Friday, April 13, 2007

It feels heavenly indeed, when I manage to discover an artist who I consider as good as anything I've ever witnessed in my relatively short but spectacularly rich experience with art.
The above painting is one such example of a rather obscure artist, Ivan Aivazovsky, that really imposes on me the will to look more on the brightside of life and I can thus enjoy a respite from the toil of intellectual pessimism. Romanticism is healthy for the mind and there is no question that this is indeed true. Although the painting above portrays people clinging to the badly damaged mast of their crippled ship and the so-called '9th Wave' is certainly about to consume them in one go, there is the wonderful balance between the delight in nature against the fragility of human physicality. Spirituality is what counts here and the people depicted are nevertheless hopeful, even for a miracle to save them, but still remain faithful to their hopes.
For once I have undoubtedly found a painter that matches the formidable Sublime of Friedrich without letting go of realism like Turner or plunging into the unneccesary Romantic nationalism of Delacroix.
Applause is what's left, and pride of course.

Monday, April 09, 2007

10 + 1 Reasons To Aspire To Be Mikhail Lermontov

1. From a phonetic point of view, he had the coolest Russian name to have
2. The main character of his only finished novel 'A Hero of our Time', is very much a mirror-image of himself.
3. Deservedly, one of the foremost poets of Russia.
4. He represented the typical mid-18th century Russian thinking - that of a true, purposeful rebel.
5. His arrogance, as described by his peers, is scarcely present in his poetry.
6. He was able to pin down anyone with a brilliantly chosen epigram or nickname.
7. In-between sardonically satirising his teachers at school, he was also a skillful violin-player.
8. His paintings are in no way inferior to any French or German Romantic painter.
9. In the army, he would expose his impressive physical strength by tying steel ramrods into knots.
10. He surpasses the eternal-glorification of any rockstar that died prematurely because he died in an actual duel.
11. All the reasons above are made all the more deserving of plaudits with the fact that he lived only to the age of 26.