Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 23 May 1891 – Par Lagerkvist, a Swedish novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and recipient of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Some quotes from the work of Par Lagerkvist:
“Nothing is more foreign than the world of one’s childhood when one has truly left it.”
“Only the gods have many destinies and need never die. They are filled with everything and experience everything. Everything – except human happiness. That they can never know and therefore they grudge it to men. Nothing makes them so evil and cruel as that men should presume to be happy and forget them for the sake of their earthly happiness.”
“Eternity… It has nothing to do with life, I thought; it is the contrary to all life. It is something limitless, endless, a realm of death which the living must look into with horror. Was it here that I was to dwell?”
“It is incomprehensible that he should want to have these futile people here, and still more incomprehensible that he should be able to sit and listen to them and their stupid chatter. I can understand that he may occasionally listen to poets reciting their verses; they can be regarded as buffoons such as are always kept at court. They laud the lofty purity of the human soul, great events and heroic feats, and there is nothing to be said against all that, particularly if their songs flatter him. Human beings need flattery; otherwise they do not fulfill their purpose, not even in their own eyes. And both the present and the past contain much that is beautiful and noble which, without due praise, would have been neither noble nor beautiful. Above all, they sing the praises of love, which is quite as it should be, for nothing else is in such need of transformation into something different. The ladies are filled with melancholy and their breasts heave with sighs; the men gaze vaguely and dreamily into space, for they all know what it is really like and realize that this must be an especially beautiful poem.”
This Date in Art History: Born 23 May 1790 – James Pradier, a French neoclassical sculptor.
Below – “Sappho”; “The Three Graces”; “La Toilette d’Atalante”; “Phryne Removing Her Veils”; “Nyssia”; “Satyr and Bacchante.”
For Your Information: 23 May is National Taffy Day in the United States.
Below – “Studio at Kaposvar”; “Still Life with Mask”; “Woman with Three Girls”; “Arising”; “After Bath”; “Self-Portrait.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 23 May 1906 – Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright, theater director, and poet.
Some quotes from the work of Henrik Ibsen:
“It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.”
“The majority never has right on its side. Never, I say! That is one of these social lies against which an independent, intelligent men must wage war. Who is it that constitute the majority of the population in a country? Is it the clever folk, or the stupid? I don’t imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over.”
“Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness.”
“The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom-they are the pillars of society.”
“I’m no longer prepared to accept what people say and what’s written in books. I must think things out for myself, and try to find my own answer.”
Below – “The Artist’s Mother Sewing”; “Black Haired Girl”; “Cherry Tree Blossoms”; “Evening Mood”; “Girl with a Blue Hat”; “In the Garden.”
Worth a Thousand Words: St. Kilda, Scotland.
This Date in Art History: Born 23 May 1910 – Franz Kline, an American painter.
Below – “Painting Number 2”; Untitled; Untitled; Untitled; “Black Sienna”; Untitled.
Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 23 May 1947 – Jane Kenyon, an American poet and translator.
by Jane Kenyon
There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.
In the words of one writer, “Glenn’s figures are animated and mannerists in approach, often stretching and twisting into impossible positions. Marcus Glenn also has created a unique form of combining painting with sculpture to form a bas-relief effect. He calls this style Flat Life and has been developing the idea for more than a decade. Marcus is considered one of the most excitng of a new breed of young African-American artists to emerge in recent years. His work deals with issues that continue to fascinate him, like the creative process of making art; the solitary experience of the artist, the dialog between art and the viewer.”
Below – “Lillie Up Close and Personal”; “Moderate Inspirations”; “Gossip at the Gallery”; “Places I Go When I’m Depressed II”; “Midnight Blues”; “Three Bass and a Lady.”