Dialogue: Merce + John (1972)
Happy 100th, John Cage! Cage made his first headline visit to the Walker in 1964 (as musical advisor to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company) and he would return with Cunningham many times over the next 25 years in a variety of incarnations, including four artist residencies.
Cage created his own instrumentation to fit the precise needs of his compositions. He viewed all sounds as legitimate musical territory. In his quest to locate a music that held no fixed meaning but would elucidate the oneness of everyday life and art, he embraced the use of silence as sound in formal composition (as in his classic 4’33”).
Centennial celebration events are happening all over the country and internationally. Check out the list here (and take a moment to enjoy the photo of Cage in a birthday hat and send a birthday wish).
The Alhambra Vase
Late 14th - Early 15th century
Earthenware painted over glaze
H: 77.2 W: 68.2 cm
Spain“Mariano Fortuny, the famed textile and costume designer, bought the Freer Vase from a tavern in Granada. The bronze stand, inspired by the Fountain of the Lions at the Alhambra, was designed by Fortuny. The vase is missing its collar, neck, winglike handles, and lustered surface, but is a close cousin to other surviving Alhambra vases, including the vase known as the Alhambra Vase, now in the Museo de la Alhambra in Granada. Its present state only hints at its former appearance, as it must have been among the most magnificent of all of the late Alhambra vases. Its pleasing proportions are accentuated by the placement of an inscription band at its widest point; the contents of the inscription are unique among these vases. This inscription is autonomous, in that, it makes the vase speak in the first person. Like the inscription on the pyxis and other inscriptions that survive in stucco at the Alhambra palace, this one asks the viewer to contemplate the beauty of the object and its setting.
Inscriptions: Deer: Good health; Roundels: Good health. Central band: O thou onlooker who art adorned with the splendor of the dwelling / Look at my shape today and contemplate: thou wilt see my excellence / For I appear to be made of silver and my clothing from blossoms / My happiness lies in the hands of he who is my owner, underneath the canopy.”
Coccolithophores are microscopic algae that first appeared 220 million years ago, and flourished during the cretaceous period. They produce peculiar plates called cocoliths out of calcium carbonate, and incorporate them into their shells. As they die and sink to the ocean floor, they remove carbon from the atmosphere and produce chalk. This biological activity is an important regulator the global carbon cycle.
White Handed Tree Frog - Hudson Garcia
(Froggie, what long legs you have!)
Self-portrait at the Easel, 1532
From Wiki: “Sofonisba Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (c. 1532 – November 16, 1625) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance.
Sofonisba Anguissola was born in Cremona, Lombardy around 1532, the oldest of seven children, six of whom were daughters. Her father, Amilcare Anguissola, was a member of the Genoese minor nobility. Sofonisba’s mother, Bianca Ponzone, was also of an affluent family of noble background.
Her aristocratic father made sure that Sofonisba and her sisters received a well-rounded education that included the fine arts. Anguissola was fourteen years old when her father sent her with her sister Elena to study with Bernardino Campi, a respected portrait and religious painter of the Lombard school, also from Cremona, Sofonisba’s home town. When Campi moved to another city, Sofonisba continued her studies with the painter Bernardino Gatti (known as Il Sojaro). Sofonisba’s apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art.
Dates are uncertain, but Anguissola probably continued her studies under Gatti for about three years (1551–1553).
Sophonisba’s most important early work is Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1550 Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena). The double portrait depicts her art teacher in the act of painting a portrait of her.
In 1554, at age twenty-two, Sofonisba traveled to Rome, where she spent her time sketching various scenes and people. While in Rome, she met Michelangelo through the help of another painter who knew her work well. Meeting Michelangelo was a great honor for Sofonisba and she had the benefit of being informally trained by the great master.
When he made a request for her to draw a weeping boy, Sofonisba drew ‘Child bitten by a crab’ and sent it back to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent (this sketch would continue to be discussed and copied for the next fifty years among artists and the aristocracy).
Michelangelo subsequently gave Anguissola sketches from his notebooks to draw in her own style and offered advice on the results. For at least two years Sofonisba continued this informal study, receiving substantial guidance from Michelangelo.
Experiences as a female artist
Although Sofonisba enjoyed much more encouragement and support than the average woman of her day, her social class did not allow her to transcend the constraints of her sex. Without the possibility of studying anatomy or drawing from life (it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes), she could not undertake the complex multi-figure compositions required for large-scale religious or history paintings.
Instead, she searched for possibilities of a new style of portraiture, with subjects set in informal ways. Self-portraits and members of her own family were her most frequent subjects, as seen in such paintings as Self-Portrait (1554, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna), The Chess Game (1555, Muzeum Narodowe, Poznań), that depicts three of her sisters Lucia, Minerva and Europa, and Portrait of Amilcare, Minerva and Asdrubale Anguissola (c. 1557-1558, Nivaagaards Malerisambling, Niva, Denmark).” via: wiki
Self-portrait with Bernardino Campi, 1550
“There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.”
— Émile Zola from a letter to Paul Cézanne (16 April 1860), as published in Paul Cézanne : Letters (1995) edited by John Rewald
(Image: Paul Alexis Reading a Manuscript to Emile Zola (1870) by Paul Cézanne)