Danaë, Orazio Gentileschi , c. 1623, Cleveland Museum of Art: European Painting and Sculpture
Danaë’s father feared a prophecy that his grandson would kill him, so he imprisoned his daughter to protect her from suitors. Yet Jupiter, king of the gods, fell in love with Danaë, and he came to her in the form of gold streaming from the sky. Gentileschi adopted Caravaggio’s method of painting directly from models, pulled to the front of the picture plane, which gives the painting a startling, tangible quality. However, the graceful way he handled paint and human gestures lends the work a poetic quality unique to the artist.
Size: Framed: 202.5 x 270 x 9 cm (79 ¾ x 106 5/16 x 3 9/16 in.); Unframed: 162 x 228.5 cm (63 ¾ x 89 15/16 in.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Pieced Nine Patch Variation, Unidentified (American), ca. 1930, Smithsonian: American Art Museum
Size: 77 × 58 ½ in. (195.6 × 148.6 cm)
Part of Seat or Carriage Cushion Cover (Birds and Vines). Dove-tail tapestry.
Sweden (late 18th century). From the Khalili Collection of Swedish Textiles.
A Philosopher by Lamp Light, 1769, Joseph Wright
David Iggulden, Condor I, Nazca, 1975. “In the first century BC the Nazca Indians of Peru may already have flown in some type of hot hair balloon. This suppositions is based upon designs on a pottery artefact in Lima, and upon the puzzling lines and piles of stones stretching across 200 square miles of the Plain of Nazca. The stones are meaningless - until seen from the air, when they form patterns of massive birds and directional markings. A primitive hot hair balloon, copying the pottery design and using only materials available to this pre-Inca civilisation, was built and flown succesfully in Nazca in 1975 by the International Explorers Society; Briton Julian Nott piloted Condor I to 300 feet.” https://www.instagram.com/p/CCg4x2tgjtN/?igshid=1k3aa58vh35ed
The Outermost Skerries, Otto Sinding, Nationalmuseum, SWE
East 100th Street, Bruce Davidson, 1966-1968, Minneapolis Institute of Art: Photography and New Media
Size: 19 15/16 x 15 3/16 in. (50.64 x 38.58 cm) (image) 23 7/8 x 19 15/16 in. (60.64 x 50.64 cm) (sheet)
Medium: Gelatin silver print
Charles Darwin first saw the Angraecum sesquipedale orchid from Madagascar in 1862. Its foot-long green throat holds nectar, but only at its very tip. “Astounding,” Darwin wrote of this strange adaptation. “What insect could suck it?” He predicted that Madagascar must be home to an insect with an incredibly long feeding tube, or proboscis—but no such insect was discovered during his lifetime. Decades after his death, his insight was confirmed. A naturalist in Madagascar discovered the giant hawk moth (Xanthopan morganii praedicta), which hovers like a hummingbird as its long, whip-like proboscis probes for the distant nectar. The moth’s scientific name honors the prediction of the scientist who never saw it but whose theory told him that it must exist.
Photo: sunoochi, CC BY 2.0, flickr
Vera Ivanovna Arseniev, Vladimir Borovikovsky
Flight of Geese, 1279, Art Institute of Chicago: Asian Art
This landscape is precisely rendered in a detailed manner that blends the Song dynasty (960-1279) tradition with newer stylistic elements. It also combines standard motifs of the landscape and flower-and-bird genres. Scattered across the foreground are mandarin ducks, lotus, and bamboo, a traditional grouping drawn from flower-and-bird painting of the Song dynasty. But the trees growing from the right side of the same area are treated in a contemporary, early fourteenth century manner. These trees lead the eye upward into the middle distance, where geese taking flight over rushes signify autumn, a seasonal reference confirmed by the bare treetops. The touches of color used to highlight various forms in the foreground, and the blue-green coloring applied to some of the rocks, are both archaizing features that emulate painting of the Tang dynasty (618-907). In the background are monumental mountain forms, convincingly portrayed as if shrouded in mist, derived from the Song landscape tradition. Gift of The Orientals
Size: 64.8 × 38.1 cm (25 ½ × 15 in.)
Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk
Lucretius, from ‘Book I’ in De rerum natura, line 258.
“hence flocks and herds, weary with their fat, lay their bodies round the rich pastures, and the white milky stream flows from their swollen udders” (trans. W. H. D. Rouse)
“Cattle, weary, lie down in their fields, having fed/ Of the fat of the land; glistening dew of milk/ Drips from the swollen teat;” (trans. Anthony M. Esolen)—an elaboration of his central pirincple, lines 248-9: haud igitur redit ad nihilum res ulla, sed omnes/ discidio redeunt in corpora materiai (”Nothing returns to nothing; when things shatter/ They all return to their consituent aroms”)
Vergil, from ‘Book I’ in The Aeneid, 430-33.
“so busy bees above a field of flowers/ in early summer amid sunbeams toil,/ leading abroad their nation’s youthful brood/ or with the flowing honey storing close/ the pliant cells, until they quite run o'er/ with nectared sweet;“ (trans. Theodore C. Williams)
“As hard at their tasks as bees in early summer,/ that work the blooming meadows under the sun,/ they escort a new brood out, young adults now,/ or press the oozing honey into the combs, the nectar/ brimming the bulging cells, or gather up the plunder/ workers haul back in, or close ranks like an army,/ driving the drones, that lazy crew, from home.” (trans. Robert Fagles)—from the descirption of the workers of Tyre.
Augustine, from ‘Book XI.26′ in Confessions.
“Upon which ground it seems unto me, that time is nothing else but a stretching out in length; but of what, I know not, and I marvel, if it be not of the very mind.“ (trans. Carolyn J.-B. Hammond)
“This has let me to believe that time is simply a distention, but of what I do not know, though it would be surprising if it were not of the mind itself.” (trans. Peter Constantine)
Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, 1625, Anthony van Dyck