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Dante and Virgil

Dante_et_Virgile-William_Bouguereau-IMG_8283Name: Dante and Virgil

Artist: William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Year: 1850

Type: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 281 cm x 225 cm

Location: Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Style: Neoclassicism

Subject: The Divine Comedy

Dante and Virgil is a 1850 oil on canvas painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It is presently on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The painting depicts Dante and Virgil looking on as two damned souls are entwined in combat. One of the souls is an alchemist and heretic named Capocchio. In this depiction Capocchio is being bitten on the neck by Gianni Schicchi who had used fraud to claim another man’s inheritance. – Source

Inspiration:

This painting was inspired by a short scene from the Inferno, set in the eighth circle of Hell (the circle for falsifiers and counterfeiters), where Dante, accompanied by Virgil, watches a fight between two damned souls: Capocchio, a heretic and alchemist is attacked and bitten on the neck by Gianni Schicchi who had usurped the identity of a dead man in order to fraudulently claim his inheritance. – Source

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Skull of Skeleton with Burning Cigarette

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Head_of_a_skeleton_with_a_burning_cigarette_-_Google_Art_Project

Name: Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

Year: 1885-86

Type: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 32 cm x 24.5 cm

Location: Van Gogh Museu, Amsterdam 

One of the rarely mentioned horror artworks of Van Gogh’s oeuvre is his painting Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette, part of the studies of skeletons from his Antwerp period. In the tradition of everyday allegoric paintings of Renaissance, it carries a message of Memento Mori within the post-impressionism, and it is considered as a personal reminder on the harmful effects of smoking for the artist himself, as he was a keen smoker and frail at the same time. The ambivalence of the death and death causing human practices is the most terrifying aspect of this even humorous painting. – Source

We Wear the Mask

By: Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!

Seeker of Truth

seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

By: E.E. Cummings

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

By: Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

About the Poem:

“Do not go gentle into that good night” is a poem in the form of a villanelle, and the most famous work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953).

It has no title other than its first line, “Do not go gentle into that good night”, a line which appears as a refrain throughout. Its other refrain is “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. – Wikipedia

10 Short Stories to Read During Your Down Time

Here are the PDF versions:

1. “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

2. “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

3. ““The Masque of the Red Death”” by Edgar Allan Poe

4. ““The Black Cat”” by Edgar Allan Poe

5. ““A Rose for Emily”” by William Faulkner

6. ““Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”” by Joyce Carol Oates

7. ““The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”” by Washington Irving

8. ““Rip Van Winkle”” by Washington Irving

9. ““The Canterville Ghost”” by Oscar Wilde

10. ““An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”” by Ambrose Bierce

 

 

 

The Nightmare

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare.jpgName: The Nightmare

Artist: Henry Fuseli

Year: 1781

Type: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 101.6 x 127 mm

Location: Detroit Institute of Arts

 

The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, in a room filled with white light, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest.

 

Interpretation

Interpretations vary. The canvas seems to portray simultaneously a dreaming woman and the content of her nightmare. The incubus and horse’s head refer to contemporary belief and folklore about nightmares, but have been ascribed more specific meanings by some theorists. Contemporary critics were taken aback by the overt sexuality of the painting, since interpreted by some scholars as anticipating Jungian ideas about the unconscious.

Description

The Nightmare simultaneously offers both the image of a dream—by indicating the effect of the nightmare on the woman—and a dream image—in symbolically portraying the sleeping vision. It depicts a sleeping woman draped over the end of a bed with her head hanging down, exposing her long neck. She is surmounted by an incubus that peers out at the viewer. The sleeper seems lifeless, and, lying on her back, takes a position then believed to encourage nightmares. Her brilliant coloration is set against the darker reds, yellows, and ochres of the background; Fuseli used a chiaroscuro effect to create strong contrasts between light and shade. The interior is contemporary and fashionable, and contains a small table on which rests a mirror, phial, and book. The room is hung with red velvet curtains which drape behind the bed. Emerging from a parting in the curtain is the head of a horse with bold, featureless eyes. – Wikipedia

Richard Burton: The Bergin Speech

woolfNow and then, he had had a couple of drinks. I mean, that wasn’t only a joke, because he — we were shooting and he was religious about that. He did not drink when shooting except a couple of times. And when he came in pissed off, I knew. And this one time I thought, “Oh, man. This is gonna be really tough.” ‘Cause it was the bergin speech, which is a long damn speech. We did it and he couldn’t get through it. And then that magic thing that happens on movies happened and he did it and it was incredible. It just took off. And it was perfect all the way through and I said, “Cut. That’s it. Oh, Richard, that was the best.” And when the dailies came back, the scene had been overexposed by, like, 10 points. And I said to the DP, I said, “Start working on it, because he’s never gonna do it again.”

– Mike Nichols (on Richard Burton’s doing the bergin speech)

Link: The Bergin Speech

Movie: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Director: Mike Nichols

Starring: Richard Burton (as George) and  Elizabeth Taylor (as Martha)

Sonnet 147

My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
Th’ uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed:
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

By William Shakespeare

 

About the Sonnet:

Sonnet 147 is one of 154 sonnets written by English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Sonnet 147 is written from the perspective of a poet who regards the love he holds for his mistress and lover as a sickness, and more specifically, as a fever. The sonnet details the internal battle the poet has between his reason (or head) and the love he has for his mistress (his heart). As he realizes his love is detrimental to his health and stability, perhaps even fatal, the poet’s rationality attempts to put an end to the relationship. Eventually, however, the battle between the poet’s reason and his love comes to an end. Unable to give up his lover, the poet gives up rationale and his love becomes all consuming, sending him to the brink of madness.” – Wikipedia

The Dark Lady Sonnets:

“As a piece within Shakespeare’s sonnet collection, Sonnet 147 lies within the Dark Lady sonnets sequence (Sonnets 127-154)… The Dark Lady sonnets are associated with a woman of dark physical and moral features…[and]…frequently include harsh and offensive language, often including sexual innuendos, to describe a woman who is neither admirably beautiful, or of admirable means or aristocratic status. By writing about this dark and simple woman, Shakespeare writes in stark contrast to most poets of his time, who often and predominantly wrote about fair, virginal, young girls who were of high social status.As with the questioned identity of the inspiration for the Fair Youth sonnets, the identity of the original Dark Lady has been disputed and argued for centuries.” -Wikipedia

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