Sentient in San Francisco – 23 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1832 – Edouard Manet, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Music in the Tuileries”; “The Luncheon on the Grass”; “The Cafe Concert”; “The Railway”; “The Absinthe Drinker”; “Olympia.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 23 January 2018 – Nicanor Parra, an award-winning Chilean poet who was on four occasions proposed for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“The Last Toast”
by Nicanor Parra

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And not even three
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.

The cards to play
Are only two:
The present and the future.

And there aren’t even two
Because it’s a known fact
The present doesn’t exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed…,
like youth.

In the end
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.

But that is all
we have at our disposal.


This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1832 – Edouard Manet, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere”; “The Surprised Nymph”; “Young Flautist”; “Boating”; “In the Conservatory”; “The Plum.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 23 January 1991 – Northrop Frye, an award-winning Canadian literary critic, literary theorist, and author of “Feaful Symmetry” and “Anatomy of Criticism.”

Some quotes from the work of Northrop Frye:

“The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.”
“This story of loss and regaining of identity is, I think, the framework of all literature.”
“There is only one way to degrade mankind permanently and that is to destroy language.”
“Real unity tolerates dissent and rejoices in variety of outlook and tradition, recognizes that it is man’s destiny to unite and not divide, and understands that creating proletariats and scapegoats and second-class citizens is a mean and contemptible activity.”
“We are always in the place of beginning; there is no advance in infinity.”
“Even the human heart is slightly left of centre.”
“A person who knows nothing about literature may be an ignoramus, but many people don’t mind being that.”
“We are being swallowed up by the popular culture of the United States, but then the Americans are being swallowed up by it too. It’s just as much a threat to American culture as it is to ours.”
“The human landscape of the New World shows a conquest of nature by an intelligence that does not love it.”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1947 – Pierre Bonnard – a French painter.

Below- “Woman with a dog”; “Checkered Blouse”; “The Parade”; “Two Dogs in a Deserted Street”; “Dancers”; “The Omnibus.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 23 January 1930 – Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Derek Walcott:

“Love After Love The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.”
“For every poet it is always morning in the world; history a forgotten, insomniac night. The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world in spite of history.”
“Good science and good art are always about a condition of awe. I don’t think there is any other function for the poet or the scientist in the human tribe but the astonishment of the soul.”
“Summer for prose and lemons, for nakedness and languor.”
“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.”
“Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of History dissolves.”
“Time is the metre, memory the only plot.”
“I read; I travel; I become.”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1989 – Salvador Dali, a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Below – “The Persistence of Memory”; “Still Life by Moonlight”; “Bacchanale”; “Shades of Night Descending”; “Leda Atomica”; “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 23 January 1930 – Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part II of II.

“Map of the New World”
by Derek Walcott

I Archipelagoes

At the end of this sentence, rain will begin.
At the rain’s edge, a sail.

Slowly the sail will lose sight of islands;
into a mist will go the belief in harbours
of an entire race.

The ten-years war is finished.
Helen’s hair, a grey cloud.
Troy, a white ashpit
by the drizzling sea.

The drizzle tightens like the strings of a harp.
A man with clouded eyes picks up the rain
and plucks the first line of the Odyssey.

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