“BUTTERFLY - Among the ancients, an emblem of the soul and of unconscious attraction towards the light. The purification of the soul by fire, represented in Romanesque art by the burning ember placed by the angel in the prophet’s mouth, is visually portrayed on a small Mattei urn by means of an image of love…

Patience

Like that of a mountain, to make art. Especially classical styles, which I spent some time reflecting on at the Morgan Library today. Art requires painstaking, attentive gestures. Focused light. More specifically, a mind full of moonlight. Shahzia Sikander’s paintings and collage-style artwork in this exhibit, “Extraordinary Realities,” showcase her classical techniques and many layers…

Deliberate

“Cézanne is asking himself how exactly he feels about this rock, this cloud, this apple.”Jed Perl, “Interpreting Nature” in NYRB July 22, 2021 issue I think everything danced in Cézanne’s eye. “Still life” doesn’t describe the pictures he made. Today’s adventure took on the MOMA’s current exhibition of Cézanne’s drawings and watercolors. If there’s a…

Summer is for reading

So you're already lying on a patio chaise or, better yet, a hammock, reading something with which you're planning to torture undergraduates in the fall? Yes, me too. I hadn't read The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck, though I know that's the favorite among her collections. So, I'm reading it now, educating myself on the…

Effortful effortlessness

I know, that’s backwards. It’s usually “effortless effort,” the Zen approach to living. But I think it may be more realistic and compassionate to say that putting in a focused effort upfront pays off in the practice of most things. One of my friends asked me when I’m going to add “watercolorist” to my profile…