Thursday, June 30, 2011

Green Sheep Book

Mabel Watson Payne's new favorite book is called Where Is The Green Sheep? She finds it intensely suspenseful no matter how often she can arrange to have it read to her.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Vacation

Mabel and Daddy have many long summer days together now for playgrounds and friends and books.

One day they visited Mamma downtown and had lunch together near her office.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From a review ...

This novel evokes a vanished age with subtlety and feeling, and among those things that have vanished is a sense of hope, the conviction that society could be bettered, that the spread of culture would lead to an increase in joy.

That is Joseph Farrell writing in the June 3rd issue of the Times Literary Supplement about Io, Jean Gabin, a recently-published posthumous novel in Italian by Goliarda Sapienza. I am ready to believe that her book is as good as Joseph Farrell says it is, mostly on the strength of the sentence from his review that I have quoted. How well in those few words he has expressed the starry-eyed confidence of my young peers (and myself) in the 60s  and their (our) subsequent, decades-long disillusionment.

From the same issue of the TLS, a poem called Management Logic by Sarah Wardle.

It is May and I am marking
poems about the deaths of fathers,
Royal Marines, anorexia,
essays on contemporary fiction and drama,
year-long projects, work placement reports,
distinguishing upper from lower seconds
on shows of analysis and individuality.
The university has just axed Philosophy.
Thought still hangs deep in the green trees.
There is a protest banner which reads:
"Those who lack imagination
cannot imagine what is lacking".
Students have occupied the Mansion Building.

Henry Fuseli
Artist Moved by the Grandeur of Ancient Ruins

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cartoons & Tapestries

I've been reading this new book from the Victoria and Albert Museum. The project originated with the visit of the present Pope to London last year. As a diplomatic gesture, he brought along a set of tapestries woven for the Sistine Chapel in the early 16th century. The Pope back in those days, Leo X, had commissioned Raphael to make large paintings of selected Acts of the Apostles to be used as models or "cartoons" for the tapestry weavers. No one at the time seemed to care what happened to the cartoons after the Flemish weavers finished using them and the tapestries had been sent off to Rome. The paintings remained in various weaving workshops for about a hundred years until acquired by King Charles I. By inheritance they now belong to Queen Elizabeth II and are on permanent display at the V&A. But until last year the cartoons and the tapestries themselves had never been seen together in the same room. Reuniting them could be seen as a graceful gesture on the part of the Vatican to signify its now-cordial sentiments toward its former arch-enemies, the Protestant English. All ten of the original tapestries survive, but only seven of the cartoons, and I show those seven pairs below.

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes

Christ's Charge to Peter

The Healing of the Lame Man

The Death of Ananias

The Conversion of the Proconsul

The Sacrifice at Lystra

Paul Preaching at Athens

Raphael : Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel tells much more about the survival (and reception) of these works over the course of the past 500 years.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spirit of Exploration

The baby-and-toddler playground at this Chinatown park is surfaced with a springy, rubber-like material -- a congenial surface for an explorer on all fours like Mabel Watson Payne.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Playground Friend

An older baby dressed all in pink introduced herself to Mabel Watson Payne at the Chinatown playground. It was news to my granddaughter that there are dolls in existence who possess their own miniature baby bottles to drink from, but this friendly child had one.

Once the process was demonstrated, Mabel Watson Payne understood immediately how to go about feeding a pretend-bottle to a doll.

Later, the new friend observed with professional interest while Mabel Watson Payne drank from a real baby bottle brought along for the purpose by her father.