Monday, November 17, 2008

William Blake

From Wikipedia....

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake's work is now considered seminal in the history of both poetry and the visual arts. Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language".[1] His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced".[2] Although he only once travelled any farther than a day's walk outside London over the course of his life,[3] his creative vision engendered a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God",[4] or "Human existence itself".[5]

Considered mad for his idiosyncratic views by contemporaries, later criticism regards Blake highly for his expressiveness and creativity, as well as the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as part of both the Romantic movement and "Pre-Romantic",[6] for its largely having appeared in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England, Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions,[7] as well as by such thinkers as Jacob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg.[8]

Despite these known influences, the originality and singularity of Blake's work make him difficult to classify. The 19th century scholar William Rossetti characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary,"[9] and "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors."[10]

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Cross in the Mountains

This is the first portrait that we are looking at of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). He was a German Romantic painter. Here is what I read about him from CGFA.

He began to paint in oils in 1807; one of his first canvases, The Cross in the Mountains (1807?, Staatliche Kunstsamm-lungen, Dresden), is representative of his mature style. A bold break from traditional religious painting, this work is almost pure landscape; the figure of the crucified Christ, seen from behind and silhouetted against a mountain sunset, is almost lost in the natural setting. According to Friedrich's own writings, all the elements in the composition have symbolic meanings. The mountains are allegories of faith; the rays of the setting sun symbolize the end of the pre-Christian world; and the fir trees stand for hope. Friedrich's cold, acid colors, clear lighting, and sharp contours heighten the feeling of melancholy, isolation, and human powerlessness against the ominous forces of nature expressed in his paintings. As a faculty member of the Dresden Academy, Friedrich influenced later German romantic painters. Although his reputation declined after his death, 20th-century viewers are fascinated by his imagery.

Building Character in Young Girls

"Each decision made for good, each temptation resisted, each mean thought overcome with a kind one, each stubborn feeling a brick added to the building of GOOD CHARACTER."

from A Girl Of Beauty by Carol Fiddler

A Girl of Beauty is a lovely book that I was introduced to one year when I helped to plan a Mother-Daughter Retreat. Our theme that year was building character in young girls. I got the book then, but had forgotten it on a lonely school shelf. Last night, I remembered it and dusted it off. The chapters are titled below. Each chapter is short and to the point followed by a few questions. The chapters are based on scriptures from the Bible and give an easy addition of memory work with the weekly reading. This week, for instance, we will read the chapter on Character Building. The verse that she will memorize is Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is more desirable than great riches." I'm looking forward to character development of my own in addition to helping my daughter become a girl of beauty.

  1. Character Building
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Obedience
  4. Sunshine-Makers
  5. Sincerity
  6. Careful Words
  7. Keeping Confidences
  8. Ideals
  9. Ambition
  10. A Sense of Purpose
  11. Service
  12. Personal Presentation
  13. Courtesy and Respect
  14. Loyalty
  15. Competition
  16. Disappointments
  17. Meditation
  18. Contentment
  19. Besetting Faults