decide not to reap any more.
Not having reaped you, oh my days,
my nights, have I let the slow flames
of your lovely produce fall into ashes?

My nights, my days, you have borne so much!
All your branches have retained the gesture
of that long labor you are rising from:
my days, my nights. Oh my rustic friends!

I look for what was so good for you.
Oh my lovely, half-dead trees,
could some equal sweetness still
stroke your leaves, open your calyx?

Ah, no more fruit! But one last time
bloom in fruitless blossoming
without planning, without reckoning,
as useless as the powers of millenia.

Our Robert Louis Stevenson poem goes with this week's winter theme:

Winter Time

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Raphael - The Transfiguration, Antonio Vivaldi - Flute Concertos, Rainer Maria Rilke - The Apple Orchard, Robert Luois Stevenson - The Wind

This Raphael painting, like last week's has lots of figures.  I apologize if you have already copied this work using the Picasa Web Album - because this version from Wikipedia has a bit different coloring.... This painting has beautiful, brilliant colors.  You can find the story of the Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36 or Matthew 17:1-13.  I was wondering about the meaning of the things taking place in the crowd - wonder if it could be the story of the demon-possessed boy that follows the story of the transfiguration. 

Transfigurazione (Raffaello) September 2015-1a.jpg
The Transfiguration by Raphael

Vivaldi - Flute Concertos played by Emmanuel Pahud.  Antonio Vivaldi's music seems to have so much light exuberance to it!  

Rainer Maria Rilke  has such an interesting way of communicating!  What do you think of his poetry? I've included  a woodcut by Durer as mentioned in the 10th line....

 The Apple Orchard    

Flight into Egypt - Durer
Come let us watch the sun go down
and walk in twilight through the orchard's green.
Does it not seem as if we had for long
collected, saved and harbored within us
old memories? To find releases and seek
new hopes, remembering half-forgotten joys,
mingled with darkness coming from within,
as we randomly voice our thoughts aloud
wandering beneath these harvest-laden trees
reminiscent of Durer woodcuts, branches
which, bent under the fully ripened fruit,
wait patiently, trying to outlast, to
serve another season's hundred days of toil,
straining, uncomplaining, by not breaking
but succeeding, even though the burden
should at times seem almost past endurance.
Not to falter! Not to be found wanting!

Thus must it be, when willingly you strive
throughout a long and uncomplaining life,
committed to one goal: to give yourself!
And silently to grow and to bear fruit.

Our Robert Louis Stevenson Poem this week is 

The Wind

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
     O wind, a-blowing all day long,
     O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
     O wind, a-blowing all day long,
     O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
     O wind, a-blowing all day long,
     O wind, that sings so loud a song!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Raphael - The School of Athens, Vivaldi - Bassoon Concertos, Rainer Maria Rilke - A Walk, Robert Louis Stevenson - The Sun's Travels

I'd like to feature a mural this week.  Raphael painted several frescoes in the palace in the Vatican in Rome.  This first picture shows the room, the second is the mural itself.

The School of Athens - Raphael
 If you compare the figures in the painting with the door beneath them in the picture of the room, it looks like the figures are full sized - as if they were real people.  It would be wonderful to stand in this room and study this painting up close.  This painting includes many of the great philosphers - the central figures are Plato and Aristotle.  " Commentators have suggested that nearly every great ancient Greek philosopher can be found in the painting, but determining which are depicted is difficult, since Raphael made no designations outside possible likenesses, and no contemporary documents explain the painting."  " What is evident is Raphael’s artistry in orchestrating a beautiful space, continuous with that of viewers in the Stanza, in which a great variety of human figures, each one expressing "mental states by physical actions," interact, in a "polyphony" unlike anything in earlier art, in the ongoing dialogue of Philosophy." From the Wikipedia Article  

You may be interested in Wikipedia's entry on this Frescoe.  It includes possibilities of who the philosophers might be and close-ups of some of them.  - The School of Athens - Wikipedia. 

                                                                    * * * * *

Our music this week by Antonio Vivaldi is Bassoon Concertos beginning with Concerto A Minor.
Playing a Bassoon

Vivaldi's music is so light and happy....

If you haven't read it yet, I recommend the children's picture book, I Vivaldi.  It gives a short, but sweet introduction to his life.  

What do you think of Rainer Maria Rilke's poems so far?  They are definitely different, but interesting.  Today's poem is short but thought provoking and even through the translation by Robert Bly you sense a beauty in the words.

           A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

 And our poem by Robert Louis Stevenson this week is
    The Sun's Travels

The sun is not a-bed, when I
At night upon my pillow lie;
Still round the earth his way he takes,
And morning after morning makes.

While here at home, in shining day,
We round the sunny garden play,
Each little Indian sleepy-head
Is being kissed and put to bed.

And when at eve I rise form tea,
Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea;
And all the children in the west
Are getting up and being dressed.