Monday, December 13, 2010

New Clue found on Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa's eyes may reveal model's identity, expert claims

Silvano Vinceti claims initials – possibly the model's – are discernible in the left eye of the iconic Da Vinci painting

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci's painting of Mona Lisa contains several clues as to the model's identity, Vinceti claims. Photograph: Gianni Dagli Orti/Corbis

An Italian researcher has sparked new controversy over the world's most famous painting by claiming Leonardo da Vinci painted tiny letters into the eyes of the Mona Lisa which may finally reveal the disputed identity of his model.
To arrive at a theory worthy of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's 2003 bestseller, researcher Silvano Vinceti avoided the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile and instead gazed deep into her eyes with the help of high-resolution images.
"Invisible to the naked eye and painted in black on green-brown are the letters LV in her right pupil, obviously Leonardo's initials, but it is what is in her left pupil that is far more interesting," said Vinceti, the chairman of the Italian national committee for cultural heritage.
Vinceti said that the letters B or S, or possibly the initials CE, were discernible, a vital clue to identifying the model who sat for the Renaissance artist. She has often been named as Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant, but Vinceti disagreed, claiming Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa in Milan. He said he would announce his conclusions next month.
"On the back of the painting are the numbers '149', with a fourth number erased, suggesting he painted it when he was in Milan in the 1490s, using as a model a woman from the court of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan," said Vinceti, who claimed earlier this year that he had identified the lost remains of the painter Michelangelo da Caravaggio.
In The Da Vinci Code, Brown suggests Mona Lisa is an anagram for Amon l'Isa, referring to ancient Egyptian deities.
"Leonardo was keen on symbols and codes to get messages across, and he wanted us to know the identity of the model using the eyes, which he believed were the door to the soul and a means for communication," said Vinceti.
He said that while researching the model's identity he had been inspired by a 1960s book by a French art historian, which mentions the letters in her eyes.
"Under the right-hand arch of the bridge seen in the background, Leonardo also painted 72, or L2, another possible clue," he added. "Two expert painters we consulted on this tell us that all these marks, painted using a tiny brush and a magnifying glass, cannot be an error."

Sunday, September 05, 2010

In his essay:

Art and Aesthetics in Action
Written by: Professor Severyn T. Bruyn

Bruyn a new venture in aesthetics.

Below are polar ideas in philosophy. Polar ideas are contrary or contradictory to one another. The taxonomic image in Table 1 should prepare our thinking about how a philosophy of aesthetics develops in a university.

The analysis of D.W. Gotshalk is based on contrary principles, but we now expand their number. A new philosophy of aesthetics now asks questions about how contrary ideas touch every discipline. 

This observation of opposites may assist in reading, and thinking about art.

Polar Principles in Art

Being vs. Becoming
Order vs. Change
Subject vs. Object
Conscious vs. Unconscious
Same vs. Different
Repetition vs. Innovation

Unity vs. Plurality
Spirit vs. Matter
Mind vs. Body
Real vs. Ideal
Feeling vs. Reason
Knowledge vs. Ignorance
Religion/ Ethics
Sacred vs. Secular
Transcendent vs. Imminent
Human vs. Divine
Life vs. Death
Everything vs. Nothing
Right vs. Wrong
Virtue vs. Vice

Interior vs. Exterior
Mortal vs. Immortal
Heaven vs. Hell
Holy vs. Unholy
Moral vs. Immoral          
Good vs. Evil              
Inner vs. Outer
Natural Science
Night vs. Day
Soft vs. Hard
Black vs. White
Female vs. Male
Wide vs. Narrow
Deep vs. Shallow

Light vs. Dark
Smooth vs. Rough      
Summer vs. Winter
Height vs. Depth
Fast vs. Slow
Tall vs. Short
Particular vs. Universal
Unique vs. Common
Structure vs. Change
Continuity vs. Discontinuity
Present vs. Future

Natural vs. Human
Progression vs. Regression
Cyclic vs. Linear
Present vs. Past
Causality vs. Telos
Freedom vs. Justice
Liberty vs. Slavery
Male vs. Female

Hierarchy vs. Equality  
Guilt vs. Innocence
Upper Class vs. Lower Class
Humanities and Arts
Conceal vs. Reveal
Control vs. Surrender
Spontaneity vs. Design
Seeing vs. Finding
Impulse vs. Idea
Fact vs. Value
Logic vs. Intuition
Appreciation vs. Judgement
Comedy vs. Tragedy
Harmony vs. Discord
Purity vs. Impurity
Beautiful vs. Hideous
Vitality vs. Decay
Social Science
Optimism vs. Pessimism
Community vs. Individual
Despair vs. Rage
Innocence vs. Guilt
Connection vs. Disconnection                 
Social vs. Economic
Religion vs. Science      
Inhibit vs. Release
Visible vs. Invisible
Simplicity vs. Complexity
Empty vs. Full
True vs. False  
Life vs. Death.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Artist Technique : James Barry

 The Judgment of Paris.

From the Tate:

This study illustrates Barry's method of sketching out a composition. After making an initial rough sketch in black chalk, he has used the brush like a pen to draw over the chalk with loose flowing lines. The result is an image composed of soft grey strokes, varying in length and width. The figure of Paris (on the right) is the most well-defined in the composition. Those of Juno, Minerva and Venus are more worked over with numerous repeated strokes and flourishes of the brush. To give more definition to this group, Barry has finished off with some darker grey strokes, applied quite dryly.
 (From the display caption August 2004)

James Barry was one of the most influential figures in Irish and British art during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He was a great history painter, a print-maker, and essayist. He was appointed Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy in 1782. He was born at Water Lane in the Blackpool district of Cork in 1741. He was a protégé of the statesman, Edmund Burke, and a firm sympathiser with the movement for American Independence. In his youth he studied classical antiquity and history painting in Bologna and Rome, only returning to London in 1771 where he became a member of the newly-created Royal Academy.
Barry was a great individualist who believed completely in the vocation of painting, particularly history painting. Instead of settling for an easy life of making society portraits, he chose the lonely and unrewarding path of truly fine art, and of history painting in the great European tradition. He lived a life of wretched poverty and deprivation, growing increasingly isolated and paranoid in later years. He fought with his friends and enemies with equal vigour and, up to recently, he was the only artist ever expelled from the Royal Academy.
Although he painted beautiful self-portraits and individual history paintings in the Classical tradition, such as Christopher Nugent (1772), Edmund Burke (1774), Barry as Timanthes (1786) and Ulysses and his companions escaping from Polyphemus (1776), his fame rests firmly on the prodigious series of wall painting he executed for the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts in London. He spent nearly six years working on these six huge works on canvas. They existed for Barry and his contemporaries as a profound allegory on the progress of human knowledge and Hellenic civilisation.
Barry was also a very important theorist of Art. His letters from the Continent are full of the most brilliant perceptions on the meaning of art, especially Classical art and the Italian Masters. His book An Inquiry into the Real and imaginary Obstructions to the Acquisition of the Arts in England (1775) is a powerful defence of the British artistic imagination whileThe Works of James Barry (ed. E. Fryer, 2 vols., 1809) contain the lectures, correspondence and opinion that challenge the reader to seek after greatness. Although he may have fought with everyone in the British arts establishment, in 1806 Barry's body lay in state in the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts and he was buried beside Sir Joshua Reynolds in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral.
See also the complete  correspondence of James Barry at : 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Remodernism: 'towards a new spirituality in art'

posted by Paul Grant (follower of Basho) 8/ 21/10
Just came upon this document. I know many artist struggle to place themselves into some comprehensible `art movement' to better position themselves with an audience. Of course it would seem dated to call oneself a pop artist or a cubist in 2010 - so here is another word- claimed by some to be a movement:

'towards a new spirituality in art'

Through the course of the 20th century Modernism has progressively lost its way, until finally toppling into the pit of Postmodern balderdash. At this appropriate time, The Stuckists, the first Remodernist Art Group, announce the birth of Remodernism.

1. Remodernism takes the original principles of Modernism and reapplies them, highlighting vision as opposed to formalism.

2. Remodernism is inclusive rather than exclusive 
and welcomes artists who endeavour to know themselves and find themselves through art processes that strive to connect and include, rather than alienate and exclude. Remodernism upholds the spiritual vision of the founding fathers of Modernism and respects their bravery and integrity in facing and depicting the travails of the human soul through a new art that was no longer subservient to a religious or political dogma and which sought to give voice to the gamut of the human psyche.
3. Remodernism discards and replaces Post-Modernism because of its failure to answer or address any important issues of being a human being. 

4. Remodernism embodies spiritual depth and meaning and brings to an end an age of scientific materialism, nihilism and spiritual bankruptcy.

5. We don't need more dull, boring, brainless destruction of convention, what we need is not new, but perennial. 
We need an art that integrates body and soul and recognises enduring and underlying principles which have sustained wisdom and insight throughout humanity's historyThis is the proper function of tradition.
6. Modernism has never fulfilled its potential. It is futile to be 'post' something which has not even 'been' properly something in the first place. Remodernism is the rebirth of spiritual art.

7. Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.

8. Spiritual art is not about fairyland. It is about taking hold of the rough texture of life. It is about addressing the shadow and making friends with wild dogs. Spirituality is the awareness that everything in life is for a higher purpose.
9. Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity's quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists. 

10. The making of true art is man's desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. 
Art that fails to address these issues is not art.

11. It should be noted that technique is dictated by, and only necessary to the extent to which it is commensurate with, the vision of the artist.

12. The Remodernist's job is to bring God back into art but not as God was before. 
Remodernism is not a religion, but we uphold that it is essential to regain enthusiasm (from the Greek, en theos to be possessed by God). 

13. A true art is the visible manifestation, evidence and facilitator of the soul's journey. 
Spiritual art does not mean the painting of Madonnas or Buddhas. Spiritual art is the painting of things that touch the soul of the artist. Spiritual art does not often look very spiritual, it looks like everything else because spirituality includes everything.

14. Why do we need a new spirituality in art? Because connecting in a meaningful way is what makes people happy. Being understood and understanding each other makes life enjoyable and worth living.

It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry. The principles on which Modernism was based are sound, but the conclusions that have now been reached from it are preposterous.
We address this lack of meaning, so that a coherent art can be achieved and this imbalance redressed.
Let there be no doubt, there will be a spiritual renaissance in art because there is nowhere else for art to go. Stuckism's mandate is to initiate that spiritual renaissance now.

Billy Childish
Charles Thomson
First published by The Hangman Bureau of Enquiry
11 Boundary Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 6TS

Monday, August 16, 2010

Auke Sonnega's Mystic Gamelan up at auction

In an upcoming auction at Christies I was struck by a work by the artist Auke Sonnega:

Sale Information
Sale 2846 :: Nineteen to Now, Art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries including Indonesian Art and Topographical Observations :: 7 September 2010 Amsterdam :: Estimate(Set Currency)
€8,000 - €12,000 -($11,000 - $16,000)

The work: Mystic Gamelan
signed, dated and inscribed 'A. Sonnega Bali '57' (lower left), and inscribed with title (on the overlap) oil on canvas 50 x 61.5 cm.

I was only familiar with his stylized pictures of people in Bali. Much like Paul Gauguin, he was a European artist who went to a less civilized (or corrupted, depending how you judge it) to find inspiration.

This work, Mystic Gamelan, up at auction, represents the transformation that came over the artist after having `spiritual visions: as referred to in the following article:

Auke Cornelius Sonnega (1910 – 1963) was a Dutch painter who spent much of his life working in Bali. After working as a textile designer on the island of Java, Sonnega moved to Bali before the outbreak of the Second World War, eventually dedicating himself to painting after starting out as a newspaper travel writer.

Auke Sonnega’s southeast asian art style reflected his background as a designer and the Art Deco movement of the time, and his works often have a mystical sensation about them. In 1951, he experienced spiritual visions as the result of conversations with his comrade Husein Rofe, which led to a heightened emotional presence in his work going forward.

"This inner change would bring about significant changes in my professional life, through a heightened emotional awareness which would affect the quality and subject of my painting. After eight years, I am in a position to testify that this did in fact come about. Especially from 1954-56, I was aware of considerable progress in the domination of abstract motifs, and their concrete portrayal. My technique and understanding of the fourth dimension improved. I thus discovered that my aesthetic emotions had always been stimulated by a subtle perceptive faculty, which it had never occurred to me previously to qualify as clairvoyance. And yet I prefer to avoid such mystical terms as too often they serve to refer to illusions, as smoke without fire."

-Auke Sonnega, on his spiritual awakening

Above from

The artist wrote about his spirituality:

Husein and I had become close friends, and when he left Djogja, he came to stay for a while in my home. Every day we had discussions about Subud and everything connected with it. I remember how, one Saturday morning in November 1951, I returned home from one of my jobs as a commercial artist, in a most depressed and disappointed condition. I was really "down in the dumps" at this moment, and Husein was staying in my house, so it was difficult to hide from him that something was wrong. Nevertheless, I should have preferred to conceal it, since I was aware that he would certainly reiterate his suggestion that I undergo the Subud training, and I was anxious to avoid that, since I felt little inclination for it, and was quite convinced that it would have no effect on me whatever!
After our lunch in a nearby restaurant, I suddenly felt so unwell that I could no longer pretend; and when Husein offered his help and told me just to go and lie down and relax quietly on my bed, leaving the rest to him, I was too tired to argue, and resigned myself, with the view that, if it would do no good, it was also unlikely to harm me! Husein sat cross-legged on the ground, and began intoning a type of melody which I had now become accustomed to; but this time it did not last long, and after a few seconds, I began to lose consciousness of what was going on around me. After twenty minutes I awoke, and then found out that my body had meanwhile been performing involuntary motions. I was in fact now lying facing the opposite direction, and the blankets were in disorder. Husein was still sitting on the same spot.
I shall try to describe to the best of my ability what I had been through. Shortly after a change in my state of awareness (I shall not say sleep or trance, for I remained fully aware), I traversed three spheres of consciousness all entirely different from each other. The first was the vaguest, and I remember nothing of that now. The second was a blue ocean of waves, and that was the clearest. I was floating, apparently quite naked, across a panorama of small houses, of which there were myriads perhaps 15,000 ft. below me. But I noticed no fixed landmark; there were no mountain-tops, no clouds, nothing but a blue mass of waves of some unfamiliar substance. They must have been about 10 ft. long, one above the other, spaced out at intervals of some twentv inches.
I was floating all alone up there, and all the towns and landscapes of the world were passing by below. I had no fear of the height, because of a vague sense of a link between myself and a superior intelligence, guiding me from above, and in contact with the base of my spine. In fact there appeared to be a pipe about ten inches long fixed to my back, in the manner of planes being refuelled in the air! But this may have been a stream of light. What was most real for me was the sense of an extension of consciousness.
I was aware of the entire panorama below me, and all that was below was also simultaneously within. All my problems were laid out clearly before me, with their solutions even more clear! The vision was so bright and significant. I had an unbelievable sense of exaltation, of bliss pure and intense; there was awareness of the blessed majesty of a consciousness, within which all material forms were reduced to nothing, like glass, transparent and simple to deal with. I saw the houses far below me, and everything that went on in them, the people, their worries, the furniture, the passions. And all this was simultaneously around, above, below, before and behind me.
The principal light was of a fluorescent blue, shining from nowhere, and yet from everywhere, strangely, with great depth and intensity. It belonged to quite another dimension, came from nowhere and went nowhere, shimmering like a blue jewel. My most important discovery was that of my own omnipresence, for I could understand and examine all, even the entire creation. Then I slipped into a third dimension, and while the feeling of omnipresence remained, I now felt as if my consciousness penetrated into everything like X-rays. I noted strange relationships, lines and points, in which I participated while yet I saw them from without. I found myself in little spheres like peas, and then outside them, and noticed thousands, like a huge transformer.
All moved so slowly that I could suspect it was stationary, and yet I knew that life and motion were present, as if in some kind of geometric power station. When I awoke, twenty minutes had gone by. I experienced some resistance in returning to a normal condition, and discovered later on that I had changed my physical position during the process. But Husein had remained sitting on the same spot, on the ground.
This experience produced such an impression on me that, only now after several pears, can I realize how it radically altered my entire existence. It was going to deflect the entire course of my life. The sense of bliss remained present, shining from within, and exalting all things. Many problems which had been worrying me just solved themselves.
There remained a link with that higher consciousness, and for the first three days, flashes continued to come through. Then the sensation vanished, and all seemed to be once again as before; for nearly three weeks, the undertone of bliss remained, then all went dark again as previously. Yet it was not quite the same, since memory persisted. And there was more than memory: there had been a radical transformation in the subconscious and in the superconscious. Had this been a glimpse of eternity? Yet I acted as if nothing had taken place, in order to continue to give the necessary attention to my daily affairs.
External circumstances seemed to proceed as before, but I had no yardstick to measure the inner changes. With the passage of time, I began to recognize more clearly the tremendous implications of what I had undergone. A few stones in the wall of my prison began to crumble, and shafts of light began to penetrate, which had far-reaching consequences for my future. I felt as if reborn through this "exercise" which Husein had communicated to me; it was like a refreshing bath, and exhaustion had vanished like snow thawing in the sunlight.
I did not conceal the experience from my new Subud colleagues, who all congratulated me and were anxious to know just what I had undergone. They shared in my joy, and I did my best to try to let them share in what had taken place. Both Husein and Pak Subub were to tell me that this inner change would bring about significant changes in my professional life, through a heightened emotional awareness which would affect the quality and subject of my painting.
After eight years, I am in a position to testify that this did in fact come about. Especially from 1954-56, I was aware of considerable progress in the domination of abstract motifs, and their concrete portrayal. My technique and understanding of the fourth dimension improved. I thus discovered that my aesthetic emotions had always been stimulated by a subtle perceptive faculty, which it had never occurred to me previously to qualify as clairvoyance. And yet I prefer to avoid such mystical terms as too often they serve to refer to illusions, as smoke without fire.
What I discovered had little in common with the clairvoyance of which I had heard in my youth. I prefer to speak therefore of clear perception, and I now see this in its true perspective, having managed to free myself from the preconceptions on the subject instilled into my mind in the theosophical environment of my youth. I saw "astral" forms present at the Balinese gamelan orchestra preformances, and noted how these subtle beings "nourished" players and dancers, by inspiring them and guiding their motions to the level of art and culture. These devis were feminine forms, sensual but comely, and always had the same detached expressions as the dancers themselves. They were luminous almost in the manner of neon signs, but more vital, vibrating, richly-coloured.
I have seen such auras around human beings. We are told that this is "etheric" light; but then how do we know it is not "astral", or what is the relationship between the two? All these writings are very difficult to sort out. These are no earthly colours, and the etheric spectrum is broader than the physical counterpart. One is reminded of those colours found in ancient Eastern dresses, interwoven with gold threads, which possess a glow hard to describe.
My perceptions of this sort increased during those years. I remember how, about one week after the first experience, I awoke in the middle of the night from a sound sleep, and must have sat upright in bed. At that moment, a sort of electric discharge took place in my head. There was a sound of a tremendous explosion. I heard a clear crackling, and was aware of very high voltage and a pale blue light. In that incommunicable brief second, I saw stars, balls and fountains of light emanating from my head. They were all dancing in and out of each other.
All this was crystal-clear to me, and it was no dream, for it was far more vivid than any dream could be. All of a sudden, I was levitated to a height of perhaps three feet above my bed, and then fell down on my back again. Almost at once I fell back into the same deep sleep, and the next morning I remembered all the details of the experience. It was difficult to decide the precise significance of all these phenomena. Nevertheless, there seemed no doubt that this experience was directly related to the spiritual exercise. So much in Subud was incomprehensible, and though that worried me at the time, today I see it as a healthy sign that mystery should remain inexplicable.
A few months later, I was ready to travel with Husein to Djogjakarta to participate in the training at the home of Pak Subuh, and this came about in February 1952. I remember how I caught a chill on the way, and arrived in Djogja with 'flu'. Nevertheless, I did not under any circumstances wish to miss this meeting, and went to Pak Subuh's home with a European jacket over my tropical clothes, sitting in a betjak, or bicycle rickshaw, with Husein.
We were received in a very simply furnished room, and Pak Subuh entered some time later. Husein gave him a brief account of my spiritual experiences, and also mentioned that I had an attack of influenza and should be glad of his assistance. We chatted for half an hour; there was no mention of a spiritual exercise on that occasion. Pak Subuh observed that I should soon be fit again, and he just sat calmy smoking a fragrant Dutch cigar. I was impressed by the absolutely calm manner of his entry, his peaceful gestures, his balanced and self-possessed mode of conversing. The cigar was smoked in the same calm way. We drank a cup of sweet Javanese tea, served by Pak Subuh's daughter, and then it was time to withdraw.
'Bali girl', by SonnegaPak Subuh laughingly said that my objections would soon vanish, and gave me his hand in farewell. The influenza and fever had in fact vanished. I felt quite fit again, and drove through the cold evening air without the thick coat in which I had arrived. We remained in Djogja for about five days, and participated in two meetings with the senior Subud members. Some were present who had been continuing the training under Pak Subuh's personal supervision since 1937. There was one elderly man, who had been given up in that year by the doctors, as an incurable tuberculosis sufferer, and he was still alive in 1952! and without t.b.! People said that, if Pak Suhuh walked through a hospital ward, all patients not suffering from broken bones and similar complaints would be able to return home the next day!
This was probably a mere legend, but as such was quite typical of the pious fictions which were current locally about the Javanese sages. As far as I was concerned, none of my subsequent exercises, with Pak Subuh or with Husein, could compare with that power-ful manifestation during my initiation. For me this was a stumbling-block, since I was inclined to make comparisons. Although I was to have inspirational moments of heightened consciousness, there was nothing on a level with the first revelation. The evolution taking place was one in the background of normal consciousness, and hence its effects were not immediately perceptible on the surface.
Husein and I returned to Djakarta, where we had weekly reunions with the local members of the group which he was consolidating there. They were nearly all Indonesians, and the two of us felt at home in their midst. Our respective affinities for the Indonesian psyche helped us both a great deal to absorb the message behind Subud. Husein could speak, read and write Indonesian fluently after a few months' application, while I had been struggling with it since 1935. At that time however, neither of us could speak it like our mother tongues.
My artistic training enabled me to design and present a printed pamphlet for the Subud movement early in 1952. I chose a simple rose-coloured folder on which to display the text written in English by Husein. A few hundred copies were made, and Husein gave or posted them to interested persons. Husein announced in these pamphlets that Subud would shortly spread beyond Indonesia. When one listened to him talking about such matters, one just had to believe him! Nevertheless, the process took a few years longer than Pak Subuh had predicted, and than Husein had in consequence expected.
For those like myself, such predictions awakened doubt and impatience as to their validity, but for ilusein it was an incentive to publicize Subud with increased zeal. At the end of 1952, he left Djogjakarta for Palembang in South Sumatra, where he was later to establish a Subud branch, and where he subsequently accepted a teaching post for STANVAC at nearby Sungei Gerong. Although it did not take him long to establish the first Sumatran branch, I could no longer visit him on account of the distance, and we kept in touch only by mail.
I left for Europe in early 1953, and when I returned to Indonesia in October of the same year, I visited Husein at Medan, in North Sumatra, where he had once again gathered around him a number of adherents enthusiastic about Subud: people of the most varied racial origins: Indians, Indonesians, Chinese, Europeans. The members of the group got on well together, and Husein had a gift for making them feel at ease and at home. Wherever he went, he rapidly awakened great interest in his ideas, and quickly acquired a constantly extending circle of friends, who often included prominent persons that were obliged to recognize his unusual talents.
Once the Medan group was able to stand on its own legs, Husein returned to Palembang. In 1954, he left for Japan by a Japanese boat to participate in a religious congress, having obtained a re-entry permit prior to his departure. When however, he was returning to Indonesia, he learnt before the ship touched Hong Kong that the visa had been withdrawn, and he was forced to disembark in Hong Kong. In late 1954, the first letters from Hong Kong began to reach me, on notepaper which indicated where the seven existing Subud groups were. He had soon elicited an interest in the question of Subud among his new acquaintances in the British colony, where there gathered around him a new nucleus.
Thenceforth, Subud was to develop in a manner which I could no longer witness directly. I remained in a charming home in the Sumatran mountains for a while, and later returned to Bali. But the correspondence with Husein continued, and I learnt that he had suddenly sailed for Cyprus in late 1955 at the invitation of an occultist and philosopher who had become much interested in the new ideas expressed by Husein in newspaper articles and personal letters. Husein remained in Cyprus in the troubled time of the "emergency", during which the regularity of our correspondence suffered. For a long time, there was no news; then I heard rumours that Husein was in England.
In a letter to me dated "Hong Kong, February 18, 1955", Husein wrote as follows "Progress depends on perpetual dissatisfaction with oneself. Therefore, what I was doing and writing a year ago has little meaning for me today, and I know that I shall in five years' time consider my present views as rather childish. Now it is because all this comes through me practically automatically that I never pay much attention to it, as the stream keeps on flowing. What is important is whtat has yet to he born. The past will take care of itself. That is why I hate retyping and thinking over or revising old work. I like to be going ever onward. Form is, to me, only a temporary house of Spirit. That's why I can't be much bothered with art, personally, as I am interested in drinking the tea, but not in forming a collection of teacups!"
Husein and I could be in agreement over a work of art; but on the subject of Art, which he appeared so to deprecate, I considered him quite incompetent to judge. Art was my holy of holies. The manner in which he approached it may have been good for my sense of perspective, yet I found it none too pleasing. Later he wrote "You see a lack in me, but there is a lack in everything. Something can appear as a lack when it is another man's past. To see a parent not interested in marbles may appear as a lack to the child, but the parent feels he has more important things to get on with. I consider this world merely as a temporary resting-place in a much bigger pattern, so all the forms of this world which so fascinate you have little meaning for me".
Without wishing to ignore the bigger pattern, insofar as our intuition can grasp it, I feel that Art (with a capital A!) is something never to be denied, on whatever level of consciousness. All forms of this world have their correspondences and causes on higher planes. Material forms are expressions of beauty; the forms can eventually be dispensed with, but Beauty cannot. As my training taught me through experience, the form of Art is in the higher dimensions nobler, greater and vaster. Beauty is an aspect of Divine Love. The universal relationships which form the basis of this beauty play a very important part in the cosmic pattern; without them, this world would be like a concentration camp, unimaginable chaos; perhaps it could not even subsist!
I should have been glad to remain as long as possible, indefinitely, in Indonesia, owing to my fondness for the land and its peoples; but the subject of the sovereignty of West New Guinea was causing increasing tension and difficulties for Dutch subjects. In December 1957, things had reached such a pass that many of them either decided to leave definitively, or were expelled. I myself considered it a good time to travel abroad provisionally, and shortly afterwards arrived in Malaya, where I held exhibitions of my Balinese paintings in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
The combination of Husein's travels and my own left me without news of him for a long time. The chance sight in Singapore of a book on Subud by J. G. Bennett acquainted me for the first time with the fact that Pak Subuh's visit to Europe, predicted to me in 1951, had already taken place. His spiritual brotherhood now possessed centres in Europe and the United States. The tough obstinacy, zeal and devotion of Husein Rofe' had finally not been in vain. I know the almost religious dedication with which he had given himself up wholeheartedly to his task; I had participated in some of the most difficult moments of his life. and observed how he never gave up, but carried on without an instant of doubt. Now the objective for which he had worked so hard has been realized, and his considerable personal sacrifices have borne fruit. This came about because he never allowed himself to be intimidated or deflected from the pursuit of what he considered right.
The strange visitor from Tangier had not entered my life in vain in a Balinese inn. It was at times difficult to understand and follow him. His inner struggles and material problems sometimes seemed without end, to the point of appearing monotonous. Yet I wish I could remember every detail of this interesting and fascinating being; here I have merely recorded the salient facts preserved in my memory. For Husein, the past is worthless and quite devoid of meaning, but for us, it can be of great consequence to know as much as possible about that futile facet in the ''cosmic pattern", the history of Subud.
Zeist, Holland December 10, 1959.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Caravaggio in the news as we Commemorate 400th a of death

First a stolen Caravaggio is recovered:

The 17th-century painting The Taking of Christ by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo Caravaggio, stolen from a Ukrainian museum in 2008, has been found in Berlin, Die Welt reported on Monday.

The masterpiece, also known as the Kiss of Judas, was stolen from the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art in southern Ukrainian city of Odessa. The thieves intended to sell it to the German art collector.

The German newspaper said police in Germany detained three Ukrainian nationals and a Russian when they attempted to hand over the painting to the buyer.

The painting was brought to Odessa at the beginning of the 20th century. It was long believed to be a copy of a Caravaggio, but the authenticity of the work was established in 2005 while the canvas was on exhibit in Spain.

Experts estimate that the painting is worth as much as several tens of million euros.
BERLIN, June 28 (RIA Novosti)

Also of note: a Caravaggio Ipad app

Now, in a bid to make the old master even more contemporary, Italian multimedia company Scala Group International has launched an iPhone and iPad app to spread his chiaroscuro-abetted fame in the Internet age.

Called "CaravaggioMania,” the program provides video tutorials about the artist's life and key works, pop-up images accompanied by explanatory texts, and a map showing the artist's tortured route through Italy, from the Rome of his birth to the Tuscan shore where he died. Other highlights of the package include an interactive 360-degree video of Caravaggio's paintings in Rome's Galleria Borghese and a walking tour of the artist's landmarks in the city. Also included is a GPS map with Caravaggio-themed travel itineraries.

Featuring approximately 300,000 high-resolution images of artworks sourced from museums around the world, from Italy to New York's Museum of Modern Art, the app is available through Apple's iTunes store for $1.99.

And then a New A new Caravaggio Painting May Have Been Found

A new Caravaggio painting may have been found in Rome, ASNA Italian news agency said citing L'Osservatore Romano, a semi-official newspaper of the Holy See.

The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (Martirio di San Lorenzo) belonging to the Catholic priestly order of the Jesuit has not yet been identified as a work of Caravaggio as further analyses are required before it can be attributed for certain to the Italian master.

The newspaper said, however, the painting has many hallmarks of Caravaggio works including dramatic lighting effects and the unique perspective from which the subject is seen.
It said there were similarities with other artist's paintings, such as a movement of the saint's hand or body but added that no known document mentions St. Lawrence as a subject of Caravaggio's work.

Saint Lawrence of Rome, depicted on the painting, was allegedly burned to death in 258 during a persecution of Christians initiated by the Emperor Valerian
Italy is marking the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio's death so churches and art galleries and museums housing Caravaggio will be open all night this weekend. The country has also held major exhibitions dedicated to the artist.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born in 1571 in Milan. He pioneered Baroque painting technique and was notoriously famous street brawler, who allegedly killed a man in a row and fled Rome, which much of his short and tortured career was tied to. In Rome the artist won fame and the patronage of aristocrats and cardinals.
Caravaggio mysteriously died on July 18, 1610. Last month Italian anthropologists announced they had found his remains after a year of digging up bones in Porto Ercole and conducting carbon dating, DNA testing and other analyses. Some theories into the painter's death suggest that he was killed on a isolated Tuscan beach or collapsed there due to an illness.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Rarely seen Ledger will auctioned at Christies

Estimate cost :£500,000 - £800,000 ($731,000 - $1,169,600)
Sale Information: 7859 Impressionist/Modern Day Sale on 24 June 2010
London, King Street

A rarely seen Ferdanad Ledger painting will auctioned at Christies (Painted in 1938).

Joseph Fernand Henri Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker.

Léger was born in the Argentan, Orne, Basse-Normandie, where his father raised cattle. Fernand Léger initially trained as an architect from 1897-1899 before moving in 1900 to Paris, where he supported himself as an architectural draftsman. After military service in Versailles in 1902-1903, he enrolled at the School of Decorative Arts; he also applied to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts but was rejected. He nevertheless attended the Beaux-Arts as a non-enrolled student, spending what he described as "three empty and useless years" studying with Gérôme and others, while also studying at the Académie Julian.[1] He began to work seriously as a painter only at the age of 25. At this point his work showed the influence of Impressionism, as seen in Le Jardin de ma mère (My Mother's Garden) of 1905, one of the few paintings from this period that he did not later destroy. A new emphasis on drawing and geometry appeared in Léger's work after he saw the Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne in 1907.[2]

Lot Notes
Le vase rouge was painted during a time of great upheaval in Léger's art. His purist, geometric aesthetic had reached its culmination only a short while previously when his work had achieved a sublime balance of form and colour that was based on the integral beauty of an isolated object. Now, however, Léger began to use the forms in his paintings to disrupt and unbalance the harmony that he had strived for so fiercely.

During World War II Léger lived in the United States, where he found inspiration in the novel sight of industrial refuse in the landscape. The shock of juxtaposed natural forms and mechanical elements, the "tons of abandoned machines with flowers cropping up from within, and birds perching on top of them" exemplified what he called the "law of contrast".

Although never affiliated with the Surrealists, Léger had contact and indeed friendships with many of the movement's members and it was through their indirect influence that his art began to show an increasing disregard for 'reality' throughout the 1930s. The Rappel à l'ordre that had followed the chaos of the First World War had characterised his work for a long time, and had brought him to see the machine as the salvation of the modern world, as the ultimate vision of the future. However, by 1938, when Le vase rouge was executed, this call to order had long since ceased to influence his painting.

Turning his back on the geometry and order that represented his visual expression of purism, Léger reacted to this change in different ways. On the one hand, he continued to combine both real objects and images of abstraction together in his pictorial vocabulary, creating a new objective unity that he hoped would enhance the inherent beauty to be found in the everyday modern world. On the other, Léger began to explore with a new sense of freedom ideas of form, colour and, more importantly, dynamism, expressing what Léger called a 'lyricism in which colour, form and object play equal parts'. While the first group of works was meant to be understood by everyone, Le vase rouge belongs to the second and expanding group of works which Léger was executing with the 'educated' viewer in mind. Le vase rouge, with its exuberant explosion of planes, lines and forms, is a work packed with rhythm and energy, whose dynamism displays an ongoing process of experimentation and discovery by an artist who had always been preoccupied with movement.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Every Painting in the MoMA on 10 April 2010

Hard to believe it's true, this is a photo of every painting on display from the painting galleries in the MoMA on April 10, 2010. I noticed, I thought one duplicate pic - do you see it?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Artist recreates a masterpiece using a single pen

Vermeer Masterpiece Drawn With One Bic Pen
In an entertaining new advertisement, Bic challenged artist James Mylne to recreate Johannes Vermeer's The Girl With a Pearl Earring—using a single pen. The ad is part of a series by Bic.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Banksy art painted over in Melbourne

CBC News - Art & Design - Banksy art painted over in Melbourne

Officials in Melbourne, Australia, are red-faced after a city cleanup crew painted over street art by internationally renowned artist Banksy.

Melbourne has a policy of encouraging street art and Banksy had created several murals during a visit to the city in 2003.

But the city also has a problem with gangs tagging walls and public property, and it sent a crew last week to clean up a downtown laneway.

The overzealous workers painted over the tags, but also the Banksy mural.

The work by the elusive British artist, who does not want anyone to know what he looks like, was a stencil of a parachuting rat wearing aviator goggles.

"Apparently what happened was that the residents requested that the laneway be inspected and cleaned because it was in pretty awful condition in terms of tagging, and also a whole lot of other people had dumped rubbish [there]," said city CEO Kathy Alexander.

"Unfortunately the contractors were not made aware by us that that was an important piece and unfortunately that means the piece is gone."

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says it is difficult to protect street art, which is vulnerable to others painting it over. He called the gaffe an "honest mistake."

In Britain, Banksy's work has been defaced by vandals and ordered painted over by some local councils who do not want to encourage graffiti artists. However, his works have sold for more than $1 million at auction.

Read more:

Met to Unveil Picasso Exhibit

***additional note: I was at a booth at Art Chicago last year (I think) and I was taken by an etching, at a distance, and i said, that looks like a Picasso, a Picasso I have never seen. The gallery gentleman came over and we discussed it. I made it quite clear that I could not afford the work, which did not diminish his enthusiasm for an informative discussion. It seems the gallery will not be at Art Chicago which is here this weekend, but you can see many less familiar works on paper by Picasso (and others) at their site

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free art for everyone—if you can find it

Chicago Tribune had this interesting story, about a guy who leaves his art around for people to pick up. It's a simialr concept to

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

(added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

At bookcrossing's web site people post where they leave books. It's really a cool site- check it out:: and see if their are any books in your neighborhood.

The artist in this story post where he is leaving his art via Twitter. (Note he is in Chicago)

Patrick Skoff wanted his paintings to be noticed. So he started dropping them in plain sight, free for all

By Christopher Borrelli, Tribune reporter

February 10, 2010

Patrick Skoff and his friend Samantha Brown climbed from the van with a small painting. They placed it at the base of a statue, took pictures of it with their cell phones, typed in brief messages, then walked away.

A jogger ran past, glanced at the painting and kept going. Another approached, slowed, but continued on.

For a few minutes, the painting sat there, abandoned on a street corner, for anyone to walk off with.

No one did.

A moment later, a car shot to the curb.

A large bearded man leapt from the front seat so quickly his seat belt had no time to snap back into place. The buckle clattered against the pavement and the nylon belt unfurled onto the street. The man left his car door wide open and darted across the road. It was a January Sunday morning in Lincoln Park, drizzling and quiet. He ran straight toward the statue of Greene Vardiman Black, a pioneer of modern dentistry techniques. There, leaning against Black, was Skoff's painting, an acrylic abstract. Thin squiggles of red and blue bounced across the center of the black canvas like sonar pings. A sheet of plastic had been wrapped around its rectangular frame to stave off the rain.

The man said nothing.

He placed the painting under his arm and ran back to his car. He slid the canvas into the back seat, where a woman sat, huddled between two larger paintings, smiling bashfully. She grabbed for the edges of the frame and navigated the artwork through the car door and added it to their small collection.

Skoff watched with bemusement, and anxiety.

Bemusement, because he had painted the work the man grabbed. If he had sold it, he would have asked $70 — which is modest, though it's $70 he could have used. The '88 Chevy van he drove, for starters, could use a passenger door that opens from inside. But leaving the painting for someone to carry off was always the intent. He had no regrets. In fact, he painted the work, and many others, specifically for this purpose: He would abandon each painting in a public place, then walk away. Just as he has done every month for a year.

Skoff ran a landscaping business for a decade but was unhappy and gave it up to paint full time. Now he drives in from his home in Glen Ellyn. He tools around Chicago for a few hours and leaves hundreds of dollars worth of his art in random spots. He drops hints about the locations via Twitter and texts. Then he goes home.

He watched the man carry off his painting with some anxiety, though, because — well, because he worried that the people in that car were onto him. He doesn't want to have too much contact with anyone who has found his paintings, he said. He prefers the mysterious altruism of the idea. So far that morning he had left three paintings around Chicago — one a block from Michigan Avenue, one in the Gold Coast and one in Lincoln Park — and they had found all three. He planned to leave four more that day and was getting antsy. His van, a charcoal behemoth covered in Pollock-esque splatters and graffiti splotches, was tough to miss.

He didn't want them to follow, but they did.

Which is ironic.


A year and a half ago, Skoff, 32, began to leave his artwork around Chicago for others to take home because he realized how easy it was to ignore his artwork. He was not getting noticed. And now he is.

At one location that morning, after he drove off, two cars racing toward the spot where he left a painting got into a fender bender in front of it, Skoff heard from a participant. During previous hunts, participants have had cars ticketed and towed.

"I hate to hear that," he said, sitting in his van. "People come out to find a $100 piece of art and go home with $500 in repairs. Maybe this could get too big." As he spoke, a man appeared in the corner of his eye, running down the street in his direction. Skoff watched with a fascinated smile. The man reached the statue of Black, raced around it, then, never noticing the paint-splattered van nearby, threw up his arms and walked away.

"You can always tell the ones following us," Brown said. "And there are the ones who think we don't see them and wait for us to turn a corner then grab our paintings and walk away fast, like they stole something."

At last count, Skoff figures 700 people — via Twitter, Facebook and texts, where he and Brown call themselves "Skoff and Sam" — were following his exploits, receiving digital hints about where and when he would leave new artwork. The idea began smaller. Skoff would take the Eisenhower, get off in the South Loop, leave a painting, then, because he didn't know the city, go home. At times he would watch for a few minutes after he left a piece. Often people hurried past, without stopping. "The first time, I thought 'So I just leave it?' Would I get into trouble somehow? Was I littering?"

On the back of each work, Skoff left his e-mail address. He got a few replies, informing him that his painting was found. He told them to keep it. (This is how he met Brown, who found two of his works, and now paints with him.) After a few months of this, the number of claimed paintings went from a small fraction of the number left to half. He kept the replies — a few liked the piece they found so much they asked him to paint on commission. He started to sell his art on Craigslist. But more importantly, he had created a market for himself and built a network of followers, many of whom wanted to know when he would leave some new art.

So he made a game of it.

A game that raises questions: Is it about art? Or self-promotion? The thrill of the hunt? Or a sly comment on art appreciation? Is it generous or, considering he's unknown, desperate? Does it prove, as he believes, you don't need "a gallery light shining on a work to show art; the city can be your gallery"? Or the opposite — that context matters, and, considering how many people walk past his art without pausing, real art is gallery art?

"He makes people work to find art," said Tricia Van Eck, associate curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, "which is interesting, but does it mean anything? It would mean more if there was some criticality to it."

"Leaving your paintings on a street corner and expecting someone to walk by and consider it?" asked art dealer William Lieberman, of the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in River North. "I have been doing this 30 years. I have never heard of anything like that. Sounds like the work can't be that difficult to achieve if he's giving it away — yet you say people are buying his art now? They probably don't know what they're buying, I'm sure."

Or, maybe quality isn't the point anyway.

Said Steven Lappe, Skoff's art teacher at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park: "Chicago has a tendency to be a poor art market for its native children, and an artist makes (his) own opportunity."


"Right here," Skoff said, not long after making the stop in Lincoln Park. He pulled alongside a curb on Clark Street, before a row of abandoned storefronts that sat behind rusted gates. "It's an ugly spot, and we can make it pretty — for 15 minutes or so." They climbed out of the van and moved a dirty diaper aside and rested a small yellow abstract against the grating. Brown Tweeted a message hinting at the location, and they moved on, to Wicker Park, where they placed another painting against a crumbling CTA track pillar off Damen Avenue.

Finished, they waited.

Brown, 20, thin and willowy, huddled on the floor of the van, shivering. Skoff, a guileless sort, stared from the windshield. He wore a fleece zip-up. Splattered paint on his pant leg ran in unbroken streaks to his sneakers. He said he doesn't want to "do the traditional Chicago art loop," doesn't want to keep a loft or hang out with other artists. He said he's uneasy in art galleries, and that he's selling three or four pieces a week anyway (at $150 on average), but he doesn't need a lot of money. He also said none of this is meant to provoke — "It's not a socioeconomic statement. I'm saying if you like my art, and do the work, it's yours."

Told of Skoff, and shown examples of his work, Chicago curators, teachers and gallery owners said he had skill, but they were not impressed. They brought up precedents — napkin scribbles Picasso would give away, the Papergirl project in Berlin (art rolled up in cardboard tubes, tossed from bicycles), an Art Institute of Chicago marketing campaign that involves red cubes left throughout the city, an MCA exhibit that asks visitors to find the works.

Maud Lavin, chair of visual and critical studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said Skoff's hunt is a "kissing cousin" of relational art, which deals in human contact and not framed pieces. Donald Young of the Donald Young Gallery in the West Loop said: "An artist can do well being a decorative artist or by copying impressionistic painters or being an original thinker, but that last one is different from others. Though in a way, what he's doing is about the human story and the art is irrelevant."

Skoff, to an extent, might agree.

Beneath the Damen Blue Line, after 10 minutes passed, a car pulled up and a woman leapt from a passenger door and ran to Skoff's piece, giddy. She said she had just come from her lawyer's office and was considering bankruptcy. She said she'd just had property foreclosed on. She said she needed something to brighten her day, and her daughter had told her about Skoff. He smiled and thanked her, then he drove home.

View photos of Patrick Skoff dropping off his art.

On the hunt

Patrick Skoff and Samantha Brown (@SkoffAndSam on Twitter) plan to conduct their next art scavenger hunt Sunday. Here are the locations they chose Jan. 24.

1. Fountain at East Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza, between Tribune Tower and the NBC building

2. Corner of North Ritchie Court and East Banks Street, in the Gold Coast

3. Southeast corner of Lincoln Park: the Greene Vardiman Black statue at Astor Street

4. Totem pole at Recreation Drive and Lake Shore Drive

5. 4400 block of North Clark Street, near Montrose Avenue

6. West Webster Avenue, behind the Green Dolphin Street venue

7. Against a pillar beneath the Damen Blue Line "L" stop at North and Milwaukee avenues

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