* In the midst of an insane day at work, I ran out at lunch time and saw the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. It was simply spectacular. I really hope to get back a few times before it heads off to Moscow. Thank you, Tate Gallery, thank you. Here are just a few of my very favorite pieces:
This is Ferdinand Lured by Ariel. Ariel is wearing a cape made of “plant bats.” Do I want that cape? Yes, yes I do.
Wikipedia explains that the painting “depicts an episode from Act I, Scene II of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. It illustrates Ferdinand’s lines ‘Where should this music be? i’ the air or the earth?’ He is listening to Ariel singing the lyric ‘Full fathom five thy father lies.’ Ariel is tipping Ferdinand’s hat from his head, while Ferdinand holds on to its string and strains to hear the song. Ferdinand looks straight at Ariel, but the latter is invisible to him.
And here’s maybe the most intriguing picture from the exhibit, Dantis Amore by Rossetti:
Painted on one of William Morris’ settles (Would I love to live in a house full of painted furniture from this period? Yes, yes I would.), it depicts the death of Alighieri’s Beatrice. What fascinates me about it is how it begins to bleed back into Blake’s art and forwards into Peter Max.
The entire exhibit is spectacular and spectacularly exhibited and if you can possibly get to DC to see it, you should.
* One of the v smart things that the National Gallery of Art has been doing is to collaborate with local chefs to put together menus that amplify the museum’s important exhibitions. Last summer, when the museum had a sizzling exhibit by Joan Miro, they teamed with Jose Andres from local restaurant minibar to come up with an spectacular menu, including the best gazpacho ever.
For the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit, NGA worked with Cathal Armstrong, chef of local Restaurant Eve to create a Romantic English lunch. The pea salad was the best I’ve ever had and I’ll be making it again and again this Spring (although I may double the mint, but that’s just because I love mint and grow it and have a ready supply).
2 cups fresh English peas, shucked and blanched
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and roasted
2 tablespoons fresh mint, diced
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sour cream
6 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper
1. In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sour cream, and canola oil. In a separate bowl mix the mint, peas, and pearl onions with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Other recipes here.
* I remember gathering with local Pagans years ago to do magic for the bees. Looks as if more is needed.
* Watching news about Korea, I think of Robert Cording who, watching cranes, thinks of Camus:
Watching Cranes, I Think of Camus
Tonight, our spoonful of uplift
is red-crowned cranes, wings up,
legs down, floating into the DMZ
on the feel-good spot of the news.
It’s almost a sanctuary, the reporter says,
this open, empty land that runs along
the 38th parallel between North
and South Korea for 160 miles. It’s true,
the cranes have found refuge here,
the land, people-less, littered with mines
and surrounded by troops, left behind
to the birds for the time being.
It’s almost comical how the news report
thinks it needs to shuffle between
an opportunistic nature rushing in
to fill an emptiness, and the vague sense
of some power larger than us
fixing once again what we’ve broken.
I’m no better. I’m dragging up Camus,
who wondered how we could ever be
miserable, so much beauty in the world,
but, also, how we could ever be happy,
so much shit in the world. Yes, Camus
is there, uninvited, in the final montage—
a new day, the morning sun oranging
the snow-dusted marsh, the camera closing in
on a pair of cranes, their necks dipping,
rising, one head bowing to the other until
the pair lift into air as if they are levitating,
then fall, their wings opened like parachutes
as they touch down ever so lightly on the earth
where all that poised firepower waits.
* First serious gardening day of the Spring tomorrow. I may be too sore to post afterwards. Funny, how, sybarite that I am, I turn and long for that soreness. Which, of course, reminds me of my v favorite Mervyn Peake poem:
Out of the Chaos of my Doubt
Out of the chaos of my doubt
And the chaos of my art
I turn to you inevitably
As the needle to the pole
Turns . . . as the cold brain to the soul
Turns in its uncertainty;
So I turn and long for you;
So I long for you, and turn
To the love that through my chaos
Burns a truth,
And lights my path.
May it be so for you.
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