Musings in Summer: Wendell Berry
“Outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread.”
This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1844 – Ilya Repin, a Russian painter and sculptor who was, in the words of one writer, “the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature.”: Part I of II.
Below – “Barge Haulers on the Volga”; “Religious Procession in Kursk Province”; “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV”; “Self Portrait with Natalia Norman”; “Demonstration on October 17, 1905”; “Self Portrait.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 5 August 1934 – Wendell Berry, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, poet, and essayist.
Some quotes from the work of Wendell Berry:
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”
“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”
“For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land.”
“Can we actually suppose that we are wasting, polluting, and making ugly this beautiful land for the sake of patriotism and the love of God? Perhaps some of us would like to think so, but in fact this destruction is taking place because we have allowed ourselves to believe, and to live, a mated pair of economic lies: that nothing has a value that is not assigned to it by the market; and that the economic life of our communities can safely be handed over to the great corporations.”
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
“Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
“It may be that when we no longer know… which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
This Date in Art History: Born 5 August 1844 – Ilya Repin, a Russian painter and sculptor who was, in the words of one writer, “the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature.”: Part II of II.
Below – “Sadko”; “Seeing Off a Recruit”; “Unexpected Visitors”; “On a Raft in a Storm on the Volga”; “What Freedom!”; “Moonlight.”
Worth a Thousand Words: Edward Hopper: “Automat” (1927).
This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 2000 – Tulio Crali, an Italian painter.
Below – “Aeropittura 2”; “Forces of a Curve”; “Aeropittura”; “Night Bombardment”; “Incursione Aerea”; “Self Portrait.”
Musings in Summer: Wendell Berry
“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness. True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.”
This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 1933 – Charles Harold Davis, an American painter: Part I of III.
Below – “May Morning”; “A Quiet Corner”; “Sunset Vista”; “Field of Wheat”; “Deepening Shadows”; “Afternoon in Early Winter.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 5 August 1869 – Conrad Aiken, an American novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, recipient of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and recipient of the National Book Award.
by Conrad Aiken
Now the great wheel of darkness and low clouds
Whirs and whirls in the heavens with dipping rim;
Against the ice-white wall of light in the west
Skeleton trees bow down in a stream of air.
Leaves, black leaves and smoke, are blown on the wind;
Mount upward past my window; swoop again;
In a sharp silence, loudly, loudly falls
The first cold drop, striking a shriveled leaf . . .
Doom and dusk for the earth! Upward I reach
To draw chill curtains and shut out the dark,
Pausing an instant, with uplifted hand,
To watch, between black ruined portals of cloud,
One star,—the tottering portals fall and crush it.
Here are a thousand books! here is the wisdom
Alembicked out of dust, or out of nothing;
Choose now the weightiest word, most golden page,
Most somberly musicked line; hold up these lanterns,—
These paltry lanterns, wisdoms, philosophies,—
Above your eyes, against this wall of darkness;
And you’ll see—what? One hanging strand of cobweb,
A window-sill a half-inch deep in dust . . .
Speak out, old wise-men! Now, if ever, we need you.
Cry loudly, lift shrill voices like magicians
Against this baleful dusk, this wail of rain . . .
But you are nothing! Your pages turn to water
Under my fingers: cold, cold and gleaming,
Arrowy in the darkness, rippling, dripping—
All things are rain . . . Myself, this lighted room,
What are we but a murmurous pool of rain? . . .
The slow arpeggios of it, liquid, sibilant,
Thrill and thrill in the dark. World-deep I lie
Under a sky of rain. Thus lies the sea-shell
Under the rustling twilight of the sea;
No gods remember it, no understanding
Cleaves the long darkness with a sword of light.
This Date in Art History: Died 5 August 1933 – Charles Harold Davis, an American painter: Part II of III.
Below – “A Path Along the River”; “Twilight Mid Winter”; “Change of Wind”; “The Oak”; “All Hallow’s Eve”; “August.”
“Under the pavement the dirt is dreaming of grass.”
Below – “Call of the West Wind”; “The Old Pasture”; “The Countryside in Autumn”; “By the Shore”; “Under Summer Skies”; “Farm at Sunrise.”