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
Today we are going to talk about miracles. We all pray for miracles to provide a cure for the coronavirus. There are some who have been in the army for relief and help to provide the miracles of healing and the immediate needs for the people of our country. We all know of the great pressure upon our medical personnel around the country.
Today, we salute our U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for their amazing quick response to provide thousands of hospital beds to relieve hospitals.
“Since its founding in 1802, the USACE has often played a central role in times of crisis; its mission is to provide engineering services that strengthen national security and reduce risks from disasters. Recently, that has meant stepping in to speed recovery after the attacks of 9/11 and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The novel coronavirus presents a different kind of challenge. It requires national mobilization, not the localized efforts that those specific traumas demanded. Rather than responding to a disaster, the USACE is racing to help avert one by providing enough hospital beds to keep the health care system afloat.”
For each time, I write a blog, I’d like to share with you stories of courage and encouragement as well as some exerts from my book, Rain on the Roof. We start today with a story that is meant to help us understand that God does do things that we do not understand…but brings us hope that miracles still do occur.
There are some people in this world who will experience something they do not understand….something miraculous. This is the story of a young girl, Akiane Kramarik, now a mature young adult, who experienced something that she knows God gave to her. It was a special gift and talent. Her mother was an atheist, but became a believer in Christ as she saw God’s working in her daughter’s life. For Akiane, it was not without a struggle to understand what God was doing in her life.
May you be blessed this day with her story. May your life be filled with hope, faith and belief that God knows us each one…our talents, our failures, our fears and He is always with us through the good and the hard times. In this difficult time of the coronavirus, let’s believe that there are miracles that we do not know of…some things that only God knows about.
The Holy Scriptures have given us this promise:
” Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid: for the LORD thy God, He goes with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:6
I present to you the story, in her own words, by the artist, Akiane Kramarik
Turn up your sound.
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
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)
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
It takes effort and work to fine-tune talents that we may have. Some seem more pronounced than others, but all in all…our talents great or small are God given. Consider the brain that tells the body what to do. Consider the fingers that play the piano that the brain tells the muscles to move as one reads the notes. All of this is miraculous.
When I was very young, I went to to boarding school. My love there was playing the piano with Mrs. Tolison as my teacher. I have mentioned this in a blog before, but looking back on the event I believe that there was talent there. Nevertheless that talent was placed on hold because of a move to an apartment with many steps that prevented a large piano from being moved there. It also had something to do with the fact that my dear mother was a single parent and could not afford anything else at the time. Circumstances change things in our lives. The talents we have may lay dormant for years…and then be renewed if we are willing to put the effort into its renewal.
Sir Winston Churchill had a talent in painting. Being that he was busy being the Prime Minister of Great Britain may have had something to do with his delayed use of his artistic talents. He had the responsibility to plot the future course of the military campaign to defeat Nazi Germany. But Winston Churchill could not resist the allure of the magical medieval city of Marrakesh, which was a five-hour drive to the south.
We are never too old or too young to develop the talent God has given to us. What is your talent? Use it…for it would be a crime to waste it. Yes, it takes work and perseverance.
Video of a 4 year old developing her amazing God-given talents.
(Notice that she is reading the music as she turns the pages. Unfortunately we don’t see her dear face because of advertisements at the end…oh well, the rest is great and beyond belief!)
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:
If you have never seen the marvelous art and architecture of the Sistine Chapel or St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, this is your opportunity along with beautiful music for this Sunday morning. May you blessed by Michelangelo’s beautiful paintings and the sculpture of Masters.
Art and music for your Sunday listening.
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.
History of the Chapel:
“In the year 1506, the famous Italian Renaissance Michelangelo Buonarroti was approached by Pope Julius the Second and offered the commission to the paint the Pope’s private chapel, the Sistine Chapel. For four years, 1508 through 1512, Michelangelo worked on 65 foot scaffolding, painting what would eventually become the greatest work of art in the Western world. When it was revealed, the world was inspired and shocked. Nearly five hundred years after it’s completion, the ceiling was once again forced into the spotlight.
In 1980, the Vatican announced it’s plans to launch a massive cleaning and restoration project on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling frescoes. This intensive civic project cost the Vatican millions of dollars and twelve years. The results were phenomenal. The ceiling was revealed as a vibrantly vivid and passionate work of art. ”
At Boyer Writes, we have looked at the Pieta and learned something of the life of Michelangelo in previous blogs, but today I would like to share with you an inter-active view of the Sistine Chapel.
You will be able to see the tiniest details that even the tourists that visit by the thousands each year do not see. This is how you view through an inter-active method. A pointer or arrow will be on your screen. Use your mouse to click…hold and pull this arrow around. On the lower left of the screen is a “zoom out or in” button. Use this to zoom toward any part of the chapel. You will soon see how it works. Turn on your sound for music. See all the paintings in their full, up-close glory!
May you be blessed this Sunday morning.
Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni (known as Michelangelo) was born on March 6, 1475 in the Tuscan town of Caprese and died on 18 February 1564 . He persuaded his father to allow him to leave his grammar school and become an apprentice to the artist Domenico. It was during this time that a bully punched him in the nose, causing some deformity that always made him ashamed of his appearance.
However, Lorenzo de’ Medici (called the Magnificent), who was ruler of Florence at the time was so impressed by a statue Michelangelo was carving that he invited him to live in the Medici household. Lorenzo de Medici died and this forced Michelangelo to return home to his father, who had no interest in art.
It may have been his desire to learn about the anatomy of the human body that led him to work at dissecting corpses in the church of Santo Spirito. Florence, at this time, was filled with corruption and disturbing influences. Many felt that Florence would fall because of its sinful practices. This was preached about by many, even in the streets. Charles VIII of France invaded the city which only added to the unrest. Michelangelo decided to leave in 1494. This would not be his only flight.
Arriving in Rome, he began his work in marble by carving several works. The greatest of these and the most famous now stands in the Vatican. It is the famous Pieta shown below. The French Cardinal Jean Bilheres de Lagraulas commissioned the work.
A modern footnote about this statue: “LASZLO TOTH, who damaged the Pieta with a hammer on 21 May 1972, was never charged with a criminal offence. On 29 January of the following year he was declared by a court to be a socially dangerous person and was ordered confined to a mental hospital for at least two years. On 9 February 1975, the Hungarian-born, Australian geologist was released from the hospital and deported from Italy as an undesirable alien. He was sent back to Australia, where he was not detained by the authorities; Despite his recent absence from the public eye, he has managed to achieve some level of immortality, even aside from the perpetual linking of his name with the attack on the Pieta, in which he wielded a hammer and cried, “I am Jesus Christ – risen from the dead.”
A very interesting thing was discovered while trying to repair the damage inflicted on the Pieta. About six months after the attack, the Vatican announced that the team of restorers had discovered a previously unknown monogram or secret signature of Michelangelo on the palm of the Madonna’s left hand – an “M” fashioned from the skin lines reproduced in marble.
A detail of the Pieta shows the face of Christ below.
This is probably the world’s most famous sculpture of a religious subject. Michelangelo carved it when he was 24 years old, and it is the only one he ever signed.
This marble creation is truly amazing. The next blog will be on his work on the Sistine Chapel.
Video of the Pieta below with music by Yo Yo Ma
Akiane Kramarik is referred to as a prodigy or artistic genius, just as my story about Ariel Lanyi, a gifted pianist. Both of these children are now in their teens. Ariel lives in Israel. . (See his story in a previous blog.) Akiane lives in Illinois, USA The writers of their stories rarely say their talents are God-given. I believe Ariel’s talents are from God, but we know he also had parents who nurtured the gift.
Akiane began her paintings at the age of four and told her parents that she had seen heaven and God in the visions that God gave her. These visions inspired her, keeping close connections with God through prayer. She says that she is constantly praying…even in interviews. She asks God to “Give me the words…” How did she know about God? She has grown up in a family that said they were atheists, at the time. Her father is American and her mother is from Lithuania.
Another thing that has impressed me about these children is the maturity in which they speak. We saw that in Ariel Lanyi, Jackie Evancho and now, Akiane Kramarik
VIDEO of Akiane by Fox News.
Color and the desire to create has always been my interest. When traveling the world, I kept my camera close at hand because I knew I would be enjoying what I was seeing over and over. Sometimes I took those pictures and began to design. A flower turned into an abstract. A mountain became a black and white. Architecture took on a new meaning. The middle of a flower may be too small for the naked eye, but the camera captures what we do not see. My eyes had a way of seeing what something could be or maybe what something used to be.
Most recently, I went to my deceased uncles’ old workshop. Behind the shop was a car half hidden in the weeds. Just across was an old shed filled with old wood. This made me look for things that once were used and now forgotten. There was a beauty in the old tin and the weathered grey of the boards. Out came my camera because I did not want this scene to die in the dust.
It wasn’t until my aunt in North Carolina developed Alzheimer’s that I realized how devastating this disease of the mind can be. The last time I sat with her, she seemed to want to talk with me, but words would no longer come. Only a few sounds could be heard. She laid her head against my shoulder, and I said to her, “It’s hard when you want to say something and you just can’t make us understand, isn’t it?” She looked at me; half smiled and made another sound. Since that time, my uncle has had to care for her every need. He dresses her, feeds her,and takes her to the bathroom. He is definitely a saint. His only reply is ” She would have done the same for me…if things were reversed.”
Since my mother, who thankfully has very sharp mental abilities, had to have full-time care because of her congestive heart failure, I have been introduced to a whole new world. Her assisted living is a caring place with all degrees of health needs. As we visit, we see those who are not only bound to a wheel-chair, but are having conversations with someone somewhere. They are definitely in another time…another place…at least for the moment. Many of these people had active, full lives. They were owners of businesses. One gentleman talks about his farm.
It is a real wake up call to me..a real eye-opener. Many of these fragile people do not have caring daughters or sons to see them daily. They reply on the mercy of staff members who are good-hearted and want to see them through these last years. I am impressed with the nurses who take them by the hand or give them a loving hug. It is a little thing, but some make the effort for extra caring. Others do not. Don’t think that the resident doesn’t know….or notice the attitudes….they do. My mother speaks of her “favorite” nurse. I have observed that this is the one with the warm, friendly smile.
I read recently that 1 in 5 people have a mental disorder of some description. This can be any of us. Age is a big reason, but more and more are suffering at a younger age. There is autism or problems connected with drug abuse in our young.
More recently, I learned that there are therapies that are bringing out something that is hidden deep within these people. It is a wish to communicate….to feel a sense of worth… to know that they can still create something beautiful. This is called Art Therapy or Mneme Therapy. There are some distinctions in the approaches. (see below)
From the time we are toddlers and can hold a crayon in our hand, we show what we feel and what we’d like to say….even if language is not developed…or in later years, when language has gone away. I heard of a man who had a stroke and his vision was so effected that he was seeing everything upside down. After therapy using art, his vision corrected and he no longer has the reversal problem.
Below is a video that demonstrates the need for this type of activity for those whose minds are slowly leaving. Nancy Reagan called it “The Long Goodbye”.
You will notice the smile of the artist. You will also notice the emotion of the relative who could not believe that this could have such an effect. The director of the facility is over-joyed. Across our nation, there are groups working with the old and the young to bring the mind to a better place. We owe them a great debt.
Your world may seem completely normal. For others, the world has changed from what they knew. Art Without Boundaries (that uses the Mneme approach with art) explains the term, Mneme Therapy:
“MnemeTherapy™ uses everyday pleasures such as singing, movement, painting and story telling in a unique combination to stimulate dramatic changes in the brain. Although our goal is to provide a rewarding experience, documented testimonies show significant improvement in some clients in verbal skills, mobility, combativeness, spatial acuity and understanding instructions.”
Take a few more minutes….it may help you understand this whole new world.
As a photographer, I pattern much of my visual images after the painter, Georgia O’Keeffe. She was a woman who was truly herself. Life was not without trials, as she suffered a nervous breakdown and family did not understand her. She loved New Mexico and nature. Buying a Ford Model A , that she could hardly drive, she set out to see the beauty all around her. Of New Mexico, she said, “Such a beautiful, untouched, lonely feeling place…such a fine part of what I call the ‘Faraway’. It is a place I have painted before . . . even now I must do it again.”[ ”
I was impressed and honored, when a young man looked at my photography and said, “Georgia O’Keeffe?’ We talked art and about my inspiration in her work, finding out that this young man was a tatoo artist. He also was an admirer of Georgia O’Keeffe. Never under-estimate our youth! There are still some who know her.
The quote below that I best love is so true of life:
“Sill in a way….nobody sees a flower….it is so small. We haven’t time….and to see …takes time…like to have a friend takes time.” G.O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe was given the highest medal of honor for art by President Ford. She lived to be 98 years old.
Today, I plan to look for the smallest flower. Take time, it will be worth it.
There is so much discussion today about whether the United States of America is a Christian nation.
When our Founding Fathers established this country through the Declaration of Independence and a bloody war with England, they were mostly deeply religious, Christian men. Few know the details of these men. I am giving you this brief tour in hopes that someday you may visit the beautiful Capitol building and see the paintings, statues and artifacts that present a different story from what we hear today about our nation and the Christian faith.
One of the things that makes the United States of America a great nation has to do with our tolerance for all religious faith. It is not a state religion, but a freedom to choose one’s own religion.
All across this country we have welcomed immigrants from every religious background who have brought with them their faith, built their churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques. I think one can see that the intent of our Founding Fathers was not to run from all religion and to make our country into a secular nation….as some would want today. Faith was an important part of what they brought with them.
This video is a short tour given to citizens, like you and me, with some responses to what they learned about the art on the Capitol walls, the first Bible printed in the USA, and the men who founded our country.
For a listing of all art work in the Capitol, go to this website: http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/index.cfm
This week has been one of painting. I am opening a new space for my Asian Art collection and some antiques at the Renniger’s Antique Center in Mt. Dora, Florida. As I crawled around trying to get black or red paint on baseboards and standing too high on a ladder to reach the top of the wall, I wondered what it would be like for the most famous of painters as he worked on the Sistine Chapel high above the marble floor.
Michelangelo was born Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni on March 6, 1475 in Italy. He lived to be 88 years old and during his life time was known for sculpture, painting, architecture, and poetry.
While reading about his early life, I was reminded of students from my years of teaching. The young children would have pained at writing a full name as Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , but a number of my students walked closely in this master’s desire to create.
I remember one child in the 5th grade that was limited in his academic ability, but he often drew pictures that simply were breath-taking. As a teacher, I saw what this child could do…and could not do…so most of what I required of him included something for him to draw. I encouraged his mother to enroll him in any art school that she could and not force him into the college world of composition writing, high math and technology. I hope that she did and that he is following his love.
Michelangelo did not do well as a student, even though his father sent him to the best in education. Instead, he painted pictures from the churches and followed the artists of his time. He also had his share of fights with other students, as we know that Pietro Torrigiano, a great sculptor to be, broke his nose, causing the deformity that we often see in Michelangelo’s self portraits.
As he grew in his ability, one of his first works was a wooden crucifix which he gave to the church.
His works are too many to include in this writing, but a bit of history reminds us that he was only 21 years old when he arrived in Rome in the year 1496. He was commissioned by Cardinal Rafael Riario to work on a statue for his garden. The French ambassador in the Holy See commissioned one of his most famous works, the Pieta.
From a slab of marble, Michelangelo was able, through his God-given gift, to bring to life a piece of stone. Vasari summarized his ability: “It is certainly a miracle that a formless block of stone could ever have been reduced to a perfection that nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh.”
Returning to Florence, at approximately age 33, he completed one of his most famous works of the statue of David.
The painting of the Sistine chapel: Taken from the book of Genesis, the episodes were divided into three groups: God’s creation of Earth, Creation of Man and eventually Woman, and the Fall from God’s Grace. It also includes the state of humanity as represented by Noah and the pendentives supporting the ceiling are twelve men and women who proclaim the coming of Jesus.
The painting of God creating Adam is perhaps one of the most famous parts of the Sistine Ceiling. God’s right arm is outstretched to impart the spark of life from his own finger into that of Adam, whose left arm is extended in a pose mirroring God’s, a reminder that man is created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26). Another point is that Adam’s finger and God’s finger are not touching. It gives the appearance that God, the giver of life, is reaching out to Adam and Adam is receiving.
The Last Judgment Pope Clement VII commissioned the fresco, The Last Judgment to be painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. He worked on the project from 1534 until 1541. The work was massive The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ to judge the world. The Holy Scriptures Revelation 20-22 “Come…let everyone who hears..come…let everyone who is thirsty come..let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift…”
Throughout his life as a painter and sculptor, Michelangelo was frustrated by the politics, rivals within the church and among fellow artists, as well as the changes in Popes throughout this time period. He even dealt with censorship of his works. At one point, to cover the genitals were demanded to make the art more decent. However, some remained uncensored, and Michelangelo pressed through all these obstacles to complete his work.
A temperamental artist; not terribly popular with people, Michelangelo was perhaps a genius at his craft and so totally dedicated to it that he was not able to connect with people. At one point, his passion was known as he hit a statue with a hammer and screamed , “Why don’t you speak to me?”
Michelangelo thought of himself as poor regardless of what he was paid. He was rough and uncouth and had domestic habits that were found unpleasant. He often slept in his clothes and boots. He was mostly indifferent to food and drink, eating only out of necessity. One may also call him isolated and melancholy. His works were sensuous, but he withdrew himself from men. There is no mention of marriage. Michelangelo died without knowing the impact he would have on the world. He had shown through his art the stories and truth of the Holy Scriptures, giving generations to come the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. For many throughout the world, whether literate or illiterate, these stories came to life before their very eyes. Their hearts would respond.
The three weeks that I spent in Japan as a Fulbright Scholar was an experience that I will not forget. More recently, my husband and I returned to Japan where we found the beauty of nature and its preservation one of the most fascinating parts of Japan. Quiet, calm gardens with running water; swimming fish, rocks and white stones raked into perfect form gave us a rest that is hard to find in this busy world. It is my hope that in the day of hand-held, high-tech inventions, the artistry of Japan will be handed down to Japan’s young people. What a disaster if it should vanish with those who know how to make beauty out of bamboo, stone and craft to perfection. The same is true of other parts of Asia.
The ancient art of celadon making in Korea; Jade designs in China; Lacquer artisans of Japan, and builders of the Tea Houses throughout the world. Below are videos showing these art forms. Learn and enjoy!
The making of Korean Celadon Click here to see a video. After viewing, return to view others below.
Making a Japanese Lacquer bowl Click here
Hand making a Tea Room in Kyoto and bringing it to San Francisco. Click to view.
Working of Chinese Jade Click here
The joy I have found in walking through paths of blooming flowers or through a field of those that grow wild has been immeasurable. Today I share with you my photography from various places around the world. Nature is truly the palette of the greatest artists known to man. May you enjoy this presentation below. ( Best viewed with full screen and sound on.)
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Click to enjoy a few of his best paintings. Norman Rockwell
Unusual…dramatic…expression of the invasion of the Ukraine (former Soviet Union) in World War II through sand drawings by Kseniya Simonova. Watch the emotions of the Ukranian audience.
Anyone who has heard Throat Singing had to be in the country of Mongolia or Inner Mongolia of China. It is the strange of the strange to the western ear, but it is music to the ears of this culture at the ends of the earth. What is throat singing? Technically it is described as over- tone chanting. It is the manipulation of the resonances created as air travels to the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out the lips to produce a melody. Now you know, but best if it is heard. ( The sound track on my slide show gives a good illustration.)
The Genghis Khan Mongol Empire united the warring armies of the area of Asia between 1206 and 1228. The were fierce, ruthless, destructive barbarians know for their speed in battle. Their kingdom stretched over most of Central Asia and into China. The Great Wall of China was built to keep out the Mongols.
As a teacher of English, I went to Mongolia for two months and then again on a Christian humanitarian effort. We worked with the blind and the street children. An American girl was there working full-time with the blind. She had lost her sight as a teenager and was so touched by the need of the Mongolian blind that she went there to help. Her driver and translator works beside her.
The people are warm and friendly with a desire to know a traveler. If one should go to the country side, as I did, the real Mongolian bar-b-que is served. The country is dotted with gers (tent home of the nomad) and I will never forget my train ride in the moonlight, with the white of the gers shining under the stars.
One of my students told me a true story of when she was a child, riding through the desert with her family. She was very young and was riding in a basket secured on the side of a camel. Somehow she fell out and the caravan went on without her. It was not until much later that she was discovered missing. Retracing their tracks, they heard her cries and saved her that day. Now she is living in the U.S.A. and probably telling that story to many people. I have written a children’s book depicting her story and often tell of it in my lectures.
My second visit to Mongolia was strictly to help the street children. At that time, the children were often without families because of alcoholism or death within their home. They became a part of a street gang, living in sub-zero weather below the streets in order to keep warm. A student visited me recently and said that she had gone with authorities into these areas to try to help. World Vision is a Christian organization that has made a great difference in the lives of the people. My guest, who was a first time visitor to the U.S, went with me to a local landfill in order to take back some of the technology to the neighborhoods of Ulan Bator , the capital of Mongolia.
It has only been since 1990 that Mongolia has thrown off the communist rule of the Russians and rebuilt their own country. During the seventy year domination, Russia persecuted the Buddhist priests and tried to wipe out the Mongolian culture. This was through training programs to change from the Mongol script to Cyrillic and from the native language of Mongolia to only Russian. When the Berlin Wall was going down, the Mongolians also took to the streets and reclaimed their country. Now the computer age has brought the Mongolians into a different world. No longer are they isolated between Russia and China. They are getting to know the entire world. I am glad they did find their freedom because it gave me a chance to see and meet wonderful people in this land at the ends of the earth.
BOYER WRITES by N.W. BOYER
Video 1 Modern Mongolia video Video 2 Slides and throat singing.
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Visiting a museum is an experience that says much about a person. Does he truly want to see the creativity that would be different from his own taste, or is he willing to risk something totally different?
Given the size of most museums, it might be only natural to skip the Modern Art or Antiquities if that is not one’s taste. When I visited the Louvre in Paris some years ago, I knew that I had to pick and choose or come back several days in order to see most of it.
So what is my taste in art or music? It wasn’t until I started being a serious photographer and found that there was software that would let me manipulate my photographs to make them a little …or a lot different from the original that I had taken. “Gee! How much fun is this?” I would find myself saying. The surprise of it all! Maybe this is how the artist whose works ended up in the museum felt when he let loose the worms on the canvas. No one knew how it all would end up. What would it look like? What does it remind me of…or not. Anyway, it became a delightful treat. Making abstracts was a blast!
I could see all kinds of changes and potential in that beautiful rose that I had just clicked with my camera. So this is how it all began and who knows how it will end up for me. Hopefully you will enjoy the slides of my abstracts. Keep an open mind. You may just have to visit that other wing of the museum that you skipped last time!
BOYER WRITES by Nancy Boyer
(Turn on your sound before viewing)
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