Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it. — Flannery O’Connor (via tierradentro)
Beauty is an event: it happens when the Whole, the All, offers itself to us in the fragment, when the Infinite makes itself little. — Bruno Forte (via caravaggista)
The Wizard of Oz
LISTEN TO THIS LISTEN TO THIS LISTEN TO THIS
If you fall down seven times, get up eight.
The Work of Art as Religious Enactment. Georges de la Tour’s The Repentant Magdalene (essay by David Jasper) -
In the art of the Counter-Reformation, Mary Magdalene, like other saints, could sometimes be enlisted as an instrument of ecclesial propaganda in the celebration of the sacraments: in Francesco Vanni’s painting The Last Communion of Mary Magdalen (c. 1600), for example, the legendary Bishop Maximim (who was, according to The GoldenLegend, one of Christ’s original seventy-two disciples to whom St. Peter had particularly entrusted Mary), administers communion to the dying woman in a visual affirmation of the triumph of the Eucharist and of the Catholic faith over the incursions of Protestantism. But the clear implication is that the artist La Tour gives us something other, and far more than mere religious propaganda. In looking at this picture we literally join with Mary herself in her act of contemplation. Together we look into the glass, seeing, respectively, her beautiful face and the death skull, each of which she is touching. Life becomes death and death becomes, in Mary, beautiful. Through our commonality with Mary in the watching, we also touch the skull as it literally rests on the very pages of scripture, a real presence though the skull is in shadow, while her face is beautifully illuminated. Thus, to see the picture is to enter into it, and as we respond thereby to Mary’s beauty it is not, as it might have been in her former life, with the erotic gaze fuelled by aspects of the sensual, but with a sense of her human beauty already transformed and transfigured in life and through death. Mary herself, in her bodily presence, has taken us through the history of her life, which is ours also in the journey towards salvation and righteousness, and if we see in the mirror the sign of our passage through this fallen life into the next, we see in Mary’s face the overcoming of death in her ageless beauty which is her real presence amongst us. In La Tour’s art, the woman of scripture and of fabulous legend has become a reality which we know and respect, and all anecdotal and extraneous detail is eliminated in that universal stillness which Blunt so well describes. Such still-looking and profound contemplation is itself, I suggest, nothing less for us than a liturgical act.
A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value.
Her husband’s heart trusts in her and he shall lack no fortune.
She is like a merchant’s ships; from afar she brings her sustenance.
She rises while it is still nighttime, and gives food to her household and a ration to her maids.
She considers a field and buys it; from the fruit of her handiwork she plants a vineyard.
She girds her loins with might and strengthens her arms.
She senses that her enterprise is good, so her lamp is not extinguished at night.
She puts her hand to the distaff, and her palms support the spindle.
She spreads out her palm to the poor and extends her hands to the destitute.
Strength and splendor are her clothing, and smilingly she awaits her last day.
She opens her mouth with Wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She anticipates the needs of her household, and the bread of idleness, she does not eat.
Her children rise and celebrate her; and her husband, he praises her:
“Many daughters have attained valor, but you have surpassed them all.”
False is grace, and vain is beauty; a God-fearing woman, she should be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands, and she will be praised at the gates by her very own deeds.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 30
This is a really lovely piece from a genuine class act. A guy who really is worth paying attention to. I just turned 32, and I’m still trying to figure out how to live a balanced, grown-up life. Kareem gets it.
Numbers 1, 6, and 12 for sure. And yes to all the rest as well.