Sentient in San Francisco – 12 February 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 12 February 1819 – William Wetmore Story, an American sculptor.

Below – “The Libyan Sibyl”; “Medea”; “Sappho”; “Cleopatra”; “Delilah” (This sculpture is part of the de Young Museum of San Francisco’s permanent collection; it is my good fortune to have viewed it on several occasions.).


Musings in Winter: Abraham Lincoln (born 12 February 1809)

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

This Date in Art History: Born 12 February 1837 – Thomas Moran, a British-American painter and printmake of the Hudson River School.

Below – “Grand Canyon of the Colorado River”; “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”; “Under the Trees”; “The Golden Hour”; “Shoshone Falls on the Snake River”; “Sunset at Sea.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 12 February 1828 – George Meredith, an English novelist and poet.

“To a Skylark”
by George Meredith

O skylark! I see thee and call thee joy!
Thy wings bear thee up to the breast of the dawn;
I see thee no more, but thy song is still
The tongue of the heavens to me!

Thus are the days when I was a boy;
Sweet while I lived in them, dear now they’re gone:
I feel them no longer, but still, O still
They tell of the heavens to me.

This Date in Art History: Born 12 February 1884 – Marie Vassilief, a Russian-French painter.

Below – “In the Cafe”; “Cup of Tea”; “The Dance”; “Young Girl with Cat”; “Femme Assise.”


12 February 2019 is Darwin Day

In the words of one writer, “Darwin Day is a celebration to commemorate the birthday of Charles Darwin on 12 February 1809. The day is used to highlight Darwin’s contributions to science and to promote science in general. Darwin Day is celebrated around the world.”

This Date in Art History – Born 12 February 1909 – Zoran Music, a Slovenian-born Italian painter and illustrator.

Below – “Dalmatian Scene”; “Le Bac”; “Motivo Dalmata”; Untitled; “Self-portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 12 February 1980 – Muriel Rukeyser, an American poet.

“”Waiting for Icarus”
by Muriel Rukeyser

He said he would be back and we’d drink wine together
He said that everything would be better than before
He said we were on the edge of a new relation
He said he would never again cringe before his father
He said that he was going to invent full-time
He said he loved me that going into me
He said was going into the world and the sky
He said all the buckles were very firm
He said the wax was the best wax
He said Wait for me here on the beach
He said Just don’t cry

I remember the gulls and the waves
I remember the islands going dark on the sea
I remember the girls laughing
I remember they said he only wanted to get away from me
I remember mother saying: Inventors are like poets, a trashy lot
I remember she told me those who try out inventions are worse
I remember she added: Women who love such are the worst of all
I have been waiting all day, or perhaps longer.
I would have liked to try those wings myself.
It would have been better than this.

Below – Frank Richards: “Girl on the Beach”

This Date in Art History – Died 12 February 1942 – Grant Wood, an American painter.

Below – “American Gothic”; “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”; “Near Sundown”; “Iowa Cornfield”; “Stone City, Iowa”; “Self1portrait.”

A Poem for Today

“The Flower Press”
by Chelsea Woodard

It was the sort of thing given to little girls:
sturdy and small, round edged, wooden and light.
I stalked the pasture’s rough and waist-high grass
for worthy specimens: the belle amid the mass,
the star shaming the clouds of slighter,
ordinary blooms. The asters curled

inside my sweat-damp palms, as if in sleep. Crushed
in the parlor’s stifling heat, I pried
each shrinking petal back, and turned the screws.
But flowers bear no ugly bruise,
and even now fall from the brittle page, dried
prettily, plucked from memory’s hush.

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