25 January 2012
21 January 2012
We have entered into the Sun sign of Aquarius the Water-Carrier. Aquarius is associated with the Greek mythical figure of the youth Ganymede. The most beautiful of mortals he was abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle to be the cup-bearer to the gods. The ruler of the Olympians granted Ganymede eternal youth and immortality placing him in the sky as the constellation Aquarius. The cup bearer is shown on an Attic red figure krater fleeing the advances of Zeus while rolling along a hoop and holding high the gift of a cockerel. Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) depicted Ganymede being abducted by the eagle Zeus as a banquet is being held on Mt. Olympus. The goddess Hēbē hands him a gold cup in anticipation of his new role. Over time the image of Aquarius evolved into that of a beautiful young woman. In the Tarot deck it is The Star card. English occultist Aleister Crowley's (1875-1947) Thoth Tarot shows a naked woman kneeling at the edge of a small pool carrying two urns of water. She has one foot on the ground indicating the practical world and the other aloft representing intuition. Above her she is illuminated by The Star.
14 January 2012
The icy month of January is warmed by its red birthstone the garnet and its corresponding birth flower the carnation. The name garnet may have derived from the jeweled fruit the pomegranate. A garnet body centers the mid-seventeenth century Polish eagle that was commissioned by Władysław IV Vasa for his wife Cecilia Renata of Austria. In a detail from the painting of a Madonna and Child by Flemish painter Joos Van Cleve (1485-1540), a single carnation is surmounted by a passion flower. The passion flower was not discovered by Europeans until 1610; the new world flower was added to the old world one by a later artist. Italian artist Antonio del Pollaiolo (1429-1498) depicts a reflective young woman gazing into the future wearing a red dress with a pomegranate motif.
07 January 2012
One of the artists represented in the show is American born, British based James Abbott McNeil Whistler (1834-1903). The man who painted like a butterfly but had the verbal sting of a wasp, captured Christine Spartali wearing a sensuous Japanese kimono posed in front of an oriental screen. The Aesthetic Movement was influenced by the exotic wares that had become available in Europe during the nineteenth century from the Far East. Pre-Raphaelite artist Frederick Sandys (1829-1904) painted the Arthurian temptress Vivien crowned with peacock feathers holding the apple of temptation. The model was his gypsy lover Keomi, who he took up with after abandoning his wife. Louise Jopling (1843-1933), a prominent woman artist of Victorian England, was painted by one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, John Everett Millais (1829-1896).
In addition to being remembered for his contributions to "The Cult of Beauty", Millais married Effie Gray, the former wife of the art critic John Ruskin. Sadly Ruskin was not able to consummate their six year marriage. The art critic had been a strong supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but did not understand the Aesthetic Movement. Ruskin believed that art had to be realistic and have a moral reason, not the nuanced dreamscapes of "The Cult of Beauty".