A Fortnight (or so) Of Visionary Artists

Wednesday March 12th 2014
Detail from the Stigmatisation of St Francis. Tiepolo (March 5)

Tiepolo, a vivid conjuror of imaginary worlds, painted ceilings. So did Michelangelo. It was the fashion in those days, of course, to paint visions of heaven…

What follows are works by artists born between March 5 and 21 that seem to sit together well. “Coincidentally” there are quite a few watercolours by this group of painters born under the wateriest sign of all, Pisces.

One wouldn’t want to get to carried away with drawing parallels between artists born under the same sun sign… but there is a mood here. I’ll leave you just to look and ponder.

The Last Judgment. Michelangelo (March 6)
Milton Avery (March 7)
In The Box. Boris Kustodiev (March 7)
Dein Aschenes Haar. Anselm Kiefer (March 8)
California Sunset. Colin Campbell Cooper (March 8)
Italian Summer. Elaine de Kooning (March 12)
Shibata Zeshin (March 15)
Fallen Demon. Mikhail Vrubel (March 17)
Hans Hoffmann (March 21)


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  1. Christina says:

    Just a word on the wonderful Russian painter Boris Kustodiev, born March 7, 1878 and this painting. It’s called In the Box and rather encapsulates some of the magic of Pisces: music, illusion. He had Mercury, Sun and Saturn in the sign & the Merc sextiled Neptune in artistic Taurus. You can draw an association between Neptune in Taurus and ballet.

  2. Christina says:

    Also the Anselm Kiefer painting is a response to a poem by Paul Celan called Death Fugue, written in 1948. Here is a quote from it (in a translation by Christopher Middleton):
    “Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night we drink you at noon
    death comes as a master from Germany
    we drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you and drink you
    a master from Germany
    death comes with eyes that are blue with a bullet of lead
    he will hit in the mark he will hit you
    a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
    he hunts us down with his dogs in the sky
    he gives us a grave
    he plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a master from Germany

    your golden hair Margarete
    your ashen hair Shulamith.”

    To read the full poem, click on this link: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15865

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this Christina, Kustodiev is quite beautiful. Reminds me a bit of Chagall 🙂 Is it watercolour? It’s really vibrant.

    Here is a poem that seems quite Piscean too – although the bees give it a Cancerian flavour:

    Last Night As I Was Sleeping

    Last night as I was sleeping,
    I dreamt—marvelous error!—
    that a spring was breaking
    out in my heart.
    I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
    Oh water, are you coming to me,
    water of a new life
    that I have never drunk?

    Last night as I was sleeping,
    I dreamt—marvelous error!—
    that I had a beehive
    here inside my heart.
    And the golden bees
    were making white combs
    and sweet honey
    from my old failures.

    Last night as I was sleeping,
    I dreamt—marvelous error!—
    that a fiery sun was giving
    light inside my heart.
    It was fiery because I felt
    warmth as from a hearth,
    and sun because it gave light
    and brought tears to my eyes.

    Last night as I slept,
    I dreamt—marvelous error!—
    that it was God I had
    here inside my heart.

    Antonio Machado


    I’d actually remembered it as:

    ‘Last night I dreamed – O blessed illusion
    that there was a beehive here in my heart,
    And that the golden bees were making sweet combs of white honey
    From all my old failures.’

    Talking of Germanics – here in Aus there is a new Norwegian pop group (not Aha) that’s been making the rounds. Was listening in on local radio and the DJs said ‘isn’t Norwegian music quite dark?’ It turned out that yes, it was a bit gothic, but then one DJ said ‘what’s that music that sounds like you’ve put your head in an industrial grinder? Where’s that from?’ ‘Ah, that would be German technopunk/goth’, said the other one. I’m so glad I grew up on Simon and Garfunkle, and Pentangle. All good wishes x

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ah, apparently it’s missing the last two verses. Here they are:

    Missing last two verses:

    Is my soul asleep?
    Have those beehives that labour
    at night stopped? And the water
    wheel of thought,
    is it dry, the cups empty,
    wheeling, carrying only shadows?

    No my soul is not asleep.
    It is awake, wide awake.
    It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,
    its clear eyes open,
    far-off things, and listens
    at the shores of the great silence.

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