Sentient in San Francisco – 24 March 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 24 March 1862 – Frank Weston Benson, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Summer”; “Portrait of My Wife”; “Moonlight on the Waters”; “Calm Morning”; “In Summer”; “Eleanor Holding a Shell.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Died 24 March 1995 – Joseph Needham, an English historian, biochemist, sinologist, and author of the ten-volume “Science and Civilization in China.”

Some quotes from the work of Joseph Needham:

“But Chinese civilization has the overpowering beauty of the wholly other, and only the wholly other can inspire the deepest love and the profoundest desire to learn.”
“Daoist thought is the root of science and technology in China.”
“To put it in a nutshell, the Central and South American high cultures of antiquity were entirely worthy of comparison with what the Old World had achieved by the time of the Han, the Gupta, and the Hellenistic age. The fact is that the Amerindian high cultures were a human modality of their own, and those Spaniards who came among them first would have had the sensation, if they had ever heard of such literature, of treading in a world of imaginative science fiction.
But it was real, and the Amerindian achievements deserve all our sympathy and praise.”
“The hierarchy of relations, from the molecular structure of carbon to the equilibrium of the species and ecological whole, will perhaps be the leading idea of the future.”
“The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 March 1862 – Frank Weston Benson, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Eleanor”; “The Reader”; “Great White Herons”; “Eleanor”; “Against the Sky”; “The Grey Room.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 24 March 1882 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As a fond mother, when the day is o’er,
Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
Nor wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

This Date in Art History: Died 24 March 1948 – Sigrid Hjerten, a Swedish painter and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “At the Square in Cassis”; “Beach”; “The Blue Boat”; “Chalk Cliffs”; “The Green Couch”; “Interior of a Studio.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 24 March 1909 – John Millington Synge, an Irish playwright, poet, essayist, travel writer, folklorist, and author of “The Playboy of the Western World.”

Some quotes from the work of John Millington Synge:

“I knew the stars, the flowers, and the birds, The gray and wintry sides of many glens, And did but half remember human words, In converse with the mountains, moors, and fens.”
“Every article on these islands has an almost personal character, which gives this simple life, where all art is unknown, something of the artistic beauty of medieval life.”
“A week of sweeping fogs has passed over and given me a strange sense of exile and desolation. I walk round the island nearly every day, yet I can see nothing anywhere but a mass of wet rock, a strip of surf, and then a tumult of waves.”
“A low line of shore was visible at first on the right between the movement of the waves and fog, but when we came further it was lost sight of, and nothing could be seen but the mist curling in the rigging, and a small circle of foam.”
“A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day when he shouldn’t.”

This Date in Art History: Died 24 March 1948 – Sigrid Hjerten, a Swedish painter and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below- “The Red Blouse”; “Southern Landscape With Mountains and Swan Pairs”; “Still Life”; “The White Hat”; “Self-Portrait”; “The Red Blind.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 March 1919 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, an American poet and co-founder of City Lights Bookstore.

“Seascape With Sun And Eagle”
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

than most birds
an eagle flies up
over San Francisco
freer than most places
soars high up
floats and glides high up
in the still
open spaces

flown from the mountains
floated down
far over ocean
where the sunset has begun
a mirror of itself

He sails high over
turning and turning
where seaplanes might turn
where warplanes might burn

He wheels about burning
in the red sun
climbs and glides
and doubles back upon himself
now over ocean
now over land
high over pinwheels suck in sand
where a rollercoaster used to stand

soaring eagle setting sun
All that is left of our wilderness

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