Friday, December 31, 2010


A.E. Marty: Les Deux Nigauds from La Gazette du Bon Ton janvier 1914

We may be far removed from the Druids who, on the sixth day of the moon after the winter solstice, celebrated the rite of the Night Mother dressed in robes of white as they prepared a sacrifice before a venerated oak. Mistletoe was rare on an oak tree and was considered so precious that it was cut off carefully with a gold sickle. The parasitic plant was caught as it fell in a cloth of white wool. Its magic powers might be lost if it touched the ground and it was highly valued as a  universal panacea. The plant was brewed with very pure water to cure maladies and protect from bewitchment. For  centuries, celebrations of Guianeu from au gui de l'an neuf  (new year's mistletoe) were carried out to bring luck by children in the countryside. Today it decorates my home, and any magic it spreads starts with a kiss.

Happy New Year to All -

my very best wishes to friends and companions in the blog world for health, happiness, and beauty in 2011

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joyeux Noël

image: lemondedesreligions

For the first time in France, the Musée de Cluny (Museum of the Middle Ages) is exhibiting some of the most precious treasures of Gothic art collection from the National Gallery of Slovakia in Bratislava. This haut-relief sculpture was inspired by a vision of Christ's birth by St. Brigitte of Sweden, which places the sacred event amidst a fresh outdoor scene of winding roads, grazing sheep, and country folk.
More pictures from the exhibit here.

A very merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The perils of an unmade bed

Le lit défait by Eugene Delacroix
Réunion des musées nationaux

I was intrigued to read some time ago a tale concerning Delacroix's youthful work, The Unmade Bed, which I have never come across elsewhere.
As Sacha Guitry tells it, he had his sights set on purchasing the painting when it came up at auction. He fully intended to do his utmost to acquire the work, until he was dissuaded by a  friend in-the-know who explained that no one had been able to keep the painting, and if Guitry were to buy it, he would surely get rid of it in a month's time. Five times already, the friend explained, the watercolor had changed owners in recent years.  The reason? Hidden in the tousled folds of the bed's crumpled sheets - wherein lies all the painting's considerable charm - appears a head of Medusa. 'Once you have noticed it, you won't be able to look at anything else,' claimed the expert. Guitry heeded his friend's advice and did not even bid on the painting. He realised that, very quickly, such a feature would become an obsession and that he would no longer be able to relish the sensuous composition with his eyes returning over and over to that one irresistible form.
It took me some time to find the head. Now I see at least two.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Architectural Assortment

photo Le style et la matière
1722, 1930s, 2010-11

Three buildings, three architectural periods and one construction/renovation project 
to link them as the new improved Postal Bank's headquarters.

from left to right: hôtel de Choiseul-Praslin; postal sorting center;
new office building with a post office on the ground floor

photo Le style et la matière

Oops. Four architectural periods, in fact! This building is located behind the hôtel de Choiseul-Praslin and is part of the enormous project as well. I believe it dates to the 1880s.

views from la rue Saint-Romain

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pattern in all things

yesterday: snow in the Parc de Saint Cloud

 photographic explorations by Bentley, the snowflake man
image Wikipedia 

Of all the forms of water, the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow, that form in such quantities within the clouds during storms, are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.

W.A. Bentley

lace pattern from Foillet's compendium of 1598


image of snowflakes and more information on Bentley, here