Sentient in San Francisco – 12 February 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 12 February 1837 – Thomas Moran, an American painter and printmaker of the Hudson River School.

Below – “Grand Canyon of the Colorado River”; “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”; “Shoshone Falls, Idaho”; “The Golden Hour”; “Mist in Kanab Canyon, Utah”; “Green River, Wyoming.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Born 12 February 1809 – Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, geologist, biologist, and author of “On the Origin of Species.”

Some quotes from the work of Charles Darwin:

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available and works co-operatively against common threats.”
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
“Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life.”
“The more one thinks, the more one feels the hopeless immensity of man’s ignorance.”
“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.”
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

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

Below – “Bouquet de fleurs au chat”; “L’amour”; “Lovers”; “Town View with a Horse Carriage”; “Saintes aux bougies”; “Nude with Two Masks.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 12 February 1828 – George Meredith, an English novelist, poet, essayist, author of “The Egoist,” and seven-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of George Meredith:

“The debts we owe ourselves are the hardest to pay.”
“Caricature is rough truth.”
“Speech is the small change of silence.”
“The most dire disaster in love is the death of imagination.”
“The man who has no mind of his own lends it to the priests.”
“We never know what’s in us till we stand by ourselves.”

This Date in Art History: Born 12 February 1926 – Rolf Brem, a Swiss sculptor and illustrator.

Below – “Shepherd and flock” (bronze relief); “Daphnis und Chloe”; “Susi with a Mirror”; “Standing Girl”; “Irene”; “Susanne.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 12 February 1828 – George Meredith, an English novelist, poet, essayist, author of “The Egoist,” and seven-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature: Part II of II.

“Dirge in Woods”
by George Meredith

A wind sways the pines,
And below
Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that glow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine-tree drops its dead;
They are quiet, as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,
As the clouds the clouds chase;
And we go,
And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
Even we,
Even so.

Below – Howard Phipps: “Edge of the Wood, Broadchalke”


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

Below – “American Gothic”; “Stone City, Iowa”; “February”; “Spring in Town”; “Woman with Plants”; “Self-portrait.”


A Poem for Today

“Turning Forty”
by Kevin Griffith

At times it’s like there is a small planet
inside me. And on this planet,
there are many small wars, yet none
big enough to make a real difference.
The major countries—mind and heart—have
called a truce for now. If this planet had a ruler,
no one remembers him well. All
decisions are made by committee.
Yet there are a few pictures of the old dictator—
how youthful he looked on his big horse,
how bright his eyes.
He was ready to conquer the world.

Below – Pablo Picasso: “Horse with a Youth in Blue”

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