Wandering in Woodacre – 24 July 2020

This Date in Art History: Died July 24 1910 – Arkhip Kuindzhi, a Russian painter of Greek descent.

Below – “Elbrus”; “The Birch Grove”; “Red Sunset on the Dneiper”; “Moonspots in the Forest, Winter”; “Lake Ladoga”; “Evening in Ukraine.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 24 July 1927 – Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a Japanese author. Akutagawa’s short story “In a Grove” is a literary masterpiece.

Some quotes from the work of Ryunosuke Akutagawa:

“What is the life of a human being—a drop of dew, a flash of lightning? This is so sad, so sad.”
“The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them.”
“He felt so lost, he said later, that the familiar studio felt like a haunted valley deep in the mountains, with the smell of rotting leaves, the spray of a waterfall, the sour fumes of fruit stashed away by a monkey; even the dim glow of the master’s oil lamp on its tripod looked to him like misty moonlight in the hills.”
“A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.”
“I could wish for nothing more than to die for a childish dream in which I truly believed.”


This Date in Art History: Born 24 July 1927 – Alex Katz, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Ada in Spain”; “Oona”; “Three Trees”; “Grey Dress”; “Departure”; “Blue Umbrella.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1886 – Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese novelist, essayist, and author of “The Makioka Sisters” and “In Praise of Shadows.”

Some quotes from the work of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki:

“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.”
“With lacquerware there is an extra beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth, when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its colour hardly differing from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapour rises from within, forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapour brings a delicate anticipation … a moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance.”
“The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.”
“In making for ourselves a place to live, we first spread a parasol to throw a shadow on the earth, and in the pale light of the shadow we put together a house.”


Contemporary New Zealand Art – Brian Tucker

Below – “Tea”; “You May Have Fish Every Year”; “Emergence”; “Reminisswing”; “Dawn at Dong Fu”; “Float Away.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1895 – Robert Graves, a British poet, novelist, critic, classicist, and author of “I, Claudius” and “Good-Bye to All That.”

“She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep”
by Robert Graves

She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth turns in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

Below – Siret Roots: “couple sleeping together”

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