Friday, April 18, 2014

Nina Cassian - RIP

Nina Cassian, an exiled Romanian poet who sought refuge in the United States after her poems satirizing the regime of President Nicolae Ceausescu fell into the hands of his secret police, died on Monday at her home in Manhattan. She was 89.
Intense, passionate and cleareyed, Ms. Cassian’s poetry often centered on the nature of erotic love and — both before her exile and after — of loss, death and decay. In “Ballad of the Jack of Diamonds,” published in The New Yorker in 1990 in a translation by Richard Wilbur, she wrote:

Nina Cassian read her poetry at Cooper Union in New York in 2003.  
Credit Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times
Here is the Jack of Diamonds, clad
In the rusty coat he’s always had.
His two dark brothers wish him dead,
As does the third, whose hue is red. ...
One brother, on his breast and sleeves,
Is decked with tragic, spadelike leaves.
The next has crosses for décor.
The motif of the third is gore.
The Jack of Diamonds is dead,
Leaving a vacuum in his stead.
This ballad seems at least twice-told.
Well, all Rumanian plots are old.

The New York Times 

RIP Nina Cassian

'In unele clipe ideale, sunt pasarea maiastra-a lui Brancusi.
Mi-e gatul ca un cast lunecus
pentru mainile tale. '

Thursday, April 17, 2014

IUDA SI NOI

 

 




IUDA. “Vai, cat de mult rau fac… acei oameni nelegiuiti care vand pe ai lor si care tradeaza dragostea, prietenia, fratietatea…”

“Lasa-l tu pe Iuda, intoarce-ti mai degraba luarea-aminte asupra ta…!”

“Dar ochii vinovati ori se ascund, ori se obrăznicesc, atunci când nu vor să se plece…”

IUDA SI NOI



“Pe ziua de astazi – iata, prin altele, ce amintire amara: mai-marii iudeilor s-au adunat in casa lui Caiafa si chibzuiau cum sa-L prinda prin viclenie pe Domnul Iisus si sa-L dea mortii. Atunci, nefiind rugat de nimeni, a venit la ei unul din cei doisprezece, Iuda Iscarioteanul, si a zis: “Ce voiti sa imi dati, si eu Il voi da pe El voua?” Ei i-au dat treizeci de arginti. Cand am citit locul acesta din Scriptura, sufletul meu s-a umplut de nemultumire – si asupra mai-marilor iudei, si asupra lui Iuda. Ce aveau in vedere acesti mai-mari, de au atras asupra lor si a poporului vina si pedeapsa pentru uciderea de Dumnezeu? Si cum a putut sa se hotarasca la asa o fapta Iuda, care intotdeauna era asa de apropiat de Domnul si asa limpede vazuse intiparita in El plinatatea Dumnezeirii?

Dupa aceea, gandul meu s-a mutat la caracterul tradarii lui Iuda; si in timp ce cugetam la lucrul acesta, din constiinta au inceput sa rasara una dupa alta propriile mele fapte, foarte asemanatoare cu fapta lui Iuda. Cu cat ma gandeam mai mult, cu atat semanau mai tare. Atunci, in locul nemultumirii impotriva lui Iuda, a inceput sa renasca temerea pentru mine insumi, si glasul launtric mi-a grait: “Lasa-l tu pe Iuda, intoarce-ti mai degraba luarea-aminte asupra ta si ingrijeste-te sa scapi de soarta lui amara”. Cu acest indemn, fratilor, ma infatisez si eu voua. Aveam de gand sa va infatisez cat de neagra este tradarea lui Iuda. Acum, insa, zic: sa-l lasam pe Iuda. Sa cercetam mai bine faptele noastre, ca sa curatim din viata noastra tot ce poarta vreo trasatura a caracterului lui Iuda – si prin aceasta sa scapam de pedeapsa cereasca ce a cazut asupra lui.

 

Caravaggio - The Taking Of Christ




'I recall those series like 'Civilization' where Mr Clarke the cultured man, eloquently told me, on TV in my living room, about the great masters.
I almost believed him he was so good at it. I don't believe anyone.
You need to have seen a bit to be able to argue a way through a bluff.
Personally I don’t prescribe to Clarke’s waffling through the series especially about Henry Moore. Especially when you know he was being given sculptures by the artist on the cheap, by the sculptor he was waxing lyrical about. I think he got it wrong, and most of his work is no more than a formula.
His wartime underground paintings are rubbish. They sum up nothing other than a man with a bit more talent than most, doodling. Whiling away the hours.

People are usually up there because you are on your knees looking up at them. AA rolling stone gathers moss. One writer carries on where the previous left off, the myth grows. Who will question an art critic who is published?
I always want to question the credibility of any writer, as I find that the people who write about artists couldn’t emulsion a wall if you gave them a 10 inch wallying brush.
I once said to a lady who wanted to write about throwing a pot, “Why don’t you learn to throw one then you can write about it”.
That didn’t go down too well, she argued that you don’t have to be an artisan to understand the emotion of a craft.
I argued that you have to have a certain amount of understanding of skill to be able to talk about it, there are those that do, and those that write about doing it.
You have to have seen a decent amount of art good, bad and Henry Moore, in order to be able to differentiate from what you are being told, and what you should think, what you understand and what you may think, you may understand.

How can you understand emotion, when art bleeds if you haven’t bled yourself?

How can you understand how difficult this is to achieve if you have not got a brush out and give it a go.

Even if you get some way and fail at least you know how hard it is. There are always those who say “I cant do that” and then give up. Others that have to work at it and comes later after a lifetime of study.

And then there is Caravaggio.....genius, pure utter genius.

Caravaggio (Michelangelo da Merisi)
The Taking of Christ, 1602
Society of Jesus of Ireland, on loan to the National Gallery of Ireland
inv. no. 14,072 Copyright © 2014 National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.


Its like he was born with a brush, from a womb of paint instead of placenta.
Its as if he knew how to mix it from birth, as if someone has shown him a secret way to see life. Dare I even say he was born to a holy angel who really did sprinkle something over him that nobody else has.
Something that renders all those who come after him a student and all those before arguably irrelevant.
Its not my style, most old masters are stuffy but this paint packs a punch, a Rhapsody in Black with an unbelievable rawness that allows you to have involuntary movements.
That curls your lip and makes you cry, or die, on your feet. For you know that once you have seen, and I only mean, really seen, into the depth of his imagination, nothing will ever be the same again.
I tried not to be embarrassed when I discovered The Taking Of Christ...........there were people all around. Some of them were even watching, waiting for reactions. It is right that you don’t care what anyone thinks that your involuntary spasms mean more to you, that you don’t care. Because you just cant help yourself you have been floored with an uppercut, and it was done with paint and a brush.
This is before you even look, at the picture and the detail and what it is about. This is religious and you know most of the story was made up to kid the silly plebeians that there really was a miracle from two loaves and three fishes and that some disciple didn’t sneak away get the rest of the food to feed the five thousand from a shop down the road, in the town and they sneaked the food into the party.
This sight would even convince me that there was a God and Jesus was his son, and the Jesus was betrayed by Judas....... because Caravaggio was there, and he saw it, and what’s more he took a picture of it, and then copied it down meticulously after the event, and it was just like it was.
Then your mind starts thinking how stupid that would sound if you actually said that.
So how did he get this onto a canvas from a thought, from a story?
Vag must have been so absorbed in the whole world of what he was painting that he must have been near to popping with his blood boiling. He must have been a simmering pot, a pressure cooker. What makes someone take this route? Just what did he take to pump his adrenalin through his veins and make religion believable? Even to non believers such as myself.
The subject, ah, yes the subject. He decided to make it the very moment that Jesus is betrayed as if a war photographer had raised his lens at the very time a bomb had gone off and captured an explosion, in real time.
Vag does it better, with laborious strokes of bristle. It must have taken forever to paint such is the apparent skill. The marvel is, how do you make something explode when it takes so long how can you capture a split second when it takes a year.
How can you sum up the work of a genius that makes you cry, on the spot, and not because of the story but because of the character in the faces, and the shades of reflection, from the lamp, held aloft, that makes a spot on the armour glisten, and then reflects a spot which shows you just how the lamp bounced the light around.......a painting.
I hear Hendrix in my head and then Tubular bells then Choral cantations, throw in a verse or two of some gut wrenching blues, and all the time I hear nothing.
He takes you into a world that you never knew and you are there, you troll the canvas looking for mistakes and it only captivates you more. Then after ten minutes longer you see something that he knew would take ten minutes to see, and then there is more.
When an artist makes flesh tremble it makes mine do the same. Shivers run up the back and karate chop you in the neck, making your head move. You go up close and see the brush strokes, the hand of a master with a indefatigable hand. A hand so strong and yet so delicate as to paint the white spot in the corner of a betrayed eyes, oh and a dot on a quivering hand and I am not even looking right now at a copy, I can remember the picture as if I am looking at it now.
It is singed into my memory I knew he was described by the likes of Clarke as a master but he is more that that, he is a link to another world before camera obscurer and pin hole magic happened. How can you make such raw with ground up pigment from the earth.
Eventually I got up and walked away, I don’t know if that has ever happened to me before certainly never with such intensity of soul.
All the other paintings I looked at seemed tame by comparison. I walked into room of Yeats artwork. He had become the darling of the Dublin-esque, and I laughed.
I had never seen anything that failed so miserably. To compare is not fair, a confidence trickster with a magician. I laughed out loud at the disgrace that had invaded my space. An insult to my senses. But for sure even without the controversy of his life, Caravaggio will only come along once in a century and for fifteen minutes, I met him.


The painting had been lost http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Taking_of_Christ_(Caravaggio)
 It had been hanging in the Dublin Jesuits dining room for only a few to see and was wrongly attributed as a Dutch Master it was rediscovered in the 1990's and now hangs proudly for all to see.

This is what the NGA says about it(the spelling mistakes are theirs nit mine)  http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/caravbr-2.htm


The painting represents Jesus Christ being captured in the Garden of Gethsemane by soldiers who were led to him by one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot. Tempted by the promise of financial reward, Judas agreed to identify his master by kissing him: "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away safely" (Mark 14:44). Caravaggio focuses on the culminating moment of Judas’ betrayal, as he grasps Christ and delivers his treacherous kiss. Christ accepts his fate with humility, his hands clasped in a gesture of faith, while the soldiers move in to capture him. At the center of the composition, the first soldier’s cold shining armor contrasts with the vulnerability of the defenseless Christ. He offers no resistance, but gives in to his persecutors’ harsh and unjust treatment, his anguish conveyed by his furrowed brow and down-turned eyes. The image would have encouraged viewers to follow Christ’s example, to place forgiveness before revenge, and to engage in spiritual rather than physical combat. Caravaggio presents the scene as if it were a frozen moment, to which the over-crowded composition and violent gestures contribute dramatic impact. This is further intensified by the strong lighting, which focuses attention on the expressions of the foreground figures. The contrasting faces of Jesus and Judas, both placed against the blood-red drapery in the background, imbue the painting with great psychological depth. Likewise, the terrorized expression and gesture of the fleeing man, perhaps another of Christ’s disciples, convey the emotional intensity of the moment. The man carrying the lantern at the extreme right, who looks inquisitively over the soldiers’ heads, has been interpreted as a self-portrait.'

by the courtesy of Wayne Colquhoun

 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Romanian Royal Train -Trenul Regal






















It has carried kings, a dictator and an American president across Romania and now the Royal Train sits Buchares railway station waiting for visitors.
Made in 1928 in Milan, the train was used by royal family until 1948, when King Michael, in its luxurious carriages, took his last lunch on Romanian territory before going into exile.
During communism, the train, furnished with Cordoba leather, nut tree and rose wood, Murano glass and Bohemia crystal,
served as the presidential train for Nicolae Ceausescu until 1977, after which it was replaced by a Romanian-made train.
In 1975, the train hosted American president Gerard For and state secretary Henry Kisinger, who travelled across Romania together with Ceausescu.
Made of 5 wagons, it is currently owned and managed by the Romanian railways company CFR.



Pe vremea regelui Carol al II-lea cele mai rapide trenuri parcurgeau in sub 135 de minute cei 120 km dintre Bucuresti si Sinaia. Astazi cele mai iuti trenuri fac sub 90 de minute, insa niciunul nu se apropie de luxul din trenul regal.

Anul acesta trenul regal are si o locomotiva de pe vremea monarhiei, una cu aburi produsa in 1936 la fabrica din Resita care incepuse productia de locomotive inca dinaintea anului 1880, pe vremea austriecilor, iar in perioada Romaniei Mari asigura aproape in totalitate nevoile retelei interne. Interiorul locomotivei este auster, dominat de robineti, cazan si angrenajele specifice "pufaitoarelor" care au dominat caile ferate romane intre 1870 si 1960.

Trenul regal avea 12 vagoane in momentul cand Regele Mihai a calatorit pana la granita de vest la inceput de 1948 cand a fost silit sa abdice

Acum pot fi vizitate are cinci vagoane, dintre care cel mai interesant este vagonul - sufragerie unde masa mare este din lemn de nuc si trandafiri, iar scaunele sunt imbracate in piele de cordoba. La lampi s-a folosit sticla de Murano si cristal de Boemia, pe pereti sunt tablouri cu figuri importante din Casa Regala a Romaniei, dar si un tablou cu harta Romaniei mari.

Celelalte vagoane sunt de dormit, insa nu unele banale. E dominanta culoarea visinie, traditionala pentru Caile Ferate Romane, insa gasesti si o cada de baie mare, dusuri, oglinzi elegante si paturi confortabile, demne de o vila, nu de un tren. Clantele de la usi si manerele de la geamuri sunt elegante, perdelele sunt si ele mai stilate, iar la capat de vagon se afla un cazan cu lemne pentru incalzire.

Vagoanele au fost construite la Milano in 1928, trenul a fost folosit un deceniu de familia regala pentru calatorii nu doar spre Sinaia, ci si pana la Savarsin, iar dupa al doilea razboi mondial a devenit tren prezidential, in el purtandu-se in 1955 discutiile dintre Gheorghiu-Dej si Hrusciov, pe tema retragerii trupelor sovietice din tara. Tot cu acest tren a fost facuta o calatorie speciala intre Bucuresti si Sinaia cand presedintele SUA, Gerald Ford, l-a vizitat pe Ceausescu in 1975.

Acum, trenul apartine Societatii Feroviare de Turism care il inchiriaza companiilor si institutiilor care il solicita.

http://life.hotnews.ro

 
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