Thursday, 3 April 2014

Spring shades in Veronese and mosaics underfoot

Easter pastels in Veronese's Conversion of Mary Magdalene at the National Gallery - a tumbling composition of figures - the eye is drawn to the jewels on her neck.
The colours - pale mauves and greens - shades of spring outside - are striking as I whizz past on my lunch hour. (Veronese: last encountered in Venice).
Underfoot are more mosaics - Boris Anrep.
They are simply extraordinary but everyone - including me - rushes in over them.

Still reading The Railway Man/Eric Lomax. The torture scenes: vile brutality presented as the true evil it was by the dignity with which Lomax writes. He recalls how his mind helped him. How else to live through the time. He was lying in a bamboo cage in his own excrement, in the heat, with red ants crawling over his body.
"I tried to keep count of the passage of time by making scratches on the wall of the cage with a fish bone which I found in the rice.....My mind was turning into a machine that produced texts, words and images, cutting them up and feeding them to me in disconnected and confused snatches.....Sometimes the messages had a sound, quite loud; sometimes they were intensely visual. Most of them were religious, or at least came full of immense and comforting majesty; they were based, mainly on the most exalted literature that I knew, which was that of the Protestant 17th century....
Behold I stand at the door and knock
if any man hear my voice, and open the door,  I will come in to him." 
Wonder again about mental equipment - what is in the mind, learned by heart or by rote, to sustain in times of trouble.Apart from hymns and prayers learned at Sunday School, have very little. Some - very few - passages of Shakespeare. Attempts to follow Ted Hughes' anthology By Heart: 101 poems to remember keep faltering.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy