longhi on antonello

virgin annunciate small

“It is the architectonic gesture of the Virgin which accomplishes the miracle, as she pulls at her mantle with her left hand so as to enclose herself in an absolute pyramid which turns, an unmoved mover, on a crystalline pivot, until is establishes before us the ideal axis which, etched in the fold on the forehead, runs down the protruding part of the face and descends past the closed edge of the drapery as far as the jutting corner of the pre-Dieu. But the right hand advances at an angle, to test cautiously the possible boundary of the pictorial space; having found it, it halts; while, counterbalancing it, the book slices the air with the sharp blade of its bright page. In the hollow within the column of the neck, there slowly settles the enclosed ovoid of the face, over which turn, as over a planet, broad diagrams of regular shadows.”

(Roberto Longhi, from “Piero dei Franceschi e la pittura veneziana”, quoted (and translated) by David Tabbat in his introduction to Three Studies, pp. xiii–xiv)

virgin annunciate detail small

laced

    {dag}1. Of a plant: Entwined with a climbing plant.

1533 ELYOT Cast. Helth III. v. (1541) 60b, Lased sauerie. 1551 TURNER Herbal 90 We call in england sauery that hath doder growinge on it, laced sauery: and tyme that hath the same, laced tyme. 1555 EDEN Decades 200 The herbe which we caule lased sauery. 1640 PARKINSON Theat. Bot. 1740.

    2. Of shoes, etc.: Made to be fastened or tightened with laces.

1676 WISEMAN Chirurg. Treat. I. xxiii. 124 A pair of laced Stockings. 1697 Lond. Gaz. No. 3275/4 One pair of new Laced Shooes. 1813 J. THOMSON Lect. Inflamm. 447 The laced stocking was much used, and is particularly recommended by Wiseman. 1874 T. HARDY Far from Madding Crowd viii, He wore breeches and the laced-up shoes called ankle-jacks.

    3. Ornamented or trimmed with lace:    a. with edgings, trimmings, or lappets of lace.    b. with braids or cords of gold or silver lace.

a. 1668 DAVENANT Man’s the Master II. i. Wks. 1874 V. 23, I left your lac’d linen drying on a line. 1673 E. BROWN Trav. Germ., etc. (1677) 112 Two Feather-Beds, with a neat laced sheet spread over. 1720 Lond. Gaz. No. 5881/3 A fine Valencia grounded laced Suit of Night Clothes. 1765 H. WALPOLE Vertue’s Anecd. Paint. (1786) III. 221 They are commonly distinguished by the fashion of that time, laced cravats. 1873 R. BROUGHTON Nancy I. 82 Mother bends her laced and feathered head in distant signal from the table top.
b. 1665 BOYLE Occas. Refl. V. v. (1848) 314 A Lac’d, or an Imbroider’d suit..would, now..make a Man look..like..a player. 1786 F. BURNEY Diary 12 Aug., We met..such superfine men in laced liveries, that we attempted not to question them. 1841 CATLIN N. Amer. Indians (1844) II. lv. 198 His coat..was a laced frock.

    4. Diversified with streaks of colour. Of birds: Having on the edge of the feathers a colour different from that of the general surface. Of a flower: Marked with streaks of colour.

1834 MUDIE Brit. Birds I. 74 The principal ones [fancy pigeons] are..the Jacobine, the Laced [etc.]. 1867 TEGETMEIER Pigeons xxiii. 177 Examples of very good laced Fan~tails. 1882 Garden 7 Oct. 312/2 The edged, tipped, or laced Dahlias require a good deal of shading. 1888 Poultry 27 July 377 Hen nicely laced on breast.

    {dag}5. laced mutton (slang): a strumpet. Obs.
  Mutton was used alone in the same sense. The adj. may mean ‘wearing a bodice’, possibly with a pun on the culinary sense LACE v. 8, though the latter is not recorded so early.

1578 WHETSTONE Prom. & Cass. I. iii. Biij, And I smealt, he lou’d lase mutton well. 1591 SHAKES. Two Gent. I. i. 102. 1599 N. BRETON Phisition’s Let., You may..eat of a little warm mutton, but take heede it be not Laced, for that is ill for a sicke body. 1607 R. C. tr. H. Stephen’s World of Wonders 167 The diuell take all those maried villains who are permitted to eate laced mutton their bellies full. 1694 MOTTEUX Rabelais iv. Prol. (1737) p. lxxxiii, With several coated Quails, and lac’d Mutton.

    6. Of a beverage: Mixed with a small quantity of spirits. (But see quot. a1700; also 1687 in LACE v. 9.)

1677 WYCHERLEY Pl. Dealer III. i, Prithee, captain, let’s go drink a dish of laced coffee, and talk of the times. a1700 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Lac’d Coffee, Sugar’d. 1712 ADDISON Spect. No. 317 {page}39 Mr. Nisby of opinion that laced Coffee is bad for the Head. 1819 Anderson’s Cumberld. Ball. 108 Set on kettle, Let aw teake six cups o’ leac’d tea. 1886 Illustr. Lond. News Summer No. 14/2 He took a sip at his laced coffee.

    7. Of the spokes of a bicycle: Set so as to cross one another near the hub.

1885 Cyclist 19 Aug. 1107/2, 52in. Rudge bicycle No. 1, laced spokes.

    {dag}8. laced stool: ? one made with a cane or rush seat, or one with a cloth seat stretched by cords.

1649 in Bury Wills (Camden) 212, I give vnto my daughter Anna..a greene chaire and foure laced stooles.

    9. laced valley (Building): a valley between the slopes of two adjoining roofs in which the end tile of each row abuts against a tile-and-a-half tile laid diagonally on the valley board.

1931 C. G. DOBSON Roof Tiling iii. 39 No lead is required in a laced valley. 1947 R. GREENHALGH Mod. Building Construction II. 582/2 Other methods..give swept and laced valleys.

    10. Comb., as laced-jacketed, -waistcoated adjs.

1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa Wks. 1883 VII. 495 A couple of brocaded or laced-waistcoated toupets. 1848 THACKERAY Van. Fair xlviii, The laced-jacketed band of the Life Guards.

the summer passes by

“A week earlier I’d returned from Paris where Roland Barthes had told me of a rather disturbing fact that had created a vague feeling of mental claustrophobia, like a feeling you can escape from. From the administration of the Collège de France where he was giving his delightful lectures, he had been sent a list of all the College’s professors, arranged according to the date of retirement. For one of them, extremely young, the retirement date was 2006.

—For me it’s the first time the twenty-first century has put in an appearance—was Barthes’ comment. And in his voice there was all of his habitual irony, yet a little sadness too, which he tried to hide as though the feelings were out of place.”

(Michelangelo Antonioni, “Report about myself” in That Bowling Alley on the Tiber, trans. William Arrowsmith, p. 96.)

morandi, more de chirico

(Giorgio Morandi, Still Life (The Blue Vase), 1920. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf.)


“As for Morandi, he has never been a metaphysical painter. The limit was reached when the prize for metaphysical painting was given unanimously, but probably through the insistence of the modernistologist Professors Roberto Longhi and Lionello Venturi, to their beloved Morandi. Now you, dear reader, if you want to realise the mentality and morality prevailing today in certain circles of modern art and modern culture, think on this fact: an official exhibition, organised in Italy with money from Italian taxpayers, includes the paintings of a very well-known Italian painter without even inviting him and without even informing him, going against all rules of good behaviour and all usual morality. This very well-known Italian painter, who has created a style or a genre, if you wish, of painting, a style or genre which belongs to him and only to him, is exhibited along with works of other painters described arbitrarily and tendentiously as metaphysical, one of whom, as I have said, did no more than plagiarise, while the other has nothing whatever to do with metaphysical painting. Then to cap everything a money prize was even instituted, this prize being given to the man whose paintings had nothing whatever to do with the metaphysical style. Think about it hard,, dear reader, and you will find it impossible to imagine anything more improper and shameless.”

(The Memoirs of Giorgio de Chirico, trans. Margaret Crosland, p. 186.)

de chirico on architectural monstrosities

“. . . . Then I look towards the west, towards Monte Mario and the dome of St Peter’s, then to the south-west where can be seen the outline of the chariot which supports the roof cornice on top of the Palace of Justice, the so called ‘ugly’ palace. I look farther south where I can see the upper part of the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, a monument which has always been very much criticised and spoken of ironically, like the Palace of Justice, but in comparison with the wretched things put up by certain modernist architects who proceed with their eyes fixed on the line of the horizon, such as Le Corbusier, Wright, Gropius and others, these two buildings, unlike the aberrations of certain modern architecture, are authentic masterpieces, worthy of a Bramante or a Brunelleschi.”

(Giorgio de Chirico, The Memoirs of Giorgio de Chirico, trans. Margaret Crosland, pp.163–164.)

the red robins

“Jill ran her fingers down the tough golden beard of history. It was fine being there, but she wished there had been boards on the floor. Professor Flint was late; it was already three o’clock. ‘Chow down!’ shouted the corporal, and all the men ran into the eating quarters. ‘Very tropical weather, Sergeant,’ said ‘Dutch,’ an unusual man who had been hanging around the camp a lot recently. The cord snapped, having suddenly come undone, and the hawsers slipped out onto the blue, frothy waters of Lake Superior.”

(first paragraph of Chapter 1 (“The Ring of Destiny”) of Kenneth Koch’s The Red Robins; p. 45 in his Collected Fiction.)

randomly, randomly

  • The Ecclesiastical Proust Archive is almost as nice as browsing Terrence Kilmartin’s Reader’s Guide to Remembrance of Things Past.
  • The Naumann Daughters of Dada show is very well documented, if the art isn’t, for the most part, quite as nice as one might hope. The best work there is that of Mina Loy, done in the 1950s, like this collaged piece, “Christ on a Clothesline”:
  • christ on a clothesline

    (There’s a higher resolution version at the NYTimes, though that’s cropped.)

  • And finally, bad phone pictures of the Toynbee tile on the west side of the intersection of 36th Street & Park Avenue:
  • west side of 36th + park

    toynbee tile