Alphabetarion # Fragrance | John Keats, 1818

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"Share the inward fragrance of each other’s heart."

 John Keats, Isabella, or the Pot of Basil, 1818


Isabella, or the Pot of Basil (1818) is a narrative poem by John Keats adapted from a story
 in Boccaccio's Decameron. It tells the tale of a young woman whose family intend to marry 
her to "some high noble and his olive trees", but who falls for Lorenzo, one of her brothers' 
employees. When the brothers learn of this, they murder Lorenzo and bury his body. His ghost 
informs Isabella in a dream. She exhumes the body and buries the head in a pot of basil which
 she tends obsessively, while pining away.

The poem was popular with Pre-Raphaelite painters, who illustrated several episodes from it.


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Stereosc2pe + | Nudes | Moïse Kisling, 1918

Moise Kisling, Reclining nude in the leaves, 1918
Moise Kisling, Nude on red couch, 1918


Stereosc2pe >


Flick Review < Shadows | John Cassavetes, 1959






 "We were improvising . . . every scene was very simple. They were predicated on 
people having problems that were overcome with other problems. At the end of
 the scene another problem would come in and overlap".

John Cassavetes



Shadows (1958)
Director: John Cassavetes
Written: John Cassavetes, Robert Alan Aurthur
Cinematography: Erich Kollmar
Stars: Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd
Music: Shafi Hadi, Charles Mingus
Produced: Maurice McEndree, Nikos Papatakis


"Shadows will always be the film I love the best simply because it was the first one..."

John Cassavetes

"Shadows presents contemporary reality in a fresh and unconventional manner...
The improvisation, spontaneity, and free inspiration that are almost entirely lost
in most films from an excess of professionalism are fully used in this film."

Jonas Mekas, Film Culture, 1959

John Cassavetes in Shadows (1958)
John Cassavetes and Charles Mingus in Shadows (1958)
John Cassavetes with his crew on the set of Shadows (1959)


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The Beatles, Outtake for the Butcher Cover | Photos by Robert Whitaker, 1966

Paul McCartney and George Harrison in an outtake from the cover session for the 
'Yesterday & Today' album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966

Robert Whitaker, George Harrison has a birdcage placed over his head during a studio session 
in Chelsea, London, 1966    

Robert Whitaker, Paul McCartney has a birdcage placed over his head during a studio session
 in Chelsea, London, 1966
Robert Whitaker - The Beatles, Outtake for the Butcher Cover, 1966


On March 25, 1966 Whitaker took a series of promotional photographs of the Beatles. 
Instead of the typical boring shoot, Whitaker had the Beatles doing wacky things with
 props in unconventional poses.

Whitaker had the idea of creating a satirical commentary on The Beatles’ fame, 
inspired by the German surrealist Hans Bellmer’s images of dismembered doll 
and mannequin parts.


Robert Whitaker, George Harrison  in a playful pose about to knock a nail into 
the head of John Lennon during a studio session in Chelsea, London, 1966
Robert Whitaker, George Harrison  in a playful pose about to knock a nail into 
the head of John Lennon during a studio session in Chelsea, London, 1966
 Robert Whitaker - The Beatles, Outtake for the Butcher Cover, 1966
John Lennon and Ringo Starr of The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for 
the 'Yesterday & Today' album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966
Paul McCartney in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 1966
The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 
Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 25th March 1966

Soon after the photo shoot, the Beatles were informed that Yesterday and Today would
 be the next Beatles album released America by Capitol Records. The Beatles management
were asked to provide some suggestions for the LP cover. Whitaker’s new photos of the
Beatles were chosen. Capitol executives wanted to use one of Whitaker’s steamer trunk
photos for the album’s cover. But John Lennon preferred the butcher shots. Beatles
manager Brian Epstein conveyed Lennon’s preference to Capitol and the artwork.
(...)

The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' 
album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966
John Lennon in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 1966
Paul McCartney in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 1966
The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' 
album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966

"I did a photograph of the Beatles covered in raw meat, dolls and false teeth. Putting meat, 
dolls and false teeth with The Beatles is essentially part of the same thing, the breakdown 
of what is regarded as normal. The actual conception for what I still call “Somnambulant 
Adventure” was Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. 
He comes across people worshipping a golden calf. All over the world I’d watched people
 worshiping like idols, like gods, four Beatles. To me they were just stock standard normal 
people. But this emotion that fans poured on them made me wonder where Christianity 
was heading."


The Beatles decided to use this photograph for their Yesterday and Today album cover.


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Alphabetarion # Circumstances | Machado de Assis, 1883

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“The best thing to do is to loosen my grip on my pen and let it go wandering
about until it finds an entrance. There must be one – everything depends
on the circumstances, a rule applicable as much to literary style as to life.
 Each word tugs another one along, one idea another, and that is how books,
governments and revolutions are made – some even say that is how
Nature created her species.”

 Machado de Assis, Those Cousins from Sapucaia, 1883


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Love and fantasy go hand in hand | Marc Chagall / Bella Rosenfeld Chagall

Marc Chagall, Over the Town, 1918 


Over the Town shows Chagall and his wife, Bella Rosenfeld Chagall, flying above Vitebsk,
 which is a small town where he grew up. Over the Town is a celebration of their love and
 how they became unified as a couple once married.

That's how Chagall's fiance, Bella Goldenberg, remembered the elation of their engagement:

"I suddenly felt as if we were taking off. You too were poised on one leg, as if the little 
room could no longer contain you. You soar up to the ceiling. Your head turned down 
to me, and turned mine up to you... We flew over fields of flowers, shuttered houses,
 roofs, yards, churches."

Marc and Bella Chagall, 1920

They fell for each other in 1909 in Saint Petersburg. Bella Rosenfeld, who was a 
19-years-old daughter of a wealthy Russian jeweller, and Marc, seven years her 
senior, a painter still attending an art school.
They both said it was love at the first sight. Bella, who was to become 
a talented writer, described how Marc looked on their first encounter: 

"When you did catch a glimpse of his eyes, they were as blue as if they’d fallen 
straight out of the sky. They were strange eyes … long, almond-shaped … 
and each seemed to sail along by itself, like a little boat."

Marc Chagall, The Promenade, 1918

Marc Chagall wrote about this meeting in My Life, his autobiography: 

"Her silence is mine, her eyes mine. It is as if she knows everything about 
my childhood, my present, my future, as if she can see right through me."

Marc Chagall, Study for ‘The Birthday’, 1915
Marc Chagall, Birthday. 1915

In 1911, Marc left for Paris to study art from the leading artists of his day leaving Bella
 in Russia. However, he didn’t speak French and the beginnings were very tough as he

“felt like fleeing back to Russia, as he daydreamed while he painted, about the riches 
of Russian folklore, his Hasidic experiences, his family, and especially Bella”.

He stayed in Paris until 1914 when he couldn’t last any longer without his fiancée,
who was still in Vitebsk. He thought about her day and night, writes Baal-Teshuva,
the artist’s biographer. Chagall, afraid of losing Bella, accepted an invitation from an
art dealer in Berlin to exhibit his work because he wanted to later continue on to
Belarus and marry Bella, and then return with her to Paris.

Marc Chagall and his wife Bella Rosenfeld in his workshop in Paris, 1926

The next challenge was to convince Bella’s parents that he would be a suitable husband
 for their daughter. He had to demonstrate that despite being just a painter from a poor 
family he would be able to support her. They married in 1915 and Bella quickly 
became Marc’s primary muse who featured on his canvases for the rest of his life. 
In 1916 they had a daughter Ida but that didn’t stop Bella to begin acting as her 
husband’s  manager. After the end of the WWI, they moved to France where 
Chagall could spread his painterly wings.


André Kertész, Marc and Bella Chagall, Paris, 1929                              André Kertész, Marc Chagall, wife Bella, and daughter Ida

The years passed and the second world war broke out. With the help of their daughter,
 the Chagalls escaped to the States. Yet, suddenly, Bella died. She had a virus infection, 
which was not treated due to the wartime shortage of medicines. The grieving Chagall 
stopped all work for many months, and when he began again, his first pictures were 
concerned with preserving Bella’s memory. Moreover, he kept her notebook which 
he kept on illustrating for the next 20 years! He filled the blank pages with movingly 
colourful portraits of them both together.

Marc Chagall, Le Baiser Or Les Amoureux En Bleu, 1930


"Love and fantasy go hand in hand." 

 Marc Chagall


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