The life of Rembrandt could be a portrait of anyone…anywhere. The difference being that he was a genius as a painter. Rembrandt had to go against the political scene with his art. He had to stay true to his own interpretations of how to paint, which made him different from many of the artists of his time. Difficulties forged into his life as a young man, who at one point painted while having to take care of a one year old child. His indiscretions and artistic interpretations of the powerful brought him much controversy. Bankruptcy and financial problems also loomed large. Would he not be astounded at the auction prices for any of his works? As we know, his students also copied his works which eventually ended up on the auction block as Rembrandt originals, selling for millions. Today’s technology has opened up the ability to determine which paintings were truly those of the artist.
Nevertheless, take one look at his portraits and you see a person who understood, sometimes with humor, the inward thinking of a person…their real personalities. At times, he would paint a self portrait practically hidden in a painting. His ability to cast light and shadow made his works spectacular to put it mildly.
One of the best videos that I have found on Rembrandt and his life in Amsterdam along with the critiques of his most noted paintings is by the BBC British Collections. On this day, while keeping your distance and staying put from the Pandemic, perhaps you would enjoy, as did I, this special presentation. N.Boyer
Video: The Power of Art Turn Up Sound
It will be a different Friday before Easter this year. Perhaps we should prepare our hearts for it more than ever! We, as Christians, always have referred to this special day as GOOD FRIDAY. A reason for saying it is “good” is because it is the beginning of the journey of our Savior to the cross, Who gave Himself for the people of the world. The Friday had to come before the glorious Easter Day of RESURRECTION. So, how do we prepare these few days before Friday…especially if there are some who don’t understand this special day of Christian worship?
For my readers throughout the world who may not be Christian, this may help you understand the Power of the Cross in Christianity. Please read with an open mind. Ask God to speak to you and give you His truth of salvation. May you find, through the power of the Holy Spirit, your trust in the Savior Who came to be punishment for all your sins and mine.
THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION was given to the Jews within their own Hebrew scriptures. Not only does the New Testament give this account, but parts of the Old Testament give the crucifixion as a prophecy of the events to happen. One of these is in Psalms 21, “My God, my God why have You forsaken me…O my God, I cry out by day and you answer not. I cry out by night and there is no relief for me. All my bones are racked. My heart has become like wax melting away within my chest. My throat is dried up like baked clay, My tongue cleaves to my jaw. They have pierced my hands and my feet…” Psalm 68 “…in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
THE HISTORY of the STATIONS OF THE CROSS:
In many churches and cathedrals around the world, there are pictures of the Stations of the Cross. Having originated in Jerusalem, the pictures are to duplicate Jesus’ trip on the Via Dolorosa before his crucifixion. Jerusalem fell to the forces of Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1187. Forty years later Saint Francis of Assisi, a Franciscan, came back to Jerusalem and proclaimed certain holy places as places of Christian devotion. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they built outdoor shrines which later were introduced as stations. Faithful Christians read the gospels as they visit these stations to remember the suffering of the Savior…usually on Fridays. There are traditionally 14 pictorial stations mounted on church walls. The resurrection station is sometimes included as the last station because without the resurrection of Christ, there is no gospel.
Pictures of selected Stations of the Cross from around the world:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that Whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
In the past, on Good Friday, concerts are given around the world. Often these are requiems of a somber nature. This year, because of the Coronavirus, the depictions throughout Europe and other part of the world will not be reenacted. The great concert halls will be empty. Yet, we must not allow this to change our focus on the great sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We will turn to our TV’s and recordings and bow our heads as we remember the terrible day on the cross. In just a few days after Friday will come the great morning of RESURRECTION. Prepare your hearts now with the beautiful music I’d like to share with you today…Laudate Dominum by Mozart, sung by Aksel Rykkvin
(After the music…come back to see the pages of the Stations of the Cross.)
- TURN UP SOUND and enlarge picture for best viewing.
- 2nd link showing the description of the Stations of the Cross
Click this link below and follow each station by clicking on “next”:
As we scrambled today to batten-down everything that could fly away or become a missile during the hurricane that is about to hit Florida and the East Coast of the United States, I decided to write something about a place far away with their own problems…and delights…Paris, France.
No, I won’t talk about the terrible tragedies that happened along the Champs Elysées when a crazy mowed down the poor pedestrians just strolling along and enjoying this beautiful city. We have enough crazies right here in the U.S. doing equally insane things.
Instead, I want to write about nostalgia. Paris is a place of history, romance, and the Eiffel Tower. We have places of nostalgia, believe it or not, right here in a not so old country. They are our favorite places to eat, sit and talk with those who also love to go there and talk, eat and sit. I know some ladies in the Blue Ridge Mountains who meet every day for a cup of coffee in our favorite “Mom and Pop” place. How many cups they consume, I’m not certain, but they are always there…relaxing and enjoying life.
Why are we drawn to special eating places? The Cafe, The Bar, The Up-scale Restaurant like Ruth Chris or down-home Mom and Pop places.
What makes a good cafe? It is probably the people in Paris, as an American artist from New York, Rick Tulka, finds fascinating. Let’s let him explain why he goes to the cafes. He’s been going there for years.
Turn up your sound.
As a Christian author, it is my joy to share a book that I have recently written. My latest devotional book is called Around the Corner.
The reason for that title is because throughout my life there have been surprises “around the corner” that have given me inspiration and understanding of people throughout the world. These stories, events and thoughts are what I want to share with my readers.
Divided into 31 days, the daily reading has not only stories of adventures, joys and “Things that I have learned”, but also Scripture readings and prayers. It also includes some of my original art and photography, which also are my creative thoughts.
It is my hope that you will enjoy Around the Corner, in book form or on Kindle, for your inspirational reading. If you like either, please pass this blog post onto your friends and family.
Click here: Around the Corner…paperback edition
It has been some time ago that the world, through their TV channels, watched the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris fall into the blazing fire and smoke below. Yet, a cross that hung in the cathedral survived.
It may be time now to think about the power of the cross as a symbol of hope. The cross is not a symbol of hope fo everyone. Yet it is powerful, whether they think so or not. There may have been some who rejoiced as the cathedral burned because they wished any symbol of Christianity to be destroyed. Just as terrorists wanted the World Trade Towers to no longer be the symbol of economic power, their evil minds set out to destroy them. Symbols, in themselves, do have power to renew our minds and thoughts to something that can become even greater. That is true of the two symbols that are written about in this blog post. The cross being our greatest hope…not wealth, but faith.
In place of those fallen towers, where thousands died…Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and many others with faiths… as well as atheists and agnostics, a great new tower was built. A grand memorial to all who died and suffered that terrible day now stands deep in the belly of the new, grand building.
We remember also over 2,000 First Responders who have died or sick years afterward from illnesses that came upon them trying to reach the victims. This has led President Trump to sign the 9-11 Victims’ Fund to those still suffering.
Tragedies often bring about in the human spirit a desire to rebuild, to remember and to fight against such atrocities and those who propose them.
Instead of shocking, deliberate attacks, such as those on the World Trade Center, Pentagon or the intended attack on the White House, a few are accidental as the burning of the great Cathedral of Notre Dame. The world was dismayed for another reason as we recognized the value of a great work of architecture that had stood for over 850 years, having taken 200 years to build. It was a prize of history, being one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. This church was not only a symbol of Christianity but of the culture and the magnificent antiquities of France.
In the Cathedral of Notre Dame hung a cross, which was only exposed after the fires were put out. Miraculously, it still hung as did some of the magnificent stained glass windows. The French are determined to rebuild this great church and in doing so, we also can believe that it will be a revival of a great symbol of renewal, endurance, and hope. The world needs symbols of hope and none is more powerful than the cross and the great buildings in which a cross is lovingly placed.
Recently, I saw a video of a church standing on an island in Japan. Inside was a great cross, stained glass and though the island is now almost deserted, the church still survives in an unlikely place. Someone build it years ago and it is a symbol of their faith.
For all Christians, the real symbol of hope was never burned in that terrible fire in Paris…the great cross of Christ. That cross, shining bright, amid the ruins of the cathedral, sent the message around the world that the cross of Christ is the true symbol of hope for the world.
Yes, the cathedral will be rebuilt eventually, but the message of Christ in the cross will still shine after the burned rubble is cleared away. The message it brings is forgiveness, a renewed life, and the promise of life eternal through Christ, the Son of God.
The message in the clearing away of the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City is that out of the ashes rises the great Phoenix of hope, freedom, democracy and renewal. Even in that terrible attack, St. Paul’s Chapel next door to the towers was not destroyed even though the debris fell all around it. The 1st President of the United States, George Washington, worshiped in this church.
It was not the first time, however, that this Christian church had escaped being destroyed. In the first days of the American Revolution, the invasion of British troops sparked the Great Fire of 1776, which destroyed 432 structures in New York. The fire spread to St. Paul’s Chapel and very nearly overwhelmed it, but a bucket brigade managed to squelch the fire. It is now named as the oldest surviving church in Manhattan.
Symbols are important in our lives. Some are international, national, or even personal, but they are often a message of joy, inspiration or hope.
(ABC News tour video) Important: In order to hear sound on the video, you will have to unclick sound symbol.
My husband has found a new hobby in the last few years. He never expected to be a woodworker since his calling and profession has been as a minister of the Gospel of Christ…first in the United Methodist Church, also as a Navy Chaplain…and now as an Episcopal priest. He began making trays and surprised me recently with a beautiful wooden tray with inlaid wood shown to the right below.
He continues to experiment and has just finished making a chest of drawers for his closet. I think he is quite good and I’m proud of his efforts.
Bill’s woodworking has led me to do some research on Paul Sellers, who is a master at woodworking. He lived in the USA, but has returned to his roots in Wales. Now he is training and passing on the talent and skills that he knows to younger men and women.
Paul says, “For me, I must realign my way of life as a maker to teach and train. I invest what I’ve learned and built in the safest possible place I can think of. In a sense, it’s more a condition than anything else. When someone wants to become a master of something they prepare a place to receive and store the information. It’s a safe place I’ve found. A protected place I see a man on his knees tightening clamps and it reminds me that skill begins to build with a single chisel cut, a saw stroke and the placing of a plane on a board of wood…So I look at this week’s memories and see different things that I learned and think back to 1989 when I started seriously teaching people how to work with wood. I said to myself back then that something had to change.”
What did Paul mean by change? He knew that we were losing to this generation the skills that were not being taught. Yes, we have machines that can do a cut…and a job, but Paul thinks that these only make every piece made look the same. It is the hands of each man that moves and turns to make each piece different and in many cases a work of art. We have to pass on what we know about how to do things with our hands before those who know how pass away and the talent is no longer with us.
Question: What have other countries done to ensure that the “passing away” of special talents and skills does not happen?
In Germany, for instance, the following is part of the overall educational program. Our son, Steve, who speaks fluent German has spent much time there. He shared this link with me from Wikipedia:
“Germany has high standards in the education of craftspeople. Historically very few people attended college. In the 1950s for example, 80 percent had only Volksschule (“primary school”)-Education of 6 or 7 years. Only 5 percent of youths entered college at this time and still fewer graduated. In the 1960s, 6 percent of youths entered college. In 1961 there were still 8,000 cities in which no children received secondary education. However, this does not mean that Germany was a country of uneducated people. In fact, many of those who did not receive a secondary education were highly skilled craftspeople and members of the upper middle class. Even though more people attend college today, a craftsperson is still highly valued in German society.
The History of a true Craftsman:
Historically (prior to the 20th century) the relationship between a master craftsman and his apprentice was paternalistic. Apprentices were often very young when entrusted to a master craftsman by their parents. It was seen as the master’s responsibility not only to teach the craft, but also to instill the virtues of a good craftsman. He was supposed to teach honor, loyalty, fair-mindedness, courtesy and compassion for the poor. He was also supposed to offer spiritual guidance, to ensure his apprentices fulfilled their religious duties and to teach them to “honor the Lord” (Jesus Christ) with their lives. The master craftsman who failed to do this would lose his reputation and would accordingly be dishonored – a very bad fate in those days. The apprenticeship ended with the so-called Freisprechung (exculpation). The master announced in front of the trade heading that the apprentice had been virtuous and God-loving. The young person now had the right to call himself a “Geselle” (journeyman). He had two options: either to work for a master or to become a master himself. Working for another master had several disadvantages. One was that, in many cases, the journeyman who was not a master was not allowed to marry and found a family. Because the church disapproved of sex outside of marriage, he was obliged to become a master if he did not want to spend his life celibate. Accordingly, many of the so-called “Geselle” decided to go on a journey in order to become a master. This was called “Waltz” or Journeyman years.
In those days, the crafts were called the “virtuous crafts” and the virtuosness of the craftspersons was greatly respected. For example, according to one source, a person should be greeted from “the bricklayer craftspersons in the town, who live in respectability, die in respectability, who strive for respectability and who apply respectability to their actions” In those days, the concept of the “virtuous crafts” stood in contrast to the concept of “academic freedom” as Brüdermann and Jost noticed.
Nowadays, the education of craftspersons has changed – in particular, self-esteem and the concept of respectability. Yet even today, a craftsperson does sometimes refer to the “craftspersons codex of virtues” and the crafts sometimes may be referred to as the “virtuous crafts” and a craftsperson who gives a blessing at a roofing ceremony may, in many cases, remind of the “virtues of the crafts I am part of”. Also certain virtues are ascribed to certain crafts. For example, a person might be called “always on time like a bricklayer” to describe punctuality. On the other hand, “virtue” and “respectability”, which in the past had been the center of the life of any craftsperson became less and less important for such education. Today, a young person who wants to start an apprenticeship must first find an “Ausbilder”: this may be a master craftsperson, a master in the industrial sector (Industriemeister) or someone else with proof of suitable qualifications in the training of apprentices. The “Ausbilder” must also provide proof of no criminal record and proof of respectability. The Ausbilder has to be at least 24 years of age. The Ausbilder has several duties, such as 1) teach the craft, 2) teach the techniques, 3) instill character, 4) instill social skills. In some cases, the Ausbilder must also provide board and lodging. An agreement is reached on these points before the apprenticeship begins. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Pictures below are of the Journeymen (and women) in Bad Kissingen, Germany and two Journeymen of Denmark:
What about the history in the United States to provide for this type of training?
I was impressed with an article written by Rebecca Glazer. Read it and weep for we may be missing the boat here in America when it comes to passing on the skills needed by all of us!
“We all have that friend—the one who speaks four languages but can’t operate a coffee maker to save his life, or ours. Yet to some extent, we’re all that friend; we tap out 20-page papers on comparative literature, we debate the merits and shortcomings of various philosophical worldviews, and we excel in the biochemical laboratory, but if a faucet starts to leak, our only recourse is to call the plumber. We take our cars to the shop, we buy our vegetables at the grocery store, and when we need coffee, we order it from Starbucks. Our generation illustrates the outcome of an educational system that has abandoned technical skills. Not only has this system never taught us better than to undervalue and underpay those who do possess these vital skills, but it has also bred a generation of highly-educated college graduates who lack the basic skills of self-reliance.
Technical schooling in America has traditionally come in two forms. In the first, students studied at specialized institutions known as trade schools or vocational schools, while in the second, they learned technical skills within the setting of their public high school. Vocational schools were particularly popular throughout the Vietnam War, when companies and firms hired directly out of feeder schools, providing competent instructors and up-to-date equipment. After the war, however, many school districts felt that these highly exclusive trade schools were unfair to the majority of students, and so discontinued the partnerships between specialized schools and companies. Instead, they made vocational training available in all public high schools, to any students who desired such an education.
In the 70s it became evident that U.S. students were falling behind the rest of the world academically, and so the country made it a mission to improve the academic programs in secondary schools. In 1984 the Perkins Act was signed into law in order to continue funding vocational education, but at a drastic reduction of its previous scope. This meant less funding and fewer hours for vocational training, which was re-named CTE, or Career and Technical Education, in the 2006 reauthorization of the Perkins Act. Students can still graduate with one or two CTE credits in fields like construction, agriculture, and manufacturing, but educational emphasis has been placed far more heavily on preparation for college. While this shift in educational focus significantly improved college enrollment rates for several decades up to the present, it also left a generation seriously lacking in any of the technical skills practical to life outside a cubicle, and with little regard for those who possess them…
This disparity of income reflects an ideological shift parallel to the growing emphasis on college education: the devaluing of manual and technical skills. In sacrificing vocational training for academic rigor, we as a country expressed our preferred values, the purely mental over the also manual, all the while forgetting how much patience, precision, and intelligence are required to perfect those skills we have come to dismiss.
Since the early 20th century, according to a 2000 report from the BLS, the number of people employed in manual or technical fields has fallen sharply, while the number in fields requiring higher education has risen. Teachers, lawyers, accountants, and computer specialists now dominate the workforce, with 23.3 percent of all employed people working in “professional” fields, and another 19.3 percent serving clerical roles, up from 4.4 percent and 5.2 percent in 1910, respectively. In contrast, craftsmen have fallen from 5.5 percent of the working population to less than 2 percent, and laborers (excluding farm and mine) declined by 64 percent, from 10.4 percent to only 3.7 percent of the population, likely as a result of the outsourcing of manufacturing and production to other countries.
These shifts away from manual and towards mental labor don’t just reveal a trend towards education for its own sake; they reveal a shift in attitude from vocational schooling as a popular and prestigious choice to a “second-rate” education. The choice to pursue a technical field now carries social stigmas that discourage young people from learning how to work with their hands.
It’s hard to know whether working wages fell because manual work was no longer considered valuable, or whether the work was undervalued and passed over because it was already underpaid. Either way, the choice to emphasize knowledge over skills has created a society in which a life of manual labor is a path to be escaped rather than pursued. Yet as we flee from the necessity of working with our hands, we lose valuable skills which were once commonplace…
When we don’t have skills and don’t live with the people who do, we forget their value. When your handyman lives next door, he forces you by proximity to respect him and his career, but when he drives to your home from a very different part of the city, you forget how much you share in common. You pity him for his life of labor, and hope his children will have the opportunities he didn’t. Then you wonder, “If everyone is able to get a good education, who will come to fix my sink?”
The choices are three: either you condemn a certain percentage of the population to a low-wage, undervalued existence; you learn to value, respect, and pay well for the vital technical skills you lack; or you figure out how to fix your own sink.
No matter what we choose, our society is at a crossroads…Our generation needs an alternative. We need vocational training, not only to provide the general population with the most basic of technical skills, but also to train a manual workforce that is both skilled and respected. We need to value both mental and manual labor, to admire those who possess the skills and knowledge we lack…”
If you know a person with a skill, encourage him or her to work with an apprentice. Pass on what you know! Teach…teach…and teach some more for the world will be a better place when we have the young people of today with a chisel, hammer, saw or other tools in their hands rather than a phone.
VIDEO: Paul Sellers passes on his skill as a woodworker to others.
Today I want to introduce my readers to a man who has found his direction in a most unusual way. I write about him because in my previous blog, I talked about “New Directions.” This man has followed his passion after leaving a profession as a sailor and it has led him to more than he could have ever imagined. His name is Caras Ionut (or Ionuţ Caraş in the Romanian language ) His specialty is manipulating photography in a surreal style.
“In his work, he uses his own photographs, which he inserts, composes and colorfully adjusts in a suitable way. In his dream works, physically impossible scenes arise, such as a little girl hanging on a swing hundreds of feet above the ground, an elephant riding a bicycle, a little girl riding on the back of a huge fish, and the like. Ionut often puts man in his paintings. Often they are small children, but also special people not fit into the standard society. Roamers, beggars, comedians, and so on. Their image is enhanced by a dark landscape with old trees, dark sky, mist, mountain scenery or rainy weather. Often, the element of umbrella, ships, water, rocks or birds (such as ravens) is repeated in his work. Ionut’s inspiration for his works draws from his dreams in the night, from the colors of autumn and winter. He works as a professional photographer and a retoucher, offers courses and tutorials for those who want to learn how to digitally manipulate photos… Many of his images have been used for book covers, audio cd, bank advertisements, website materials, local publications, prints, and many other uses. He now has many clients…such as Stephen King and others…” (Wikipedia)
Below are three sets of slides for you to enjoy. Take your time and study them for the creative side is excellent. I’m not certain if the child he often incorporates in his photography is his own, but the combination of the “impossible” with the real is somewhat chilling, but very interesting.
- THE IMPOSSIBLE
- DRAMATIC NATURE
- THE WARMTH OF ORDINARY PEOPLE
Look around you for the beauty that is in YOUR path…
Credit: All photography by Caras Ionut
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. (Michaelangelo)
We as parents often think we know what is best for our children. In one case in history, the parent had it all wrong. Michelangelo’s father did not want him to become an artist. To be an artist was considered below his social class. ( Born March 6, 1475 in Caprese, Republic of Florence, Italy and died February 18, 1564 in Rome.)
“Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then, he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture and architecture rank among the most famous in existence.
The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican are probably the best known. Michelangelo became an art apprentice relatively late, at 13, perhaps after overcoming his father’s objections. He was apprenticed to the city’s most prominent painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio, for a three-year term, but he left after one year, having nothing more to learn…In 1504 he agreed to paint a huge fresco for the Sala del Gran Consiglio of the Florence city hall to form a pair with another just begun by Leonardo da Vinci. Both murals recorded military victories by the city (Michelangelo’s was the Battle of Cascina), but each also gave testimony to the special skills of the city’s much-vaunted artists…Pope Julius II call to Michelangelo to come to Rome spelled an end to both of these Florentine projects. The pope sought a tomb for which Michelangelo was to carve 40 large statues… Pope Julius had an ambitious imagination, parallel to Michelangelo’s, but because of other projects, such as the new building of St. Peter’s and his military campaigns, he evidently became disturbed soon by the cost. Michelangelo believed that Bramanti, the equally prestigious architect at St. Peter’s, had influenced the pope to cut off his funds. He left Rome, but the pope brought pressure on the city authorities of Florence to send him back. He was put to work on a colossal bronze statue of the pope in his newly conquered city of Bologna (which the citizens pulled down soon after when they drove the papal army out) and then on the less expensive project of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508–12).” (Credit Encyclopedia Brittanica by Creighton Gilbert)
The Sistine Chapel: From 1508-1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a series of frescoes that portrayed several biblical stories. Perhaps the most famous image from the ceiling is The Creation of Adam, which depicts God giving life to the first human, Adam. (Wikipedia)
After viewing the chapel, click your back arrow to see the VIDEO below. (turn up sound)
Recently a friend of mine lost her Mother and I remember when my own Mother died. There have been other parts of my life that have held pain…as with most people. All sadness in this life moves along with us, but I believe there are things that help us “live through” those times.
As an author, artist and photographer, I decided to set up my own art room where I could lose myself in a world of quiet and creativity. I also saw a person who visited Japan and experienced the Asian way of “Nature therapy”. The person was encouraged to actually reach down to a bed of moss…touch it and sniff the smell of it. They continued a walk through the woods, noticing all the different plants, leaves and trees. I live in Florida and we have amazing skies here. The sun rises over the lakes; clouds gather in the deep blue summer afternoon bringing the streaks of lightning and in the evening the setting sun streams through the hanging moss. Nature is truly beautiful here.
Wherever we live, we see life around us…but do we see it…really? I think our souls need that interaction with God’s world if we are truly to have peace and joy with what is around us. It takes only the time we are willing to give to it.
Below is a picture of my art and writing room. I’m fortunate to have a space dedicated to these activities.
My husband has turned the garage into his wood-working space. Often he will call me out there to see the beautiful grain on a piece of wood that he is making. Nature…even after the tree is long gone…lives on in his beautiful wooden trays.
My Uncle Archie loved nature and carved the beautiful bird that you see below. Our dear friend, Tom, passed away recently, but he was gifted beyond measure in the turning of bowls shown below on my husband’s tray. These are treasures to be kept always and reminders of those who have gone through hard times, but through their faith in Jesus Christ have “passed through” with great courage and honor.
The young woman featured below is Zaria Forman. She is a true artist and shares her feelings about nature and loss. It is worth listening to and a reminder that there is much beauty in the world. We must seize the day that has been given to us.
VIDEO Turn up sound and click link given (credit National Geographic)
Crucifixion was one of the most gruesome deaths that a person could endure. Because of this, it is difficult to understand why the Christians remember that day as “GOOD Friday.” Let me explain. It is not the torture of the crucifixion that is considered good…but the message of what this death meant to the people of the world.
1Peter 2:24 tells us, “He Himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds, you have been healed.”
What exactly is crucifixion? Have we ever really given it sufficient thought? Perhaps this description taken from Wikipedia will help:
Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation… Crucifixion was most often performed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar (usually particularly heinous) crimes. Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals. Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful, gruesome, humiliating, and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period. The Greek and Latin words corresponding to “crucifixion” applied to many different forms of painful execution, from impaling on a stake to affixing to a tree… Seneca the Younger, a Roman philosopher, wrote: “I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some impale their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet”…In some cases, the condemned was forced to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A whole cross would weigh well over 300 lb…Upright posts would presumably be fixed permanently in that place, and the crossbeam, with the condemned person perhaps already nailed to it, would then be attached to the post. The person executed may have been attached to the cross by rope, though nails and other sharp materials are mentioned in a passage by the Judean historian, Josephus, where he states that at the Siege of Jerusalem, “the soldiers out of rage and hatred, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest”…While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have traditionally depicted the figure on a cross with a loin cloth or a covering of the genitals, the person being crucified was usually stripped naked. Writings by Seneca the Younger state some victims suffered a stick forced upwards through their groin. Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape criticism by some eminent Roman orators. Cicero, for example, described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment”, and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears”…Frequently, the legs of the person executed were broken or shattered with an iron club, an act called crurifragium, which was also frequently applied without crucifixion to slaves. This act hastened the death of the person.
From the writings of those who heard the last words of Jesus, He said these sentences as the hours past and He eventually died on the cross:
- “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
- “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 This was said to the thief dying on the cross next to Him.
- “Woman, this is your son.” (Said to his Mother, Mary, who had given Him birth)
- “This is your Mother.” (Said to His disciple John to take care of His mother Mary) John 19:26-27
- “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 (This was after 3 hours of darkness, which was only 3:00 o’clock Judea time in the day.)
- “I thirst.” (This was the expression of his human suffering. He had been scourged, crowned with thorns and was losing blood.)
- “It is finished.” John 19:30
- “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46
It was by His death that we are redeemed. “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave Himself as ransom for all.” 1Timothy 2:5-6
The Biblical Text of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ taken from Matthew 27:33-56 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull),
they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head, they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. Now from the sixth hour, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
(Turn up sound)
Take your walking shoes…for it is a long….long way around the Louvre. Just as Rome was not built in a day…neither was the amazing Louvre in Paris, France. Below is a short history and a video that explains the building of the Louvre under the many kings of France. It is worth your time, especially if you may not be able to get to France in the near future. The miles of walking will be saved and you will be richer by knowing the artists and paintings that grace the Louvre’s walls. The building itself is a work of art as well as the many sculptures from around the world.
When my husband and I were fortunate to visit the Louvre, my favorite paintings were by Rubin. This may have been because I worked my way through college at another fine art museum in South Carolina that has some Rubins as part of their fantastic collection. Perhaps a visit to this museum will be closer to your home if you live in the United States. This museum’s collection is also worth your visit.
From Boyer Writes, enjoy the following!
SHORT HISTORY: “The Louvre or the Louvre Museum (French: Musée du Louvre,) is the world’s largest art museum and monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine… Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 782,910 sq.ft. The Louvre in 2016 was the world’s most visited art museum with 7.2 million visitors. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, LouisXIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years.
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces. The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon’s abdication, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X. During the Second French Empire, the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.”
( taken from Wikipedia)
VIDEO on the Louvre (Turn up sound)
To chisel in stone a creation takes more than the idea…but also the sweat and toil that goes with it. To carve any statue or a part of a building took hands and a hammer…with usually a price to pay. Recently I watched where statues that were carefully created are being removed and stored in some place to possibly be forgotten. Our children will not be able to see the beauty of a carved work of art, regardless of who may be represented in the statue.
In the Middle East, ISIS destroyed works of art carved into hillsides and in temples and museums. Gone from the earth because of dissent, mistrust, and complete disrespect for beauty or labor in stone…never to be seen again.
If ISIS could take over cities in Europe or the Vatican, would they also destroy the priceless statues and antiquities that were made in the name of the Christian faith, as they have done in the Middle East to museum works of art that are thousands of years old? See video link of destruction
The amazing works of art and marble statues could have been lost forever during World War II if it had not been for those who hid them or those who discovered them when it was ordered that they should be destroyed if Hitler should lose the war. The most famous true story of this is when the American army sent art experts to find where the Nazi regime had hidden them. This is better known by the film called Monuments Men.
Perhaps the greatest sculptor in stonework in history was Michaelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, 1475-1564. He aimed high for perfection in all that he made out of stone and in the paintings that he painted. He had the greatest influence on art in the Renaissance period and beyond. Not only did he produce some of the greatest stone works of art, but his masterpieces upon the walls of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican are beyond beautiful and inspiring.
The word Renaissance means “Rebirth”. His story in the video below is not only his search for meaning in life, but about his ability as a sculptor to make stone into an almost breathing piece of life. His life as a sculptor and artist, after hundreds of years, should be an inspiration to all of us to protect the monuments in stone that speak of history, faith, and of artistic beauty… that if lost…can not be replaced. Consider…if for no other reason, the hands that chiseled and the sweat that poured to make something wonderful for the world to enjoy is worth protecting and preserving. Perhaps we need a new “rebirth” period in our modern age.
AMEN and AMEN
We often hear that a person who is creative is highly developed on the right side of the brain. An analytical person uses the left side most frequently, so science tells us. Hopefully, there are some of us who use both sides of the our brains. We are told that we use a small percentage of what the brain is capable. It would be fascinating to know what we really could accomplish…should we put our mind to it!
My talents, or lack of, are definitely in the organizational arena, but I know that I am the happiest when I am creating something special. This could be in the realm of art, design or simply setting a table for dinner. Food preparation is also a creative skill that many have developed to our culinary delights. Some of us dabble in many of these areas, but find that there are a few that give the most pleasure.
What are your skills and talents? Perhaps you should think seriously about what areas God has given especially to you , that others say they cannot attain. It would be a shame to waste these or not use them in the way our God, the Creator, wanted for you. You are a unique individual and in that way, you are quit special with many gifts and talents.
When we think of creativity, we also think of the word “creation” for the word actually means: “the action or process of bringing something into existence.” For God Created the World would be one example.
Recently I wrote a blog about a young artist in England who said that his biggest thrill was to actually put something on canvas and know that it is the only one in existence…for only he made it.
Recently, I set aside some of my writing and dived into learning more about video creation. I know that it is easy these days to whip out a camera and push the record button. Actually producing a video with special effects and creative skills is a challenge. Understand me, the video below that I’m sharing, is simply a use of a video producing program that I have been trying to understand. Hopefully, as time goes on, I will accomplish something more profound. I would love to learn animation, so I’m open to any suggested programs that some of you think are great for a novice.
In this video, I am showing some of my abstract art work, and also promoting the books that I have written over the last few years.
Thank you for sharing in this beginner’s efforts at video production:
Turn up sound.
To be really…..really good at something, it takes efforts that no one ever sees. I follow a blogger whose name is Iain Crockart. He recently shared a film that he directed about the artist Vincent Kamp. Kamp lives in England and his efforts to paint the ordinary people that he finds in barber shops or in a more seedy side of London are quite amazing.
It is not the subject matter that makes me want to write about Vincent Kamp. It is his passion at what he does and the great wealth of study that he has put into his artistic efforts that no one will ever truly understand, but the artist himself.
I am a writer, photographer…and sometimes artist. I know that I shy away from anything that is realistic basically because I don’t have the skills to produce such works. The closest to realism that I come is when I photograph something special and then use my paints to paint and enhance certain sections of the photograph. Some have turned out to be quite interesting, but if it becomes too much of an effort, the whole thing may turn into an abstract. It is the colors in abstracts that often fascinates me. Painting artistic realism is as much of a dream as I have at becoming a great pianist.
Vincent Kamp worked on his talent. Never having a degree in art, he became self-taught by looking at books and pictures painted by the great art Masters or sitting in on living artists’ demonstrations that he admires. His depth of study when painting a portrait takes more effort than most would ever attempt…bone structure and anatomy being some of his research.
This is what is written on Vincent’s website.: “Vincent’s arresting portraits are built on the assumption that society will always identify with rebels and the gritty underground world of urban subculture. For his latest work he has traveled around the UK visiting barber shops and events to gather material in a setting which transcends social class and makes everyone feel like ‘one of the boys’. These mesmerizing oil paintings evoke emotion, fascination and intrigue about both the backstory and the future of a character. He seeks out moments of tension, and explains: “My paintings are all quite dark, subtle and intense. I’m always imagining there’s something surreptitious going on in a potentially innocent situation.” He is heavily influenced by cinematography and its impact on storytelling, believing that by manipulating the composition, light and color you can completely change the feel of scene.”
Below is a film that I am sharing from the blog by Iain Crockart mentioned above and shown on Vincent’s website. Whatever your passion may be, decide that you will put the effort into learning and improving your skill, as Vincent Kamp has done. Hopefully, his words on the video below will be your inspiration.
Click and give video a moment to start: See video on Vincent Kamp’s website
I have a blogging friend in the UK. We enjoy reading each other’s blogs and find friendly ways to agree and disagree. Stephen has nominated me as for a quotation challenge and I, in turn, have nominated bloggers who are worthy of note. (Thanks, Stephen)
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
- What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God. Hans Urs Balthasar (Priest from Switzerland 1905-1988)
- Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Sir Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the UK. born 1874- died 1965)
- As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963 35th President of the United States who was assassinated at the age of 46.)
I always like quotations that are uplifting, challenging and inspirational. If they are politicians, I may not be on the same thought wave…but appreciate any words that have meaning to me personally or to this troubled world in general.
Here are the rules for the Quotation Challenge and my nominees, who have blog sites worth notation. If you have not seen these sites, please take a look. You’ll be glad you did.
1.) Either once a day for three days, post a quotation, or post all three quotations at one time. It is your choice.
2.) Nominate and notify three other bloggers of the challenge.
3.) Thank the blogger who nominated you.
The nominees are under no obligation to complete this challenge, but it would be fun if they do. Plus, this will introduce them to a whole list of new readers.
My NOMINEES for the Quotation Challenge are:
The largest church in the United States and the longest church in the world may have a message in plain view to the thousands who walk by her door daily and to the visitors from all over the world who enter by her massive arches.
First, we will look at the third phase of the cathedral’s restoration: The Portal of Paradise, as the Cathedral’s central portal is called, was completed by master stone-carver Simon Verity between 1988 and 1997. The figures of the Portal reflect a modernism in their portions and features. … The frieze over the portal doors shows Jesus and below him is John the Divine with paper and quill. Flanking the doors are biblical figures. The most chilling of the Cathedrals’ modern stonework is the theme of John’s Revelation with sections showing the apocalypse including NYC engulfed by tidal waves and the Brooklyn Bridge cracked in half. The Twin Towers are also clearly shown.
What was St. John’s Revelation? St. John was the author of the biblical Book of the Revelation. To those who read this book, there is a promised blessing. What exactly is the blessing? One does not know except to perhaps make one wiser about reading the daily newspaper or remembering history.
St. John has a vision of things to come. When will these things come? No one knows. However, it may surprise some to know that The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine had stone carvers who knew this book and used their chisels to depict the accounts told by St. John as he was given his visions. One sculptured piece is surprising and chilling. ( See picture below)
It appears that the carvers also saw N.Y as being “Babylon the Great” spoken of in Revelation. This scene, carved on the west entrance of the cathedral, depicts New York as this city who gets completely destroyed by the wrath of God. The Book of Revelation mentions:
“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons
and a haunt for every evil spirit,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
Book of Revelation 18
Was it a warning? Do we write this because we believe that this is a real interpretation concerning New York’s future? No, but we do believe in the truth and authority in the holy scriptures. It could, however, be a warning of what could happen? We do not know. Biblical scholars for generations have tried to interpret the book of Revelation. If it is indeed a warning to the present and future generations, perhaps this is the blessing promised…that we be warned and should do as the scripture below tells us in order to spare us.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
In being healed as a nation, God has promised His divine healing to all believers.
VIDEO: click here THE STORY BEHIND ST. JOHN CATHEDRAL IN NEW YORK CITY
It is not usual to hear of a young couple today who decided to find life their way. Such is the story of Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz who look for little things…old windows…hinges….used wood…and have built themselves a house in the beautiful countryside of West Virginia. It isn’t a big house…or a fancy house…but a house with natural light. Even their heritage plays a part in their decision as Lilah learned how to make her own clothes from her mother….and finds enjoyment in continuing this tradition.
Life for this couple, with a vision, is a great contrast to the hurried world of the young city dweller. They have decided to look through many windows to let the sunlight and moonlight into their lives. A stroll in the woods; setting up a camera and developing the film…making life as they want it…at a much slower pace. The view across the lake brings nature into their home; dogs run freely and life is less stressful. Maybe it is time for all of us to think of making life a little more simple.
Llya Repin painted all aspects of Russian life….even when it was dangerous to do so.
He lived during the time of Russian revolutions. “In 1917, two revolutions completely changed the fabric of Russia. First, the February Russian Revolution toppled the Russian monarchy and established a Provisional Government. Then in October, a second Russian Revolution placed the Bolsheviks as the leaders of Russia, resulting in the creation of the world’s first communist country”.
Llya Repin’s empathy for the common man is shown in his famous painting “Barge Haulers on the Volga”. The Volga Boatmen, who worked as human beasts of burden hauling barges along Russia’s rivers, eventually became folk icons, portrayed in literature, music and painting as heroic symbols of the Russian soul.
Historical facts about Repin:
- Beginning shortly before the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, Repin painted a series of pictures dealing with the theme of the Russian revolutionary movement: Refusal to Confess, Arrest of a Propagandist, The Meeting, and They Did Not Expect Him.
- In 1885, Repin completed one of his most psychologically intense paintings,Ivan the Terrible and his Son. This canvas displayed a horrified Ivan embracing his dying son, whom he had just struck and mortally wounded in an uncontrolled fit of rage. The terrified face of Ivan is in marked contrast with that of his calm, almost Christlike son.
- One of Repin’s most complex paintings, Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan of Ottoman Empire occupied him for more than a decade. He conceived this painting as a study in laughter, but also believed that it involved the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.He wanted to portray Cossack republicanism, in this particular case, Ukrainian Cossack republicanism. Begun in the late 1870s, it was completed in 1891 and was immediately purchased by the Tsar for 35,000 roubles, an enormous amount of money at the time.
- During his older years, Repin painted many of his most celebrated compatriots, including the novelist Leo Tolstoy, the composer Modest Mussorgsky, the cellist Aleksandr Verzhbilovich, the philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov,, and the Ukranian poet and painter, Taras Shevchenko…among others.
- In 1903, he was commissioned by the Russian government to paint a 400×877 cm canvas, representing a ceremonial session of the State Council of Imperial Russia.
- Repin designed his home Penaty located just to the north of Saint Petersburg in Kuokkala in Finland. After the 1917 October Revolution, Finland declared independence. He was invited by various Soviet institutions to return to Russia but refused, saying that he was too old to make the journey.
- In 1930, he died in Finland. After the Continuation War, Finland ceded Kuokkala to the Soviet Union, which renamed it Repino, which is a municpal settlement near St. Petersburg. Penaty is part of the World Heritage Site and is open to the public as a house museum.
Videos below: Song of the Volga sung by the Red Army Chorus and Paintings by Llya Repin with Russian heart-pounding music for your weekend pleasure.
Why the cakes at the top of this page? Boyer Writes is celebrating over 4,000 visitors to this blog site during 2013 and thought we would like to give you a visual taste of goodies…. if not the real thing. Thank you, Readers! Of course, we are not the only ones celebrating this week…so have a cup of tea with your cake to celebrate the birth of the new future king of England.
My last writing was about brain drain and I suggested some ways to relief this malady including creativity. A reader sent me an amazing video about David Roentgen’s creations. (thanks Kelly). Just who was David Roentgen, this creative genius and cabinet-maker?
An article from the Metropolitan Museum of Art tells us that “David Roentgen (1743–1807) was known throughout Europe for his inventive and ingenious mechanical furniture, which found favor in the courts of France and Russia through the patronage of Marie Antoinette and Catherine the Great respectively…
The meteoric rise of the workshop of Abraham Roentgen (1711–1793) and his son David (1743–1807) blazed across eighteenth-century continental Europe…. The cabinet making firm existed from around 1742 to its closing in the early 1800″s. Its innovative designs were combined with intriguing mechanical devices to revolutionize traditional French and English furniture types.
From its base in Germany the workshop employed novel marketing and production techniques to serve an international clientage. Some sixty to sixty-five pieces of furniture and clocks… The most complicated mechanical devices are illustrated through virtual animations. Working drawings, portraits of the cabinet makers, their family, and important patrons, as well as a series of documents owned by the Metropolitan Museum and originating from the Roentgen estate, underline the long-overlooked significance and legacy of the Roentgens as Europe’s principal cabinet-maker of the ancien régime.”
David Roentgen had workshops in Paris, but unfortunately the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars brought it all to an end. “ In 1793 the Revolutionary government, regarding him as an émigré seized the contents of his showrooms and his personal belongings, and after that date he appears neither to have done business in Paris nor to have visited it. Five years later the invasion of Neuwied led to the closing of his workshops; prosperity never returned, and he died half-ruined at Wiesbaden on 12 February 1807.”
Below are two videos of the genius of David Roentgen. Send this on to all your friends who are cabinet makers or love wood working. It is hard to believe such creativity has ever existed.
For all Wood Workers and Inventors
For doll lovers…a music box of Marie Antoinette.
For this Sunday, Boyer Writes thought you may need a little break from “heavy” reading to just simply enjoying a little jazz and the beauty of SUMMER! ENJOY and HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
Creativity is an amazing thing! I have little patience with those who sit around whining that they have no way to support themselves …when we have a brain and in many cases good, strong backs.
Take for instance these pictures by Ben Curtis and the story about the people in Nairobi, Kenya who have collected flip-flops that have washed up on the beach and made beautiful toys out of them.
Julie Church started a company that recycles and cleans the beaches where the Indian Ocean’s currents have moved these dirty pieces of rubber. People now have jobs and are using their creative talents.
No need to paint these toys for the colors are built into the rubber. Just use a keen eye to construct them in the right way and then cut or sculpt the toy. Imagination is the key!
Jackson Mbatha uses a knife to carve part of the neck of a large giraffe. His creations would be award-winning in any art show.
Hats off to the people of Kenya who find that ingenuity, personal pride and creativity are gifts…that they are using wisely.
To be able to make something out of almost nothing.…especially something quite beautiful, reminds me that this is exactly what God, our Heavenly Father, did when He created the universe.
Keep up the good work, people of Kenya…our planet will thank you!
More ingenuity….by men of Kenya. If you don’t have a musical instrument…just make one! (See video)