82nd & Fifth. “My First Time” from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of my favourite museums is The Met and one of my favourite paintings is also there.  I was just impressed and happy to see that a new video cured by the art historian and curator George Goldner depicted and explained that painting.

The painting is titled” View of Toledo” by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos).

View of Toledo

In this painting, El Greco, “portrays the city he lived and worked in for most of his life. The painting belongs to the tradition of emblematic city views, rather than a faithful documentary description. The view of the eastern section of Toledo from the north would have excluded the cathedral, which the artist therefore imaginatively moved to the left of the Alcázar (the royal palace). Other buildings represented in the painting include the ancient Alcántara Bridge, and on the other side of the river Tagus, the Castle of San Servando.”

I invite you to watch the video interview behind this painting and Goldner’s commentary.  I am sure you will love it.

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Terracotta vase in the form of a lobster claw

Visiting history museums is one of my favorite activities.  There, one of the things that I appreciate the most is learning about the paintings they have in vases and other pottery utensils from Ancient Greece. Why? Because of its relative durability, pottery comprises a large part of the archaeological record of Ancient Greece, and since there is so much of it (some 100,000 vases are recorded in the Corpus vasorum antiquorum), it has exerted a disproportionately large influence on our understanding of Greek society.

Take a look to this wooooonderful work that I found in the website of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Terracotta vase in the form of a lobster claw
Attributed to the Class of Seven Lobster-Claws

Period: Classical
Date: ca. 460 B.C.
Culture: Greek, Attic
Medium: Terracotta
Dimensions: Overall: 2 3/4 x 2 7/8 in. (7 x 7.3 cm)
Other: 6 1/4in. (15.9cm)
Classification: Vases
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number: 23.160.57

2012, Early Summer Reading List #Books

I am reading all day long specialized non-fiction books and journal essays.  That is how life is like when you want to be an Academic in a world in which competition is getting harder and harder.  However, I also find some time to read good non-fiction from other specialties or great fiction and poetry that allows me to romanticize.

Choosing good non-fiction is very hard for me since the offers are so many and the time to read is so reduced. Plus, the new offers in the market are huge and I learned when working as Collection Developer for my college library that even reviewing the best book review magazines takes a lot of time.

I found this list of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners that will surely help me choose the best non-fiction to read this summer when traveling for holidays.  I hope you will also find this list helpful!  Also, I add some other fiction books from my ongoing list of “pending to read” that may be also helpful for you!

PULITZER WINNERS 2012

MORE FICTION Recommendations

If you have some recommendations please share them with me! I’d love to have them in my reading list! 😀

TED lecture. Sheikha Al Mayassa: Globalizing the local, localizing the global

After watching a TED lecture by Sheikha Al Mayassa, a patron of artists, storytellers and filmmakers in Qatar, I had some questions.  First, she emphasizes how art and culture create a country’s identity — and how they allow every country to share its unique identity with the wider world.  While an interesting video, as usually happens in Islamic countries she refuses to acknowledge the fact that culture and art do not have to depend from the metaphysical foundations of any religious tradition.

Islam to her is Philosophy and Culture at the same time; and unfortunately she refuses to acknowledge the contradictions created by her religion by just ignoring them.  This is an interesting video that could help you identify how is it that philosophical contradictions are the root of our diferences with people that lives in areas of the world in which Islam rules.

As such, unless we want chaos it is necesarry that before “globalizing the local, localizing the global” we understand which are the philosophical contradictions that do not enable us (and them) to coexist in peace.

Here’s the video,

Finding the secret of the Prince of Persia in Weimar

Video: Placido Domingo interprets “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s opera Turandot

One of the most wonderful events that a human being could get to see in his lifetime is the opera Turandot. And for the first time in History, in October 14, 2011, the Middle Eastern citizens had the opportunity to attend to a presentation of Turandot at the Royal Opera House Muscaz; Oman‘s premier venue for musical arts and culture last  with a production by Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo1

The decision of choosing Turandot was also specially significant to the history of such a wonderful region because the opera tells a story from the famous Persian collection of stories know as The Book of One Thousand and One Days in which the character of the princess of “Turandokht” was found.This princess was to marry the prince who would solve her three riddles; failing was to result in the death penalty.  First, The Prince of Persia tried to win Turandot, and failing he was going to be executed. in his way to Death he gets to meet Princess Turandot and falls profoundly in love who manages to free himself and make evident his intentions to take Turandot’s challenge. He wins her challenge by answering her riddle but Turandot doesn’t wants to marry him.  In exchange, the prince says to the princess that he doesn’t wants to force the prince to marry him; and that, if she guesses his name before sunrise, he will let her kill him.

In this part, the opera takes you to the most wonderful scenes on Earth while Turandot is trying to guess the Prince’s first name. The Prince manages to kiss princess Turandot she realizes that she also loves The Persian Prince. In an emotional act he tells her his first name is Calaf waiting for her to love him more; however, she is full of anger and arrogance and thinks that he had just revealed the secret she so eagerly looked for. She goes to her father and addresses the Imperial Court; she reveals that the name of his lover is: love.

I remembered this story today while walking alone in the beautiful streets of Weimar seeking for an epiphany. I found it and cried in front of a copy of Auguste Rodin‘s sculpture L’âge d’airain (The Age of Bronze). And just as the Princess Turandot did, I found love today.

Auguste Rodin - The Age of Bronze

Recommended links:

Analysis and Background
Libretto, Discography, and Listenable Media

1 Check the list of all the performances of the Royal Opera House Muscat. Performances