Saturday, May 26, 2018

Line without Color (1500-1700)

Anonymous Italian printmaker after Correggio
Birth of Venus with Sea Deities
ca. 1510-1530
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

from A Swimmer's Dream

Dawn is dim on the dark soft water,
        Soft and passionate, dark and sweet,
Love's own self was the deep sea's daughter,
        Fair and flawless from face to feet,
Hailed of all when the world was golden,
Loved of lovers whose names beholden
Thrill men's eyes as with light of olden
        Days more glad than their flight was fleet.

– Algernon Charles Swinburne (1889)

Sebald Beham
Proportional diagram for head of horse
before 1550
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Battista Franco
Drapery study for Angel of Annunciation
ca. 1553
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Battista Franco
Two Winged Genii carrying torches
before 1561
etching, engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Philips Galle after Luca Penni
Gladiators fighting
British Museum

Hendrick van Cleve
Pons Fabricius and Pons Cestius, Rome
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

No Delicacies

Nothing pleases me anymore.

Should I
dress up a metaphor
with an almond blossom?
crucify syntax
on a light effect?
Who would rack their brains
over such superfluous things –

I have learned an understanding
with the words
that exist
(for the lowest class)


With the uncleansed sob,
with despair
(and one day despair will drive me to despair)
in the face of all this misery,
the number of sick, the cost of living.
I will manage.

I don't neglect writing,
I neglect myself.
The others
Lord knows
can use words to get by.
I am not my assistant.

Should I
take a thought captive, march it
to an illuminated sentence cell?
feed eye and ear
with the choicest word morsels?
research the libido of a vowel,
calculate the collector's value of our consonants?

With this head crushed by hail,
with writer's cramp in this hand,
under the pressure of three hundred nights,
must I
tear the paper,
wipe away the instigated word-operas,
thereby destroying: I you and he she it

we you?

(Should really. The others should.)

My part, let it be lost.

– Ingeborg Bachmann (1967), translated by Margitt Lehbert (1998)

Agostino Carracci
Holy Family with St Elizabeth, St John the Baptist, and Four Angels
ca. 1576
British Museum

Agostino Carracci
River Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt
before 1602
National Galleries of Scotland

Annibale Carracci
Holy Family
before 1609
National Galleries of Scotland

attributed to Antonio Carracci
Landscape with Latona and the Frogs
before 1618
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Giovanni Battista Pasqualini after Guercino
St Carlo Borromeo kneeling before a Crucifix, with Angels
before 1631
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Claes Jansz Visscher after Pieter Lastman
Dress of Farm Woman from Lombardy
(from series of Italian regional costumes)
before 1633
British Museum

Jacob van der Does
Five Sheep
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

attributed to Willem van Bemmel
Small landscape with couple conversing on a road
ca. 1650
British Museum

Pieter Serwouters after David Vinckboons
Man with a crossbow
before 1657
National Galleries of Scotland

Dominique Barrière after Claude Lorrain
Landscape with St George and the Dragon
ca. 1665
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge