Goya in therapy – The Mysterious Pinturas Negras

The series of fourteen murals was painted in the last years of Goya’s life. Aged 72, he moved outside of Madrid to a house once inhabited by a deaf man. Hence the name, but it was well-fitting also for Goya who was nearly deaf after a fever he had suffered 26 years earlier. The murals were executed with oils directly onto the walls of the dining and sitting rooms, intended only for private use as there is no documentation that they were commissioned. The old painter most probably never intended for them to be public, as he imbued them with his greatest fears, delusions and indignations.
All the monsters from his soul found their reflections in the dark colours and eerie themes, as if the painting of ‘pinturas negras’ (black paintings) was a sort of an auto-therapy  - writes Magda Michalska. 

What could have pushed Goya to execute these grim murals? A combination of ever-deteriorating health and first-hand experiences of warstate terror, violence and of course the conflict with the Inquisition. The amounts of fear, panic and suffering that Goya experienced exceeded the limits of the bearable. The only way to let his suffering out was to paint the bizarre worlds able to contain these quantities of pain.
Two Old Men
The lack of balance recurring in all the compositions confirms Goya’s innovative and very progressive style, heralding the 20th century’s Expressionism. The figures appear off-center, suspended, weirdly cut-off  ...

Wars of Love

"Our wars are wars of life, & wounds of love, With intellectual spears, & long winged arrows of thought:        Mutual in one anothers love and wrath all renewing We live as One Man;" - Blake  in Jerusalem, Plate 33, (E 180) "..
"And the Bow is a Male & Female & the Quiver of the Arrows of Love, Are the Children of this Bow: a Bow of Mercy & Loving-kindness: laying Open the hidden Heart in Wars of mutual Benevolence Wars of Love And the Hand of Man grasps firm between the Male & Female Loves -  Jerusalem, Plate 97, (E 256)

Song of Names

An unexpected little gem from Netflix last night. One of those 10/10 or ***** films in our Home. Excellent in every dimension. The Max Bruch element nearly finished me off! Love his music, evoking memories of my Dad, who was also a devotee. Sacred music indeed.
The Song of Names is a 2019 drama film directed by François Girard. An adaptation of the novel of the same name by Norman Lebrecht, it stars Tim Roth and Clive Owen as childhood friends from London whose lives have been changed by World War II. The film was nominated for nine Canadian Screen Awards, winning five - Wikipedia.
An enjoyable late night Sunday viewing.


Malczewski Self-Portrait With A Muse Holding A Scepter And A Heart (1904)
Malczewski (1854-1929) Artist and Muse 1898
Maria Bal (1879-1955)- Jadwiga Maria Kinga Bal of Zaleszczyki, née Brunicka was a Polish baroness and a lifelong muse of Jacek Malczewski, 

That which is Mine

That which is mine by Holderlin

The autumn days repose in their fullness now,
The grapes are lit all through and the orchards red
With fruit though some as a libation
Of lovely blossom did fall to the earth.

And in the fields around where I follow
The quiet path out contented men and women
See how their land has ripened and what
Happy labour its richness will give them.

The mild light of the skies looks down on them,
Comes through their trees upon them busy working
And shares the joy, for the fruits are not
Only a work of the hands of humans.

Oh golden light do you shine for me too, does
The air breathe on me again as though blessing
Some joy such as once there was and came
Visiting my heart like a happy man's?

I was so but like roses, passing as they,
That good life went and yet, too often, the stars,
Still flowering, which are all I have,
The stars are my sweet reminders of it.

Happy the quiet love of man and wife, a
Hearth and home in a country to be proud of.
Over solid ground the heavens shine
More beautifully and a man is steady.

For like the plant if it cannot root in ground
Of its own the soul burns out of any man
Who goes his ways on the holy earth
Only with the daylight, a poor mortal.

Oh heights of heaven, the pull of you is strong,
Too strong, in wild weather, on quiet days, I feel
The force of the restless gods, they come
And go and it wastes my heart away.

Today though let me walk my familiar
Path in peace among the trees whose leaves are lit
In the crown with gold, dying, and wreathe
My head likewise with kind memories.

And so that for me too, as there is for others,
To save my mortal heart there will be a place
To abide and the soul not leave my life
And go beyond me, longing and homeless,

Let the poem be my place of asylum
And friendly garden, tended, for the joy it gives,
With careful love, and among the always
Renewing flowers let me walk and dwell

In a secure simplicity while outside
Wave on wave the colossal unsteady times
Are roaring at a distance and the
Quieter sun furthers the work I do.

High over mortal men the powers of heaven
Out of their kindness bless for each his own.
Oh bless likewise that which is mine
And may the Fates not end the dream too soon.

Blodyn Eli, Flower of Pain, Blossom of Healing …

Munch’s Flower of Pain 1897
The Flower of Pain is a perfect example of Munch's spirituality. It portrays a man, stuck in the ground, bleeding from his heart - his escaping blood waters a flourishing flower. Munch felt his personal pain was necessary for his art. For many of us who engage in a creative process.  The flower of pain is the ultimate symbol of the artist’s creative force gained through suffering and anguish. This flower is often featured in Munch’s work depicting the inner life of the modern individual. It speaks profoundly to me, especially at the start of this new Celtic Year.
Flower of Pain Woodcut

Sean Connery XC

Sean Connery (RIP) Reads C.P. Cavafy’s Epic Poem "Ithaca," Set to the Music of Vangelis https://www.openculture.com/?p=1083166 via @openculture 

This video combines three things that make me happy: the voice of Sean Connery (who passed away today), the music of Vangelis (Blade RunnerChariots of Fire), and the poetry of C.P. Cavafy. Put them all together and you get a blissful soundscape of rolling synth lines, rolling Scottish R’s, and a succession of Homeric images and anaphoric lines. And the video’s quite nice as well.
The first James Bond, the archetypal JB and, as someone said, the last true Hollywood star