Sentient in San Francisco – 27 February 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 27 February 1863 – Joaquin Sorolla, a Spanish painter.

Below – “My Wife and Daughters in the Garden”; “Walk on the Beach”; “Beach at Valencia”;”Castilla”; “Senora de Sorolla in Black”; ”The Horse’s Bath.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 February 1913 – Irwin Shaw, an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, short story writer and author of “The Young Lions.”

Some quotes from the work of Irwin Shaw:

“There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.”
“People who light up like Roman candles come down in the dark very quickly.”
“If football players were armed with guns, there wouldn’t be stadiums large enough to hold the crowds.”
“Posterity makes the judgments. There are going to be a lot of surprises in store for everybody.”
I”’m not as hopeful as I was when I was young.”

This Date in Art History: Born 27 February 1901 – Marino Marini, an Italian sculptor.

Below – “The Pilgrim”; “Small Horse”; “Miracola” (equestrian sculpture); “Rider”; “Cavaliere.”


This date in Literary History: Born 27 February 1910 – Peter De Vries, an American novelist and editor known for his satiric wit. The brilliant Daniel Dennett, author of “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon,” has called De Vries “probably the funniest writer on religion ever.”

“Life is a zoo in a jungle.”
“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.”
“A hundred years ago Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter was given an A for adultery; today she would rate no better than a C-plus.”
“The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”
“Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us.”
“We pay for security with boredom, for adventure with bother.”
“It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.”
“The idea of a Supreme Being who creates a world in which one creature is designed to eat another in order to subsist, and then pass a law saying, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ is so monstrously, immeasurably, bottomlessly absurd that I am at a loss to understand how mankind has entertained or given it house room all this long.”
“Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”
“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
“How do you expect mankind to be happy in pairs when it is miserable separately?”
“What baffles me is the comfort people find in the idea that somebody dealt this mess. Blind and meaningless chance seems to me so much more congenial – or at least less horrible. Prove to me that there is a God and I will really begin to despair.”
“Life is a crowded superhighway with bewildering cloverleaf exits on which a man is liable to find himself speeding back in the direction he came.”
“Everybody hates me because I’m so universally liked.”
“Love’s blindness consists oftener in seeing what is not there than in seeing what is.”
“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”
“I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.”


Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Nina Reznichenko

Below – “dreams”; “Portrait”; “Spring”; “woman in hat”; “blue dress”; “Woman with dog.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 27 February 1912 – Lawrence Durrell, a British expatriate novelist, poet, dramatist, travel writer, author of “The Alexandria Quartet,” and one of my favorite writers.

Some quotes from the work of Lawrence Durrell:

“The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time.”
“For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded or defeated us in daily life; in this way, not to evade destiny, as the ordinary people try to do, but to fulfil it in its true potential – the imagination.”
“Like all young men I set out to be a genius, but mercifully laughter intervened.”
“We are all hunting for rational reasons for believing in the absurd.”
“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
“The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palm, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers – all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent taste of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”
“A city becomes a world when one loves one of its inhabitants.”
“I don’t believe one reads to escape reality. A person reads to confirm a reality he knows is there, but which he has not experienced.”
“It is the duty of every patriot to hate his country creatively.”
“Try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not too much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly — but with real inward attention. It is to be had for the feeling, that mysterious sense of rapport, of identity with the ground. You can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle you’ll be there.”
“Life is more complicated than we think, yet far simpler than anyone dares to imagine.”
“We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it.”
“It is not peace we seek but meaning.”
“There are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature.”
“These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean.”
“I am quite alone. I am neither happy nor unhappy; I lie suspended like a hair or a feather in the cloudy mixtures of memory.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Sergey Roy

Below – “Between Heaven & Earth”; “Portraitists”; “Holiday dinner”; “Snow covered”; “Zero Time”; “The Old Lighthouse.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 February 1925 – Kenneth Koch, an award-winning American poet and playwright.

“Mountain”
by Kenneth Koch

Nothing’s moving I don’t see anybody
And I know that it’s not a trick
There really is nothing moving there
And there aren’t any people. It is the very utmost top
Where, as is not unusual,
There is snow, lying like the hair on a white-haired person’s head
Combed sideways and backward and forward to cover as much of the top
As possible, for the snow is thinning, it’s September
Although a few months from now there will be a new crop
Probably, though this no one KNOWS (so neither do we)
But every other year it has happened by November
Except for one year that’s known about, nineteen twenty-three
When the top was more and more uncovered until December fifteenth
When finally it snowed and snowed
I love seeing this mountain like a mouse
Attached to the tail of another mouse, and to another and to another
In total mountain silence
There is no way to get up there, and no means to stay.
It is uninhabitable. No roads and no possibility
Of roads. You don’t have a history
Do you, mountain top? This doesn’t make you either a mystery
Or a dull person and you’re certainly not a truck stop.
No industry can exploit you
No developer can divide you into estates or lots
No dazzling disquieting woman can tie your heart in knots.
I could never lead my life on one of those spots
You leave uncovered up there. No way to be there
But I’m moved.

Below – Russ Harris: “Snow Capped Mountain”

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