Tag Archives: 19th Century

New Books: “The Making Of Poetry – Coleridge, The Wordsworths And Their Year Of Marvels”

The Making of Poetry Coleridge, The Wordsworth and Their Year of Marvels Adam Nicolson 2020 US ReleaseIn The Making of Poetry, Adam Nicolson embeds himself in the reality of this unique moment, exploring the idea that these poems came from this particular place and time, and that only by experiencing the physical circumstances of the year, in all weathers and all seasons, at night and at dawn, in sunlit reverie and moonlit walks, can the genesis of the poetry start to be understood.

June 1797 to September 1798 is the most famous year in English poetry. Out of it came Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and “Kubla Khan,” as well as his unmatched hymns to friendship and fatherhood, and William Wordsworth’s revolutionary songs in Lyrical Ballads along with “Tintern Abbey,” Wordsworth’s paean to the unity of soul and cosmos, love and understanding.

Excerpt from The Prelude by Wordsworth and Coleridge

The poetry Wordsworth and Coleridge made was not from settled conclusions but from the adventure on which they embarked, thinking of poetry as a challenge to all received ideas, stripping away the dead matter, looking to shed consciousness and so change the world. What emerges is a portrait of these great figures seen not as literary monuments but as young men, troubled, ambitious, dreaming of a vision of wholeness, knowing they had greatness in them but still in urgent search of the paths toward it.

The artist Tom Hammick accompanied Nicolson for much of the year, making woodcuts from the fallen timber in the park at Alfoxden where the Wordsworths lived. Interspersed throughout the book, his images bridge the centuries, depicting lives at the source of our modern sensibility: a psychic landscape of doubt and possibility, full of beauty and thick with desire for a kind of connectedness that seems permanently at hand and yet always out of reach.

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Literature: “Prometheus Unbound” By Percy Bysshe Shelley First Published 200 Years Ago In 1820

Prometheus Unbound Percy Bysshe Shelley 1820Prometheus Unbound is a four-act lyrical drama by Percy Bysshe Shelley, first published in 1820. It is concerned with the torments of the Greek mythological figure Prometheus, who defies the gods and gives fire to humanity, for which he is subjected to eternal punishment and suffering at the hands of Zeus. It is inspired by the classical Prometheia, a trilogy of plays attributed to Aeschylus. Shelley’s play concerns Prometheus’ release from captivity, but unlike Aeschylus’ version, there is no reconciliation between Prometheus and Jupiter (Zeus). Instead, Jupiter is abandoned by his supportive elements and falls from power, which allows Prometheus to be released.

Excerpt:

As you speak, your words
Fill, pause by pause, my own forgotten sleep
With shapes. Methought among these lawns together
We wandered, underneath the young gray dawn,
And multitudes of dense white fleecy clouds
Were wandering in thick flocks along the mountains
Shepherded by the slow, unwilling wind;

prometheus-unbound-percy-bysshe-shelley.jpg

Political – Prometheus, then, is also Shelley’s answer to the mistakes of the French Revolution and its cycle of replacing one tyrant with another. Shelley wished to show how a revolution could be conceived which would avoid doing just that, and in the end of this play, there is no power in charge at all; it is an anarchist’s paradise.

Shelley finishes his “Preface” to the play with an evocation of his intentions as a poet:

My purpose has hitherto been simply to familiarize the highly refined imagination of the more select classes of poetical readers with beautiful idealisms of moral excellence; aware that, until the mind can love, and admire, and trust, and hope, and endure, reasoned principles of moral conduct are seeds cast upon the highway of life which the unconscious passenger tramples into dust, although they would bear the harvest of his happiness.

From Wikipedia

New Art Books: “Renoir” By Gilles Néret (Taschen)

Renoir (Bibliotheca Universalis) by Gilles Néret Taschen Books January 21 2020In an incisive text tracing the artist’s career and stylistic evolution, Gilles Néret shows how Renoir reinvented the painted female form, with his everyday goddesses and their plump forms, rounded hips and breasts. Renoir’s later phase, marked by his return to the simple pleasure of the female nude in his baigneuses series, was his most innovative and stylistically influential, and would inspire such masters as Matisse and Picasso.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s (1841–1919) timelessly charming paintings still reflect our ideals ofTaschen Publishing Logo happiness, love, and beauty. Derived from our large-format volume, the most comprehensive retrospective of his work published to date, this compact edition examines the personal history and motivation behind the legend. Though he began by painting landscapes in the Impressionist style, Renoir found his true affinity in portraits, after which he abandoned the Impressionists altogether. Though often misunderstood, Renoir remains one of history’s most well-loved painters—undoubtedly because his works exude such warmth, tenderness, and good spirit.

The author

Gilles Néret (1933–2005) was an art historian, journalist, writer, and museum correspondent. He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU Museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L’Œil and Connaissance des Arts and received the Élie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications. His TASCHEN titles include Salvador Dalí: The PaintingsMatisse, and Erotica Universalis.

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Artist Tales: Sculptor Auguste Rodin’s “The Age Of Bronze” – So Realistic It Caused A Scandal In 1877

From a Christie’s online article:

August Rodin The Age of Bronze Christie'sRodin first exhibited a bronze and a plaster version of The Age of Bronze  at the Cercle Artistique in Brussels in January 1877. A few months later, he exhibited the plaster at the Paris Salon, where it caused a scandal. ‘The vitality and naturalism of the sculpture was so extreme, the sense of modelling so observed, that he was accused of having cast the sculpture from the model himself,’ says the specialist.

Tudor Davies, Head of Impressionist & Modern Art in Paris, reveals why Rodin’s Salon ‘scandal’ marked a pivotal turning point in the artist’s career.

The Age of Bronze  was originally conceived in 1877, and is widely considered Rodin’s first great work, ranking alongside his later masterpieces, including La Porte de l’EnferLe Penseur  and Le Baiser. Its conception marked a decisive turning point in the sculptor’s career.

August Rodin The Age of Bronze Christie's

To read more: www.https://www.christies.com/features/Auguste-Rodin-The-Age-of-Bronze-sculpture-10211-3.aspx?sc_lang=en&cid=EM_EMLcontent04144A99C_1&cid=DM351034&bid=198714681#FID-10211

Art Videos: Mary Osborn’s “Nameless And Friendless” Captured Women’s Rights Movement In 1850’s (Tate)

‘Nameless and Friendless’ was painted in 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn. It captures a single woman trying, and failing, to earn a living as an artist in Victorian England. In a trade traditionally occupied by men, she becomes nameless and friendless.

How This Painting Campaigned for Women’s Rights TateShots

Osborn was actively involved in the campaign for women’s rights during the mid-19th century. She was supported by wealthy patrons, including Queen Victoria. But she used her position of power to help improve the lives of women like those depicted in her paintings.

Website: https://www.tate.org.uk/

Exhibition & Book Review: “Unto This Last – Two Hundred Years Of John Ruskin” (Yale Center)

From a Wall Street Journal online review:

Unto This Last Two Hundred Years Of John Ruskin BookIn “Unto This Last and Other Essays on Art and Political Economy” (1860), which gives the exhibition its title, Ruskin “sees” interconnected social injustices. He attacks economic inequality. Later, he sets out to establish a utopian community in working-class Sheffield, England. In one gallery we see his influence on “progressive thinkers worldwide.” Gandhi said that reading “Unto This Last” in 1904 transformed his life and ideas.

The novelist Charlotte Brontë exclaimed after reading that first volume, “I feel now as if I had been walking blindfold[ed]—this book seems to give me eyes.”

maxresdefault‘If you can paint one leaf,” John Ruskin once declared, “you can paint the world.” And in “Unto This Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin”—the hypnotically potent (though flawed) exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art marking the bicentennial of his birth—we see how wonderfully he kept trying.

To read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/unto-this-last-two-hundred-years-of-john-ruskin-review-going-to-nature-in-his-own-fashion-11572692401