Friday, April 30, 2004

Springtime in Chicago

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Economics Ends Hate

Friday, April 16, 2004

Shakespeare's Sonnet Today


My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me:
How can I then be elder than thou art?
O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
As I, not for myself, but for thee will;
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;
Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Congratulations To The 7 Grand Club Members!

But, to the tax-payers and tax-collectors:

Be cool, be calm, get collected.

Starbucks is offfering a free cup of tea, a soothing blend of Egyptian chamomile blossoms blended with fragrant lemon balm leaf from Eastern Europe as an "antidote to tax-day stress."

"Pink rose petals from Morocco impart a light, spicy taste that enhances the apple-like flavor of chamomile."

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Edvard Munch's Mermaid

New Munch Acquisition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

On view in Gallery 158

The Museum has recently acquired Mermaid (1896), a hauntingly beautiful painting by the Norwegian Symbolist artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Munch’s Mermaid was received as a gift from an anonymous donor. The large and little-known work from the artist’s most intense period was painted in Paris for the Oslo home of a Norwegian industrialist. The painting has never been on public display in a museum before and is now on view in Gallery 158.

Munch occupies a central place in the development of modern art. His works play a crucial role in the Symbolist movement at the turn of the 20th century, giving voice to unconscious aspects of the human psyche and emotion. He is considered one of the pivotal figures to translate turn-of-the-century French art into a Northern idiom, and gave inspiration to German Expressionism. While the Museum has an important collection of his prints, Mermaid is the first painting by Munch to enter the collection.

Norse myths of mermaids focused upon the melancholy experience of a creature that could not live comfortably either in the sea or on land. Munch was probably influenced by these traditional stories and also by a play, The Lady from the Sea (1888) written by Munch’s famous literary compatriot Henrik Ibsen. Mermaid captures a moment evocative of this Norse mythology. Seen in the light of the full moon suspended low over the sea, a haunting figure with flowing auburn hair is rendered in warm tones and raises herself from a recumbent position to approach the shore. With the curve of her tail, she breaks the moon’s long, vertical reflection--a signature motif in Munch’s work--to create a turbulence highlighted with gold in the sea of cool blues, purples, greens and grays.

In 1896, industrialist Axel Heiberg commissioned Munch to paint Mermaid as a mural for his house near Oslo. The painting was prominently located, high on a wall, with the canvas shaped to fit beneath the sloping rafters of a room housing many other works in Heiberg’s collection. Permanently hung and out of public view, this major painting remained largely unknown during subsequent decades when such landmark works as The Scream (1893) and Madonna (1894-5) were earning Munch wide renown. When Heiberg’s house was sold in 1938 after his death, the painting remained with his family who removed it from its original location and brought it to the National Gallery in Oslo, where the tapering end sections of the wide trapezoidal canvas were repositioned and reworked to create the painting’s present rectangular shape. The painting was owned by the descendents of Heiberg until 1979 when it was sold and has remained in private hands until it became a gift to the Museum.

New Munch Acquisition

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 26th Street | Philadelphia, PA 19130
Main Museum Number: (215) 763-8100 | TTY: (215) 684-7600

More Highlights in History

April 14, 1865.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the presentation of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln died the following morning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Today's Highlight in History

April 13, 1743.

The Third President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, was born.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

J.S. Bach "Wedding Cantata " Found

The BBC Reports on a Lost Bach Score Found in Japan...

A lost musical score by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach has been found in Japan, scholars have revealed.

The 1728 composition, called "Wedding Cantata BWV 216," was found among the papers of Japanese pianist Chieko Hara, who died in Japan in 2001 aged 86.

The work, written for the wedding of a daughter of a German customs official, was missing for 80 years.

Professors at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo say they may release copies for future performances.

The eight-page handwritten composition contains soprano and alto parts with notes and lyrics written in German, Professor Tadashi Isoyama said.

It is not clear how Hara obtained the manuscript - its last known owner was a descendant of German composer Felix Mendelssohn.

However, researchers believe Hara may have obtained it from her husband - Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassado, who knew Mendelssohn's descendant.

Born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685, Bach is acknowledged as one of the world's most prolific composers and as a master of the baroque music style.

"This is invaluable material that will lead to greater understanding of Bach," Professor Isoyama told French news

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Basic Law Becomes More Complex

China Claims Right to Amend Hong Kong Law

BEIJING (AP)- China issued a major ruling Tuesday on how Hong Kong chooses its leaders, saying the territory must submit proposed political reforms to Beijing for approval.

The Chinese government's National People's Congress issued the ruling in an interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution.

"The right to amend the law belongs to the National People's Congress," said Qiao Xiaoyang, deputy secretary-general of the NPC's Standing Committee. He added, outlining central power: "A locality has no fixed power. All powers of the locality derive from the authorization of the central authorities."

"We have not only not impeded the democratic process in Hong Kong, but we have promoted democracy in Hong Kong's political system through our interpretation," Qiao said.

The committee's vote ties the hands of the Hong Kong government by allowing only Beijing to ultimately approve reforms - control that pro-democracy activists have vehemently lobbied against.

"This is like having to ask a robber if you can use your own money," said Law Yuk-kai, director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, a private group. "The Hong Kong people have been robbed of their rights."

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing said it was "unclear" about the ruling.

Hong Kong, a peninsula and group of islands on the southeastern edge of mainland China, was a British territory for 150 years before reverting to the Chinese in 1997. Beijing promised it would allow the region to operate under the principle of "one country, two systems" and a "high degree of autonomy."

The Basic Law is the document that governs those rights for Hong Kong's people, and is administered by the territory's chief executive, the Beijing-appointed Tung Chee-hwa.