Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bowling Pins

When I arrived at Mabel's Sunday afternoon she was in the middle of a game she had invented in collaboration with Mamma. Several wooden Santas, a cork, and a Lego building were lined up as bowling pins. A round blue plastic Christmas ornament was the bowling ball. Mabel let me bowl, once I had put my stuff down and we had kissed Mamma as she headed out the door.

Baby Goat came along with me again to visit Mabel at her house. Mabel asked me to take her picture on the sofa with Baby Goat. She posed our small friend with the blue plastic Christmas ornament bowling ball. Then she carefully positioned herself by Baby Goat's side and told me to take the picture. When she saw it in the viewfinder Mabel approved and I hope she will like it just as much when she sees it on her parents' computer or phone, after this is posted.

Mabel showed me the three family Christmas stockings in the new good place discovered for them, the first Christmas in the remodeled living room. Mabel's is on the left. There was also a popcorn garland newly hanging in the window.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Organ Shutters





Alessandro Turchi (1578-1649) painted the fronts and backs of a pair of organ shutters in 1606 for the Accademia Filarmonica in Verona. According to art historians at the Royal Collection, Turchi's designs originated in emblematic engravings personifying arts and virtues, first published in Cesare Ripa's Iconologia of 1603. About 150 years later, the shutters were purchased and brought to England by an agent working for George III.

Friday, November 28, 2014


In 1939 Cecil Beaton made several portrait-photographs of Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). In the Buckingham Palace gardens they used the Summer House (above) and the Waterloo Vase (below) as scenic emblems of dynastic continuity.

Queen Elizabeth moved inside the Palace and changed into a Norman Hartnell "crinoline-dress" for the photos below.

Beaton's close-up features Queen Victoria's coronation necklace worn together with Queen Elizabeth's own coronation necklace. How vividly Beaton can be imagined arranging those ropes of enormous, unadorned diamonds above Hartnell's ruffles and sequins.

In the Beaton portrait below, taken 25 years later, Elizabeth is wearing Queen Alexandra's wedding necklace.

The final Beaton picture of the Queen Mother was taken in 1970, an azalea-printed tea dress against banks of azaleas.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mabel's Turkey

Mabel and her mother and father put great thought and care into setting their table for Thanksgiving dinner. They brought out the most special china, passed down from Mabel's great-grandmother. After nap the geographically nearby grandparents arrived. Everyone was conscious of specially missing Mabel's faraway grandmother.

When we sat down at the table Mabel brought along the foil-wrapped chocolate turkey Grandma had just given her. It supervised Mabel's efforts to try a bite of everything.

André-Antoine Bernard

Jacques-Louis David
Portrait of André-Antoine Bernard

A small collection of European drawings from the large collections at the Getty Museum. The 1795 drawing above was made in prison. Both Jacques-Louis David and André-Antoine Bernard had committed all their energies to the French Revolution. During 1793 and 1794 they both sat on the Committee of Public Safety. This small group of Revolutionary politicians, led by Robespierre, sent thousands of French citizens to death on the guillotine. Many of these same middle-class revolutionaries also signed special warrants authorizing the execution of the King and Queen.   

Christ Preaching in the Temple
c. 1625

Study of a Seated Young Man
c. 1619

Agostino Carracci
Kneeling Figure
c. 1582-85

Agostino Carracci
Cupid Overpowering Pan
c. 1590

Agostino Carracci
Triton Blowing a Conch
c. 1600

Nicolas Poussin
Forest Path
c. 1635-40

Laurent La Hyre
Liberation of St. Peter
c. 1647

Anthony van Dyck
c. 1620

Giorgio Vasari
Nude Stdy 
c. 1555-65

Pieter Jansz Saenredam
Choir and North Ambulatory at the Church of Saint Bavo, Haarlem

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Isabella of Portugal

Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden
Portrait of Isabella of Portugal
c. 1450

Gentile da Fabriano
Coronation of the Virgin
c. 1420

Bernardino Fungai
Madonna and Child with Two Hermit Saints

Alessandro Allori
The Abduction of Proserpine

Fra Bartolommeo
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with St. John the Baptist
c. 1509

Lorenzo Lotto
Madonna and Child with Two Donors
c. 1525-30

Anthony van Dyck
The Apostle Simon
c. 1618

Peter Paul Rubens
The Virgin as the Woman of the Apocalypse
c. 1623

Gerrit Battem
Figures on a Frozen Canal

Three artifacts at the Getty Museum from each of three faraway centuries. There will be a prize for anybody who can discover any linking principle here (beyond personal caprice).