Parallels (Beckett)

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He spent ages adjusting the position of Billie Whitelaw’s hands on her upper arms, creating, whether he recognised it or not, a striking parallel with the picture of The Virgin of the Annunciation by Antonelle da Messina which had impressed him so much in the Alte Pinakotek in Munich forty years before. Yet while the face of the virgin is one of calmness and serenity, Beckett’s image is transformed into a tortured soul, her hands claw-like, her face full of pain and distress.

James Knowlson
Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett

Be Cautious

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Portrait in oil of the dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza by the painter Franz Wulfhagen (1624–1670) from Bremen, Germany. Created in 1664, probably commissioned by the scholar Johann Eberhard Schweling, the painting today is in private hands in France.

Portrait in oil of the dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza by the painter Franz Wulfhagen (1624–1670) from Bremen, Germany. Created in 1664, probably commissioned by the scholar Johann Eberhard Schweling, the painting today is in private hands in France.

Spinoza’s mother tongue was Spanish; he was a master of Hebrew and had an effective command of Portuguese and Dutch – perhaps also of French. However, none of those languages contained the wealth of scientific and philosophical argument that was contained in Latin, which language therefore became, for Spinoza, both the primary vehicle of his thought, and the symbol of his intellectual quest. In choosing the universal language of our culture, Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely. He chose a single word from that language for his device: caute — `be cautious’ – inscribed beneath a rose, the symbol of secrecy. For having chosen to write in a language that was so widely intelligible, he was compelled to hide what he had written.

From Roger Scruton’s Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction

Converging Territories: 22 – Lalla Essaydi

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Converging Territories: 22 (2004) - Lalla Essaydi

Converging Territories: 22 (2004) – Lalla Essaydi

It is obvious that while my photographs are expressions of my own personal history, they can also be taken as reflections on the life of Arab women in general. There are continuities, of course, within Arab culture, but I am uncomfortable thinking of myself as a representative of all Arab women. Art can only come from the heart of an individual artist, and I am much too aware of the range of traditions and laws among the different Arab nations to presume to speak for everyone. My work documents my own experience growing up as an Arab woman within Islamic culture seen now from a very different perspective. It is the story of my quest to find my own voice, the unique voice of an artist, not an attempt to present myself as a victim, which would deprive me of the very complexity I wish to express.

Many more stunning photographs on Lalla Essaydi’s site.

Lalla Essaydi’s Embellishments

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Lalla Essaydi - Bullets #5 (2009)

Lalla Essaydi - Les femmes du Maroc #10 (2005).

In her photographs of women covered with calligraphy, Lalla Essaydi focuses on how this Islamic art form has been made inaccessible to women, whereas the use of henna as a form of adornment is considered ‘women’s work’.

Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism