My last ttot, wishing for a peter-gunn-dancing kinda day, suggests how distraction slip-streams me from one place to the next in a sort of messy non-linear time travel.
My initial post to “catch up” on my things of thankful since April 4 intended to chronicle several broad, then more specific areas/ideas/themes highlighting my daily gratitudes. However, I am easily distracted and often digress. (Ask anyone who has ever listened to me try and tell a “shortened” version of anything).
I started with being grateful for having access to Netflix while visiting friends, leading to some very good movie and series watching and conversations. The first watched, and by far the best, was The Woman in Gold. Searching for the price of admission to see the painting by Gustav Klimt (in the title) lead me from an expensive art gallery in New York City (Neue Galerie) through Klimt’s “gold phase” to images of a second, later much less well known portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Klimt’s benefactor’s wife and model.
Which in term, lead me to two images of “Judith;” again one in gold; the other note, said to be inspired by Adele. The likeness and erotic nature of these paintings added to the suggestions that the artist and his wealthy muse were lovers.
“All art is erotic.” Gustav Klimt
The term “the lively arts” led me on a much merrier chase. To track down it’s meaning/definition; usage; origins; versions.
“All forms of popular entertainment; originally, motion pictures, vaudeville, popular music, popular dancing, writing in the vernacular, musical shows, comic strips.” from The Seven Lively Arts (1924) by Gilbert Seldes. whatdoesitmean.com
A mention of Salvador Dali’s paintings sent me on another thread of distraction:
Possibly the most intriguing project ever undertaken by Salvador Dali – one with a twist no one saw coming – was when impresario, lyricist, and theater showman Billy Rose commissioned Dali to create seven paintings for Rose’s “Seven Lively Arts” revue in 1944 at his Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Rose (1899 – 1966), who penned the popular song, “Me and My Shadow,” and whose autobiography, “Wine, Women and Words” Dali illustrated, wanted to adorn the lobby of his theater with paintings by Dali. Each was themed for one of the seven arts featured in Rose’s revue: theater, dance, ballet, opera, concert, cinema, and radio. dali.com
All the 1944 original paintings were destroyed in 1956 when a fire ripped through Rose’s Mount Kisco mansion. Subsequently, Dali attempted to reproduce these 7, adding an 8th to represent television.
I proceeded to my “source of first resource,” Wikipedia to find out more.
The featured article that day on Wikipedia’s home page was gothic boxwood miniatures. These incredible, impossible tiny carved religious objects fascinate me. I saw examples at the Metropolitan Museum and The Cloisters in New York during a trip in the mid-1980s.
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) possesses, according to Wikipedia, several of these miniatures, including one carved in the workshop of Adam Dircksz, in the Northern Netherlands. Perhaps 60 “prayer nuts” were created between 1500 and 1530. I visited the AGO, mostly as a child. So perhaps my fascination dates to the 1960s?
Subsequent searches on the AGO’s site didn’t produce a boxwood miniature, but did, without my prompting, have as the first image on a collection page, “I am half sick of shadows” by JW Waterhouse, based on a passage from the Lady of Shalott. John William Waterhouse is one of my favourite artists, discovered when I started doing creative writing on my blog. I was looking for quasi-medieval representations of women to accompany stories I told.
Which circles me back to Loreena McKennitt whose haunting music I featured on my March 23, 2019 ttot: maple sugar supermoons. She sets poems to music, as she did with The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Based on the medieval Donna di Scalotta, it tells the story of Elaine of Astolat, a young noble woman imprisoned in a tower on an island near Camelot. One of the poet’s best-known works, its vivid medieval romanticism and enigmatic symbolism inspired many painters, especially the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers.
So, once again I am thankful for distractions – these lead me on Mobius loops of enjoyment and enrichment.