Art – Lady with a fan

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She stood with a fan in her hand, her gaze reaching far beyond the fence.

She filled the museum room with grace and poise – a silent contrast to the visitors, all smart phone at hand rushing by, their short attention span turning stillness into boredom.

I was absorbed by her grace. I never asked myself any questions about what she may have been thinking. There was no need.

I stood there, wishing for her serenity to touch me. And as the visitors withered away, it did. I hope it touches you as well.

Kenza.

“Lady with a fan” by Fei Danxu (China, 1801-1850), ink on paper, hanging scroll, Qing Dynasty – a photo I took at the Shanghai Museum in June 2018.

Inspiration: Chinese New Year and serenity. 

Art – sacred geometry

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Detail of a handmade silk carpet from Kashmir (Srinagar), 20th c. (private collection).

In Ancient Greece during the geometric art period (ca. 900 to 700 BC) and still today in Islamic art, the perfection of geometry and the potentially infinite repetition of patterns were one way to represent and attain the divine.

Did you know that in every handmade carpet there is one thread of a different color invisible to the eye? This is a gesture of humility from the carpet maker since only God, in his eyes, could achieve perfection.

Kenza.

Art – Caravaggio “Annunciation”

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“Annunciation” by Caravaggio, dated 1608-1609.

For a class I will be giving, I am going in detail through forty or so representations of the annunciation, from early Christianity (3rd c.) to the early 20th c.; and among them, I admit this one by Caravaggio simply stands alone.

Kindly note that underlining this painting does not diminish the beauty, tenderness and even perfection of details in other wonderful representations (the catacombs of Rome, Byzantine mosaics, Medieval illustrated manuscripts, Giotto, Van Eyck, Da Vinci, Cristus, and so many others).

It is simply that Caravaggio gives the viewer so much to ponder through his mastery of painting light and darkness, the gestures, the seemingly simple composition and more. I will write no more and let you appreciate it.

Art via the Musée des Beaux Arts, Nancy.

Art – Buddha

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A delicate fresco and one of the earliest anthropomorphic representations of Buddha dated II-III c. AD — from the South side of the Monastery of Bagh-Gaï, Hadda Gandhara, 10 km of what is today the city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

For some 700 years, Buddha was represented through symbols such as a footprint, an empty throne or a tree. The first anthropomorphic images date from the mid II c. AD in the Gandhara region and around the Indian city of Mathura.

Photo taken at the Musée Guimet des arts asiatiques, Paris.