Rembrandt, drawing at a window. Self-portrait, 1648.

Self-portraits

“Each new doubt makes us feel that the limit has been reached, that we cannot cope with it; then we manage to find room for it all the same, and once it is introduced into the fabric of our lives it enters into competition there with so many longings to believe, so many reasons to…

Self-portrait with Saskia

Lionello Puppi’s “Rembrandt”

Lionello Puppi’s is a fine, short work on Rembrandt. Aside from Rembrandt’s indisputable greatness, I am additionally drawn to him because he was born in the same town as I, Leiden, and studied, in Amsterdam, under Pieter Lastman, said to be “the most influential Dutch painter of the time,” and who greatly admired the Italian…

Caravaggio - David with the Head of Goliath (1610). The face of Goliath is Caravaggio's. The face of David is Cecco, the painter's studio assistant and lover whom he abandoned for Malta.

J.S. Bach and the Concept of Right Action — Cantata Text Booklet for the Holy Days, from Caravaggio’s Dagger (VI:7)

I have been asked from time to time about the origin of the relationship between the painter Caravaggio and my book, Caravaggio’s Dagger. The painter’s way of life and how he depicted life in his work constitute one of the exemplifications of abandonment of right action. This exemplification is stated expressly in the concluding Taxonomy in poem…

Claude Monet’s Work at the Vancouver Art Gallery

It is a good exhibition, so congratulations to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Painting and sculpture cannot effectively be presented through photographs. One has to see the actual creation. These art forms differ in this respect from music, which can be presented, highly effectively, through recordings. Although, with painting and sculpture, there is that meditative opportunity…

Totentanz

A spectacular and hair-raising performance by Hungarian pianist György Cziffra of Liszt’s 1859 paraphrase with variations, Totentanz. The dance of death (or, danse macabre) was brought to the forefront of European human consciousness during the 14th century by famines, war, and the Black Death. Its musical representation is in the plainchant dies irae, and its derivative, the…

Picasso and I at the Vancouver Art Gallery

1 October 2016 On the last day of September, I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery for my dutiful pilgrimage to the Picasso exhibit. It disappointed. The theme of “six muses” is unconvincing, the number of paintings small, and the number of prints and drawings many. It was busy as it is the last week…