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Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate ad arte e letteratura. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Friday, 28 January 2011

Hokusai

"Under a Wave off Kanagawa", also known as The Great Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa. It depicts the area around Mount Fuji and the mountain itself appears in the background. Copies of the print are in many Western collections.


Torino - Museo Arte Orientale

Gyokusen Shuga Cho

Mochizuki Gyokusen (1834-1913)



Torino - Museo Arte Orientale, Via San Domenico 11


M R James - The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

"Up to the present day there is much gossip among the Canons about a certain hidden treasure of this Abbot Thomas, for which those of Steinfeld have often made search, though hitherto in vain. The story is that Thomas, while yet in the vigour of life, concealed a very large quantity of gold somewhere in the monastery. He was often asked where it was, and always answered, with a laugh: 'Job, John, and Zechariah will tell either you or your successors.' He sometimes added that he should feel no grudge against those who might find it."

http://ghost.new-age-spirituality.com/mrjames10.html
M R James - The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

Bel racconto breve di James sulla ricerca di un tesoro nascosto.

Ulysses' last voyage

I and my company were old and slow when at that narrow passage we arrived where Hercules his landmarks set as signals, that man no farther onward should adventur. On the right hand behind me I left Seville, and on the other already had left Ceuta. 'O brothers, who amid a hundred thousand perils,' I said, 'have come to the West, to this short eve which is the remaining of your senses, still be you unwilling to deny the knowledge, following the sun, of the unpeopled world. Consider the seed from which you sprang; you were not made to live like brutes, but for pursuit of virtue and of knowledge.' So eager did I render my companions, with this brief exhortation for the voyage, that then I hardly could have held them back. And having turned our stern to the morning, we of our oars made wings for this mad flight, evermore gaining on the larboard side.
Already saw the night all the stars of the other pole, and ours so very low that they did not rise above the ocean floor. Five days and nights lasted since we had entered into the deep pass, when a mountain appeared to us, dim from distance, and it seemed to me so high as I had never any one seen.
Joyful were we, and soon it turned to weeping; for out of the new land a whirlwind rose, and smote upon the fore part of the ship. Three times it made her whirl with all the waters, at the fourth time it made the stern uplift, and the prow downward go, as pleased Another, until the sea above us closed again."

arranged from Longfellow's Translation

Ulisse

Lo maggior corno de la fiamma antica comincio` a crollarsi mormorando pur come quella cui vento affatica; indi la cima qua e la` menando, come fosse la lingua che parlasse, gitto` voce di fuori, e disse:
...
Io e compagni eravam vecchi e tardi quando venimmo a quella foce stretta dov'Ercule segno` li suoi riguardi, accio` che l'uom piu` oltre non si metta: da la man destra mi lasciai Sibilia, da l'altra gia` m'avea lasciata Setta.
"O frati", dissi "che per cento milia perigli siete giunti a l'occidente, a questa tanto picciola vigilia d'i nostri sensi ch'e` del rimanente, non vogliate negar l'esperienza, di retro al sol, del mondo sanza gente. Considerate la vostra semenza: fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza". Li miei compagni fec'io si` aguti, con questa orazion picciola, al cammino, che a pena poscia li avrei ritenuti; e volta nostra poppa nel mattino, de' remi facemmo ali al folle volo, sempre acquistando dal lato mancino. Tutte le stelle gia` de l'altro polo vedea la notte e 'l nostro tanto basso, che non surgea fuor del marin suolo.
Cinque volte racceso e tante casso lo lume era di sotto da la luna, poi che 'ntrati eravam ne l'alto passo, quando n'apparve una montagna, bruna per la distanza, e parvemi alta tanto quanto veduta non avea alcuna.
Noi ci allegrammo, e tosto torno` in pianto, che' de la nova terra un turbo nacque, e percosse del legno il primo canto. Tre volte il fe' girar con tutte l'acque; a la quarta levar la poppa in suso e la prora ire in giu`, com'altrui piacque, infin che 'l mar fu sovra noi richiuso.

Profiles - Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). Her husband was the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Read more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley.
In 1816, the couple spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein.

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

Questa poesia parla di Ozymandias, altro nome di Ramses II.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime

Un racconto di OscarWilde, parodia del "dovere", questo Lord Arthur Savile's Crime
In this story, Lord Arthur Savile, is introduced by Lady Windermere to Mr Septimus R. Podgers, a chiromantist, who reads his palm and tells him that he will be a murderer. Lord Arthur wants to marry, so he decides that he has no right to do so until he has committed the murder...

...Suddenly she looked eagerly round the room, and said, in her clear contralto voice, 'Where is my cheiromantist?'  'Your what, Gladys?' exclaimed the Duchess, giving an involuntary start. 'My cheiromantist, Duchess; I can't live without him at present.'
 'Dear Gladys! you are always so original,' murmured the Duchess, trying to remember what a cheiromantist really was, and hoping it was not the same as a cheiropodist.
 'He comes to see my hand twice a week regularly,' continued Lady Windermere, 'and is most interesting about it.'  'Good heavens!' said the Duchess to herself, 'he is a sort of cheiropodist after all. How very dreadful. I hope he is a foreigner at any rate. It wouldn't be quite so bad then.'
 'I must certainly introduce him to you.' 'Introduce him!' cried the Duchess; 'you don't mean to say he is here?' and she began looking about for a small tortoise-shell fan and a very tattered lace shawl, so as to be ready to go at a moment's notice.

Il Caronte di Virgilio

Nella mitologia, Caronte, figlio di Erebo e Notte, era il traghettatore dell'Ade. Trasportava le anime da una riva all'altra del fiume Acheronte, ma solo se i loro corpi avevano ricevuto i rituali funebri, con un obolo per pagare il viaggio; chi non aveva l'obolo, era costretto vagare tra le nebbie del fiume per cento anni. Si metteva così una moneta nella bocca del defunto prima della sepoltura. Alcuni ricercatori sostengono che il prezzo era di due monete, sistemate sopra gli occhi.

Pochissime anime vive son state trasportate da Caronte, tra di loro Enea, Ulisse, Orfeo e Dante.
Caronte viene descritto nell'Eneide da Virgilio al libro VI con le seguenti parole:

"Portitor has horrendus aquas et flumina servat
terribili squalore Charon, cui plurima mento
canities inculta iacet, stant lumina flamma,
sordidus ex umeris nodo dependet amictus.
Ipse ratem conto subigit velisque ministrat
et ferruginea subvectat corpora cumba,
iam senior, sed cruda deo viridisque senectus."

Ecco che Dante segue il suo maestro Virtgilio e riprende la figura di Caronte, la barba bianca, gli occhi di fuoco, ma sembra renderlo meno demone e più dannato egli stesso come le anime che traghetta.

Charon the demon

Ed ecco verso noi venir per nave un vecchio, bianco per antico pelo,
gridando: <<Guai a voi, anime prave! Non isperate mai veder lo cielo:
i' vegno per menarvi a l'altra riva ne le tenebre etterne, in caldo e 'n gelo.
E tu che se' costi`, anima viva, partiti da cotesti che son morti>>.
Ma poi che vide ch'io non mi partiva, disse: <<Per altra via, per altri porti
verrai a piaggia, non qui, per passare: piu` lieve legno convien che ti porti>>.
E 'l duca lui: <<Caron, non ti crucciare: vuolsi cosi` cola` dove si puote
cio` che si vuole, e piu` non dimandare>>. Quinci fuor quete le lanose gote
al nocchier de la livida palude, che 'ntorno a li occhi avea di fiamme rote.
Ma quell'anime, ch'eran lasse e nude, cangiar colore e dibattero i denti,
ratto che 'nteser le parole crude. ...
Caron dimonio, con occhi di bragia, loro accennando, tutte le raccoglie;
batte col remo qualunque s'adagia.


And lo! towards us coming in a boat an old man, hoary with the hair of eld, crying:
"Woe unto you, ye souls depraved! Hope nevermore to look upon the heavens; I come to lead you to the other shore, to the eternal shades in heat and frost. And thou, that yonder standest, living soul, withdraw thee from these people, who are dead!"
But when he saw that I did not withdraw, he said: "By other ways, by other ports thou to the shore shalt come, not here, for passage; a lighter vessel needs must carry thee." And unto him the Guide: "Vex thee not, Charon; it is so willed there where is power to do that which is willed; and farther question not." Thereat were quieted the fleecy cheeks of him the ferryman of the livid fen, who round about his eyes had wheels of flame.
But all those souls who weary were and naked their colour changed and gnashed their teeth together, as soon as they had heard those cruel words...
Charon the demon, with the eyes of glede, beckoning to them, collects them all together, beats with his oar whoever lags behind. 

Buddha


Bronzo laccato e dorato, Thailandia, XVII-XVIII sec.
Museo Arte Orientale

Buddha del Paradiso d'Oriente


Museo Arte Orientale, Fusione in rame con tracce di oro freddo, Tibet centrale, XIV secolo

La statua mostra il Buddha del Paradiso d'Oriente nel momento della tentazione del Buddha Shakyamuni da parte di Mara e la sua incrollabile decisione di raggiungere l'Illuminazione. Il Budha siede su una doppia corolla di loto culminante in un filare di perle, con la mano sinistra nell'atteggiamento della meditazione e con la mano destra che sfiora il suolo nel gesto che chiama la Terra a testimone del diritto maturato in infinite vite precedenti.

Buddha Shakyamuni


Museo Arte Orientale, Buddha Shakyamuni, Rame dorato e pigmento azzurro, Tibet centrale, XIII sec.

Il Buddha siede nella posizione del loto. La spalla destra scoperta, un sottile panneggio ricade sulla sinistra dopo aver fasciato il busto. Il collo ha le tre pieghe di bellezza. Busto slanciato e spalle larghe e arrotondate. Viso ovale che si allarga in alto nella fronte spaziosa. Gli occhi si estendono verso le tempie con le palpebre abbassate a caratterizzare uno sguardo interiore. Questa immagine del Buddha venne creata per un monastero Tibetano, anche se risente della tradizione della scultura nepalese, nella fusione in rame e la ricca doratura al mercurio.

The Doors to Aslan

C.S. Lewis wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia" as fantasy novels for children. Written between 1949 and 1954, the series is Lewis's most popular work. The books contain Christian ideas intended to be easily accessible to young readers. In addition, Lewis used characters from Greek and Roman mythology as well as traditional British and Irish fairy tales.
According to the paper,"The Wardrobe as Christian Metaphor", by Don W. King, Mythlore 14 (Autumn 1987), C.S. Lewis is aware of how frequently the door is used metaphorically in the New Testament and that Jesus is often associated with a door. In John 14:6 for instance, Jesus tells to be the door to communion with God. Lewis' knowledge of Scriptures is put to work throughout Narnia. As we can read in the paper by Don W. King, "doors are used significantly in the stories and echoes of the Biblical references made above resonate clearly. Four specific points about Lewis' use of doors are noteworthy: 1) Literal doors lead to the Door, Aslan; 2) Aslan is a two-way door; 3) Passage through the different literal doors into Narnia is always unplanned; and 4) All who enter the doors are called into Narnia, but none are compelled to stay; indeed, some who are called do not seem to belong. First, in every instance the literal doors that the children use to enter Narnia eventually lead directly to the Door, Aslan. The doors themselves take on different forms, from the wardrobe door in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to the framed picture in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to the railway station in Prince Caspian and The Last Battle to the magic rings and the Wood Between the Worlds in The Magician's Nephew. Literally, the doors function to take the children out of their real world and into a new other world". The doors serve to move the children from the everyday life to a new reality. All the doors inexorably lead to Aslan.
"Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there."

The Gate of Hell

"Per me si va ne la citta` dolente,
per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.
Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
fecemi la divina podestate,
la somma sapienza e 'l primo amore.
Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate".
Queste parole di colore oscuro
vid'io scritte al sommo d'una porta.


"Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here."
Such characters in colour dim I mark'd
Over a portal's lofty arch inscrib'd.

Coccodrilli e fossili nelle chiese

Pare che la presenza di coccodrilli nelle chiese non sia una rarita', da come si puo' vedere con una semplice ricerca su Internet. Ho, per esempio, trovato il Santuario della Beata Vergine di Mantova   dove un rettile pende dal soffitto. Si legge nel sito, che in epoca cristiana le figure di draghi coccodrilli o serpi venivano spesso associate al male, considerate personificazioni terrene del diavolo. "La collocazione di questi animali nelle chiese ha quindi un forte significato simbolico, come furono nelle chiese medievali l'ubicazione di fossili preistorici; quindi, incatenare l'animale in alto, nella volta della chiesa vuol dire renderlo innocuo, bloccare il male che rappresenta e nello stesso tempo esporre un monito concreto per i fedeli contro l'umana predisposizione all'errore."


Palazzo Madama

M R James - Canon Alberic's Scrapbook

Canon Alberic's Scrapbook è un racconto di  R James, dove un collezionista di libri antichi si imbatte in un prezioso volumetto, nel paesiono di St. Bertrand de Comminges.

"St. Bertrand de Comminges is a decayed town on the spurs of the Pyrenees, not very far from Toulouse, and still nearer to Bagnères-de-Luchon. It was the site of a bishopric until the Revolution, and has a cathedral which is visited by a certain number of tourists. In the spring of 883 an Englishman arrived at this old-world place ... He was a Cambridge man, who had come specially from Toulouse to see St Bertrand's Church... (He) proposed to himself to fill a notebook and to use several dozens of plates in the process of describing and photographing every corner of the wonderful church that dominates the little hill of Comminges...
However, the Englishman (let us call him Dennistoun) was soon too deep in his notebook and too busy with his camera to give more than an occasional glance to the sacristan. Whenever he did look at him, he found him at no great distance, either huddling himself back against the wall or crouching in one of the gorgeous stalls. Dennistoun became rather fidgety after a time. Mingled suspicions that he was keeping the old man from his déjeuner, that he was regarded as likely to make away with St Bertrand's ivory crozier, or with the dusty stuffed crocodile that hangs over the font, began to torment him.
'Won't you go home?' he said at last; 'I'm quite well able to finish my notes alone; you can lock me in if you like. I shall want at least two hours more here, and it must be cold for you, isn't it?'
'Good Heavens!' said the little man, whom the suggestion seemed to throw into a state of unaccountable terror, 'such a thing cannot be thought of for a moment. Leave monsieur alone in the church? No, no; two hours, three hours, all will be the same to me...

Museo Arte Orientale, Arte Giapponese

Snow country

"Snow Country" is a novel by Yasunari Kawabata (1899 – 1972,  Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968). "Snow country" is a literal translation of the Japanese title "Yukiguni". The name comes from the place where the story takes place, where Shimamura arrives in a train coming through a long tunnel under the border mountains between Gunma  and Niigata Prefectures. more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Country

Some Prefer Nettles

"Some prefer nettles" is a novel written by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (1886 – 1965). Considered one of Tanizaki’s most successful novels, Tade kuu mushi has a theme pervading it, the struggle between East and West. 

The protagonist of the novel, Kaname, possesses aesthetic tastes leaning toward the so-called West.  more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Some_Prefer_Nettles
Anche in italiano, Gli insetti preferiscono le ortiche.


Museo Arte Orientale, Arte giapponese

Personaggio femminile con pugnale, xilografia su carta, tecnica nishiki-e, oban tate-e (37,3 x 25,4 cm) 
Autore: Ryusai Shigeharu, ca. 1830. 


Byōbu, the wind wall

Byōbu (wind wall) are the Japanese folding screens, made from several joined panels bearing decorative painting, used to separate and enclose private spaces. During the Edo Period (1600-1868), Byōbu adorned samurai residences. The backgrounds of byōbu were made from gold leaf and highly colorful paintings depicting nature and scenes from daily life.


Museo Arte Orientale




Hokusai

"Under a Wave off Kanagawa", also known as The Great Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa. It depicts the area around Mount Fuji and the mountain itself appears in the background. Copies of the print are in many Western collections.


Torino - Museo Arte Orientale

Gyokusen Shuga Cho



Mochizuki Gyokusen (1834-1913)

Torino - Museo Arte Orientale, Via San Domenico 11

W H Hodgson - The Haunted Jarvee

"Dinner over, Carnacki as usual passed round his smokes, snuggled himself down luxuriously in his favourite armchair and went straight to the story we knew he had invited us to hear.
'I've been on a trip in one of the real old-time sailing ships,' he said without any preliminary remarks. 'The Jarvee, owned by my old friend Captain Thompson. I went on the voyage primarily for my health, but I picked on the old Jarvee because Captain Thompson had often told me there was something queer about her. I used to ask him up here whenever he came ashore and try to get him to tell me more about it, you know; but the funny thing was he never could tell me anything definite concerning her queerness. He seemed always to know but when it came to putting his knowledge into words it was as if he found that the reality melted out of it. ....
....
Then on the eighteenth day something truly happened. I had been pacing the poop as usual with old Thompson when suddenly he stopped and looked up at the mizzen royal which had just begun to flap against the mast. He glanced at the wind-vane near him, then ruffled his hat back and stared at the sea.
'"Wind's droppin', mister. There'll be trouble tonight," he said. "D'you see yon?" And he pointed away to windward. '"What?" I asked, staring with a curious little thrill that was due to more than curiosity. "Where?"
'"Right off the beam," he said. "Comin' from under the sun." "I don't see anything," I explained after a long stare at the wide-spreading silence of the sea that was already glassing into a dead calm surface now that the wind had died. "Yon shadow fixin'" said the old man, reaching for his glasses.
He focussed them and took a long look, then passed them across to me and pointed with his finger. "Just under the sun," he repeated. "Comin' towards us at the rate o' knots." He was curiously calm and matter-of-fact and yet I felt that a certain excitement had him in the throat; so that I took the glasses eagerly and stared according to his directions.
After a minute I saw it - a vague shadow upon the still surface of the sea that seemed to move towards us as I stared. For a moment I gazed fascinated, yet ready every moment to swear that I saw nothing and in the same instant to be assured that there was truly something out there upon the water, apparently coming towards the ship.
'"It's only a shadow, captain," I said at length...."
More http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/ff4/jarvee.htm

M R James - Lost Hearts

Montague Rhodes James, (1862 – 1936), used the publication name M R James. He was an English mediaeval scholar and provost of King's College, Cambridge and of Eton College. He is well-known for his ghost stories. James's ghost stories were published in a series of collections: among them, the "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary". Many of the ghost tales were created as a Christmas Eve entertainment and read aloud to friends.
Read more, Lost Hearts
"It was a day of curious experiences for Stephen: a windy, noisy day, which filled the house and the gardens with a restless impression. As Stephen stood by the fence of the grounds, and looked out into the park, he felt as if an endless procession of unseen people were sweeping past him on the wind, borne on resistlessly and aimlessly, vainly striving to stop themselves, to catch at something that might arrest their flight and bring them once again into contact with the living world of which they had formed a part."