Friday, February 4th, 2022


Claude Monet said, “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” and Vincent Van Gogh said, “The way to know life is to love many things.” and “If I am worth something later, I am worth something now.” and Kurt Vonnegut said, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” and Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “Compassion was the most important, perhaps the sole law of human existence.” and James Wright said, “God, sometimes I am so happy I don’t know what to do with me.” and I am really working on this happiness. 

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punk-in-the-beerlight: For real though.

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018


For real though.

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godlessondheimite: The Minutes from my Meeting with @thestateonmtv: –Upon meeting Louis, Belize knew…

Thursday, August 24th, 2017


The Minutes from my Meeting with @thestateonmtv:

–Upon meeting Louis, Belize knew Louis would break Prior’s heart. Instantly smelled out all of Louis’ weaknesses. Louis tries to dismiss it as anti-semitism, jealousy, whatever, but for all Louis’ selfishness and self-involvement he has NO  self-awareness. Prior and Belize are both Noticers, Belize is an even sharper judge of character than Prior and he sized Louis up in a moment.

–When Louis accuses Belize of still being in love with Prior, Belize is pissed off not because of the implication that he’s pining, not even that Louis assumed something so big, but because it’s almost questioning the authenticity of their friendship. Like yes he and Prior really do love each other without sex or the need for sex.

Louis doesn’t understand that because he doesn’t have good relationships with his exes.

–Also Prior is clearly Louis’ first serious relationship.

–If the positions were reversed, Prior would have stayed with Louis and even enlisted Belize’s help and Belize would help, more for Prior than for Louis but he wouldn’t let that show. Louis would be difficult and try to push Prior away but Prior would stay. 

–Prior is connected to the gay community and has a lot of rich social bonds even if Belize is the only one we see. Louis, sadly, is too inhibited to seek out the connections that would free him. For all of Louis’ political bluster, he has one foot out the door in terms of self-acceptance.

–Louis’ parents are the kind of frigid “progressives” who are “fine” with having a gay son but not really. Louis would put even *more* shame and guilt on top of that, because he’s all shame and guilt. And AIDS would complicate whatever tenuous acceptance they reached.

–On the other hand Prior doesn’t have blood family, he has lineage. And more importantly he has chosen family and community.

–James McArdle tried to frame Louis’ leaving as, like, Prior was his goddess and he couldn’t watch his goddess die, which I thought was a very generous interpretation. Maybe he needed to frame it that way as an actor playing his character but Louis’ aversion is clear. AIDS is visceral and Louis is all theoretical. He can’t handle illness, full stop.

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youkaiyume: I missed you too, Fool. In which Max rushes back to…

Saturday, October 10th, 2015


I missed you too, Fool.

In which Max rushes back to the Citadel to check…on things.

LONG POST! I apologize. This is a rather self-indulgent follow up to this comic because I upset myself (and apparently many others) with Ghost!Furiosa. It started with one sketch of forehead touch greetings and then it got way out of control.

I had fun with the girls though. In the first panel… it looks like they’ve become Furiosa’s harem lol.



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fire-miracle: I’m never gonna stop watching these gifs of Jorge…

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015


I’m never gonna stop watching these gifs of Jorge saying amazing words to his fans.
It always helps me to get more inspired :”“)

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bagarres: fun fact: you can explore museums on google street view  I’d seen this mentioned,…

Friday, February 28th, 2014


fun fact: you can explore museums on google street view 

I’d seen this mentioned, but never actually tried it out. So I did, and one of the first museums I noticed that they had was the Getty in L.A.:


And I thought I recognized the large painting in the thumbnail, so I clicked through, and yeah! They chose to start the Street View tour in front of that Winterhalter painting with the crazy-awesome silk moire patterns that I geeked out about after my visit there:


And then I started getting really excited, because I was pretty sure that the portrait that started my whole Sargent obsession was on the other side of that wall, hanging in the next room behind the Winterhalter. So I hurried through the doorway and turned around and…


Aw, nuts. That’s the painting, of Thérèse, Countess Clary Aldringen, but apparently they didn’t secure the rights from its current owners, the Greif family, so it’s blurred out in Street View.

So I had to go back and stare at the images of it that I posted after my visit.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Looking at images of it on the computer is looking at images of it on the computer. To really feel that rush I probably need to make a trip back to the Getty and see it in person.

But I’m definitely going to spend more time doing the art museum tours in Street View. It has at least a taste of that in-person excitement.

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sigurros: Rafstraumur remix by Cyril…

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013


Rafstraumur remix by Cyril Hahn: Illustrations by Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir:

I’ve been thinking more lately about the making of things. That is, of the creative impulse, and actually acting on it. Not waiting to write/draw/compose/perform the thing that’s perfect. But creating something new that satisfies my own need, without regard to whether it meets any external critical standard.

This video feels like a finger gently poking the part of me that has been thinking that.

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Vincent Van Gogh, Sunset at Montmajour, 1888 More at the New…

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Vincent Van Gogh, Sunset at Montmajour, 1888

More at the New York Times: Museum Identifies New Van Gogh Painting in Amsterdam

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I wish there was a source for this. Anyone recognize it?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

I wish there was a source for this. Anyone recognize it?

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Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker talk about the Caspar…

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker talk about the Caspar David Friedrich painting I geeked out about the day, A Walk at Dusk. They mention the moon briefly, but spend more time on the symbolism of the ancient tomb and Friedrich’s depiction of man’s place in nature. Part of the Khan Academy project.

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Pretty dresses at the Getty, third of three. From the Getty…

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Pretty dresses at the Getty, third of three. From the Getty placard:

Portrait of Thérèse, Countess Clary Aldringen (1896)

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)

Oil on canvas

As if about to speak, Countess Clary Aldringen (1867-1930) invites the viewer to enter her space (actually Sargent’s London studio, complete with stage props). The white satin gown — with wide sleeves emphasizing her lithe figure — is rendered with Sargent’s bravura technique, painted at lightning speed at the height of his career. Commissioned by the sitter’s husband, while he was counselor to the Austro-Hungarian Embassy in London, for the family castle in Czechoslovakia, the portrait exemplifies the international quality of Sarget’s practice, as well as why Rodin called him “the Van Dyck of our times.”

Lent by Renée and Lloyd Greif

[me again]

There’s an interesting article about Sargent, and this painting, at the Getty web site: 85 Years after John Singer Sargent. Another site dedicated to Sargent has a page that gives this provenance for the painting:

Formerly in the collection of Aldringe, Clara, Countess, until 1930.

Latour, Henri de Baillet, Countess, 1930-1945.

Anonymous collection, 1945.

Unknown collection,

Sotheby’s, New York, New York Sale (Nov. 22, 1988), lot 56.

If I’m reading that correctly, it says that the painting belonged to Thérèse (the lady in the painting) from the time it was painted (when she was 29) until her death at 63. It then passed to a different countess, the wife of Count Henri de Baillet-Latour, a Belgian aristocrat who was the third president of the International Olympic Committee, and whose tenure including presiding over the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics. He died in 1942, and if my guess is correct his wife survived him by three years, until 1945, when she died and the painting passed through a couple of unspecified owners until it was sold at auction to its current owners, the Greifs, in 1988.

I spent a while staring at that strand of pearls on the dress’s bodice. I don’t know what you would even call that sort of jewelry, but then I’m not particularly knowledgeable about the adornments of 18th-century aristocrats. But I thought it was pretty.

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Nerd Alert!

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013


I’m watching the season 3 finale of Downton Abbey and I just noticed that the Scotland estate they’re vacationing at has Caspar David Friedrich paintings on the wall. 

How swanky. 


Hm. I’ve been unable to find any actual Caspar David Friedrich paintings that match those. They certainly appear (to my untrained eye) to be his style. But maybe they’re actually a different artist? Anyone know?

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Pretty dresses at the Getty, second of three. From the Getty…

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Pretty dresses at the Getty, second of three. From the Getty placard:

Portrait of Princess Leonilla of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (1843)

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (German, 1805-1873; active in France from 1834)

Oil on canvas

Winterhalter flattered his aristocratic patrons with suave compositions that conveyed their wealth and sophistication. Typical of his clientele was Leonilla (1816-1918), a Russian-born princess active in fashionable Parisian circles. She is portrayed reclining on a luxurious carpet amid silk bolsters on the portico of a seaside palace. Although the setting was considered exotic and her pose daring, the sumptuous gown is a reminder of Leonilla’s refined background.

[me again]

This portrait dominates its side of the room. When I entered I noticed a couple examining the lower part of the painting, and I wondered what they were looking at. When I got a chance to approach closer I understood; the moiré patterns Winterhalter painted in the silk gown are amazing.

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Pretty dresses at the Getty, first of three. From the Getty…

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Pretty dresses at the Getty, first of three. From the Getty placard:

Portrait of Anne, Countess of Chesterfield (1777-1778)

Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727-1788)

Oil on canvas

When this portrait of Anne Thistlewaite (1759-1798) was exhibited by Gainsborough in 1778, critics agreed that he had captured the sitter’s aristocratic refinement. While one contemporary observer found the hands and drapery to be unsubstantial and unfinished, others recognized that when the portrait is viewed from a distance, the loose brushwork coalesces into rich, luxurious textures and forms.

[me again]

Someone (*cough* Ian *cough*) asked what was up with all the art museum posts lately. It’s just… I’m like this. Sorry if it’s too much.

In the interest of hanging onto any followers I can, I’ve tried using the queue. So: Only one of these per day for the next few days. Or, well, only one queued one. The obsessive impulse could certainly strike again in the meantime. But I’ll try to queue them if I can. These things have been hanging around on a wall somewhere for hundreds of years; I should be able to wait a few days before posting them.

Should be.

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A Walk at Dusk (about 1830-35) Caspar David Friedrich (German,…

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

A Walk at Dusk (about 1830-35)

Caspar David Friedrich (German, 1774-1840)

I posted previously about this painting I saw at the Getty last weekend. As someone who loves the sight of a crescent moon, and still more a close conjunction with a bright planet, I really liked this scene, and the contrast Friedrich created between the beautiful event in the sky above and the somber scene depicted below.

Reading up on Friedrich since then, I found his story compelling. His mother died when he was seven, a sister died when he was eight, and then, when he was 13, his younger brother Johann broke through the ice on a frozen lake and drowned before his eyes. At 16 he began his formal training as an artist, and ended up becoming one of the leading painters of the German Romantic period, specializing in landscapes that placed diminished human figures in evocative natural settings.

There was both a figurative and a literal darkness to his work. He frequently experienced episodes that today would probably be diagnosed as major depression. Some lighter scenes and more use of color emerged after Friedrich, at the age of 42, married 25-year-old Caroline Bommer and started his own family. But as time passed his style fell out of favor and his reputation declined, until he and his paintings were viewed as little more than strange and melancholy curiosities. His later life was spent in poverty and obscurity, and his paintings increasingly featured a bent, aged figure: Friedrich himself, contemplating scenes where symbols of death, like the megalithic tomb shown in this painting, were prominent.

A Walk at Dusk does not have an exact date; the Getty placard lists it as “about 1830-35”, those being the last years in which Friedrich was able to work in oils. He suffered a debilitating stroke in 1835 and never fully recovered; during the last five years of his life he created few works, with most of those being smaller paintings and watercolors. My guess is that A Walk at Dusk, along with a number of other works dated 1830-35, went unsold during his lifetime, and only became of interest after his death, at which point Friedrich’s haphazard records made it impossible to fix the dates of the works more precisely.

The placard accompanying the painting at the Getty mentions the new moon, but doesn’t mention the planet alongside it. But as someone who loves planetary conjunctions I noticed it right away. And it made me wonder: Would it be possible to figure out when Friedrich might have seen that conjunction? With desktop planetarium software it’s easy to simulate the sky for any date and location, so earlier today I used a program called Stellarium to look at all the young moons Friedrich might have seen if he’d been walking near Dresden at dusk during the years 1830 to 1835.

I think I may have found it. If Friedrich was depicting an actual sky he’d seen recently, rather than merely inventing a sky, or basing the painting on a sketch he’d made years before, then there’s really only one good candidate: The night of January 6, 1832, when an 11% illuminated moon hung low in the southwest with Jupiter a half-degree above and to the right.

I included enlargements of the painting and a screenshot from Stellarium above, so you can see how closely the painting matches the sky from that date. There were a half-dozen other conjunctions during those years, but nothing that comes close to having the moon and a bright planet in the right position at the right time. But the conjunction of January 6, 1832 is an almost perfect match.

I really like this painting. I like thinking about the deeper themes Friedrich was communicating with it. But I also like the idea that because of his belief in the importance of depicting the beauty of the natural world faithfully, and because of our shared appreciation of the beauty of a close conjunction, I may have been able to tell the precise evening when he saw that sky.

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dendroica: ikenbot: Jupiter and the Moon Have a Close…

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013



Jupiter and the Moon Have a Close Encounter in the Sky February 18, 2013

The movement of the Moon makes a fascinating study of celestial mechanics. Despite the light pollution it brings to the nighttime sky, we’re fortunate as a species to have a large solitary satellite to give us lessons in “Celestial Mechanics 101″

This weekend, we’ll get to follow that motion as the Moon crosses into the constellation Taurus for a near-pass of the planet Jupiter, and for a very few citizens of our fair world, occults it.

In astronomy, the term “occultation” simply means that one astronomical body passes in front of another. The term has its hoary roots in astronomy’s ancient past; just like the modern day science of chemistry sprung from the pseudo-science of alchemy, astronomy was once intertwined with the arcane practice of astrology, although the two have long since parted ways. When I use the term “occultation” around my non-space geek friends, (I do have a few!) I never fail to get a funny look, as if I just confirmed every wacky suspicion that they ever had about us backyard astronomers…

But those of us who follow lunar occultations never miss a chance to observe one. You’ll actually get to see the motion of the Moon as it moves against the background planet or star, covering it up abruptly. The Moon actually moves about 12° degrees across the sky per 24 hour period.

On the evening of Monday, February 18th, the 56% illuminated waxing gibbous Moon will occult Jupiter for Tasmania and southern Australia around 12:00 Universal Time (UT). Folks along the same longitude as Australia (i.e., eastern Asia) will see a close pass of the pair. For North America, we’ll see the Moon approach Jupiter and Aldebaran of February 17th (the night of the Virtual Star Party) and the Moon appear past the pair after dusk on the 18th.

I didn’t realize this was happening last night.

I love conjunctions (what the image above actually shows, when two celestial bodies are close together in the sky, as opposed to occultations, when one body actually passes in front of the other). (I love occultations, too. But I’m not talking about those now.)

Seeing this image in my dash reminded me of a painting I saw during my trip to the Getty last weekend. Here it is:

From the Getty placard:

A Walk at Dusk (About 1830-35)

Caspar David Friedrich (German, 1774-1840)

Oil on canvas

The most celebrated of the German Romantic painters, Friedrich possessed a deeply personal and introspective vision that attracted a wide following. Among the last canvases he completed before a debilitating stroke, A Walk at Dusk shows a single figure — perhaps the artist himself — contemplating a megalithic tomb. This symbol of death is counter-balanced by the waxing moon, which represented for Friedrich Christ’s promise of rebirth.

[me again]

The placard didn’t mention it, but you can see that Friedrich didn’t just paint the young crescent moon; he also painted a bright planet (either Venus or Jupiter) in a close conjunction with it.

A crescent moon low in the sky is a beautiful thing by itself, but a planetary conjunction makes it even better. I want to write more about this painting, but I’ll save it for another post. 

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When I visited the Getty yesterday this James Tissot painting…

Monday, February 18th, 2013

When I visited the Getty yesterday this James Tissot painting was one of the first things that caught my eye. I liked how it depicted the two young women doing exactly what I was doing (though I wasn’t as nicely dressed).

Text from the Getty placard:

Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects (1869)

James Tissot (French, 1836-1902)

Oil on canvas

Wearing sumptuously tailored dresses, these well-to-do young ladies lean in to admire a Japanese statuette of a warrior. During the mid-1800s in Paris, collecting and appreciating Japanese decorative arts was a central leisure-time pursuit of the upper middle class. Tissot avidly enjoyed this practice himself, and he depicted objects from his own collection here. Several critics remarked on the contemporary character of this work (or another of the painting’s three versions) when it was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1869.

Lent by a private collector.

[me again]

In 1869 Tissot had been painting in this style for six years, and had become one of the most successful portrait artists in Paris. He couldn’t have known it, but a year later he would be fighting in the Franco-Prussian war, and after France’s defeat would be relocating to London, where he spent the next 11 years.

I think about that when I look at this painting. I imagine Tissot lost in the reverie of these young ladies, their geeky absorption mirroring his own obsessive interest, and in turn mirroring my own. When I geek out about something, lose myself in it, I don’t worry about the future. Just like Tissot.

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victorianmelody: Les Secrets. Reblogging myself to add the…

Monday, February 18th, 2013


Les Secrets.

Reblogging myself to add the source: This is The Gallery of H.M.S. Calcutta (Portsmouth) by James Tissot, painted in 1877 or thereabouts.

I liked it when it came through my dash the first time, so I reblogged it then, but didn’t research it further. But yesterday I went to the Getty in L.A. with my wife, my son, and our friend Joanie, and among the paintings that really struck me there was one by Tissot. In looking up more information on the artist I spotted a thumbnail of this painting and remembered reblogging it.

Small world! Or at least, it is when you’re interested in 19th century paintings of fancy dresses and boats.

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