17 March 2012

The Wearing of the Blue: St. Patrick's Day


Blue was the original color of St. Patrick's Day. The color known as St. Patrick's Blue describes a sky blue associated with the Order of St. Patrick.as depicted in the badges from Sir Nicholas Harris' (1799-1848) History of the Orders of Knighthood of the British Empire, of the order of the Guelphs of Hanover; and of the medals, clasps, and crosses, conferred for naval and military service. Irish peer Gustavus Hamilton, 2nd Viscount Boyne (1710-1746) is wearing a cobalt blue Masquerade costume in the pastel portrait by Venetian Rococo painter Rosalba Carriera. Flemish artist Lucas de Heere (1534-1584) captures a sixteenth century Irish woman dressed in a pale blue frock. "The Wearing of the Green" came from St. Patrick using the shamrock as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity when converting the pagan Celts. Green shamrocks latter became a symbol of the fight for Irish freedom.

06 March 2012

Yin and Yang: Happy Birthday Pisces


The astrological sign of Pisces is represented by twin fish swimming in opposite directions but united by a slender cord. One fish symbolizes Aphrodite and the other her son Eros. The goddess of love and the god of desire disguised themselves as fish to escape the sea monster Typhon. Their tails were tied together so they would not lose each other as they dived into the depths of the ocean. Those born under the sign of Pisces swim in two opposing worlds; the realm of the spirit and reality. Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911) captured the mystical element of the fish in his The Sun is Passing the Sign of Pisces. The gods of love and desire are revealed in German Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach's (1472-1553) painting Venus with Cupid who Stole a Honeycomb. The naughty god is seen alone on a piece of red figure pottery.

Happy Birthday to Greg McIntyre and Jim Gallagher!