Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Happy Birthday, George!

February 24, 2007

It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.

George Harrison

I heard The Beatles’ music for the first time in my life when I was 15 (too late, I guess), it was my neighbour who borrowed me the cassette, and I liked music so much that I did not return it for months. There are people who love Stones more, but I am not among them. Beatles will always remain my favourites; and though Paul and John are much more famous, still by far my favourite is the youngest among them, mr. George Harrison (1943-2001) – the “silent beatle” as he was called, due to being very introspective person.

Some people say that his birthday is on 25th February, but in Wikipedia article we can read that he was actually born on 24th February at 11:40pm. So, today is the day – Happy Birthday, George!

If my destiny was to become so famous I would want to have similar attitude as him. He always said that he wanted to be successful, not famous, and I feel that music was his instrument to search for deeper meaning in his life. Many other musicians unfortunately find drugs when they become famous, and when that fame is over, they take the needle, and they are finished. But George was not interested in fame, but he was all the time seeker for the true joy and fulness of life. I found this clip, it is interview with him and famous sitar player Ravi Shankar. There he speaks how he does not want to produce meaningless songs, but is interested in writing songs that have deep values and that can last through years. Such is for example his song All things must pass.

And I wrote before how much I like reading books. but I have to admit now, I especially like to read book written by people who were searching for the deeper meaning of their own life. I enjoy in diversity, I do not believe in uniformity. I even enjoyed reading Ayn Rand’s books very much, though I am completely of different temperament, and my life philosophy values are generally totally different. But you know what, when someone believes in what he or she writes, such books become very attractive to read. Complete sincerity in one’s deeds is always very attractive (do what you preach) in every philosophy, and in every religion.

Over the years I have read many books about different world religions and spiritual paths and systems of values, in Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism etc. and though some of such books sometimes can be dry and preachy, I very often found very nice ones from different cultures and backgrounds that literally lit my heart with divine love, while I was reading them. And one day, God willing, if I have enough money I will invest it in printing books that brought me so much joy. Books are not transitory as other world pleasures, and if they contain intense sincere inner cry in them, they are really something.

George was so selfless in that aspect, he gave much money for printing books, he even donated a temple in London. He could do drugs, or spend money on fancy cars or something, but he was so unlike many other music stars, and therefore I appreciate him so much. If some book brought me much joy (there are many like that, starting with Quo Vadis by Sienkiewicz, which was my introduction to deeper meaning of Christianity) I would like to print many of them in nice covers, so perhaps other people will also feel joy. That attitude gives me so much inspiration and hope for the future. I hope my dreams one day will come true, but that depends on me too! :)

In previous clip George explained why he likes to compose on Sanskrit verses, and I guess it was actually him who composed the music for Govindam Adi Purusham chant (although I am not sure, to be frank). Nevertheless, it is very nice chant, and I managed to find nice clip of it to post here.

George, thanks for everything, and thank you for being sincere seeker in your music art. It means much. It gives hope.


rediscovering autobiographies

February 8, 2007

palm IIIxe

“There is properly no history; only biography”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These days I have intense wish to read biographies and autobiographies. And I really wish to read about that golden period of history – XIX century. Impressionists were painting in France, and Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to write his diary there. Serbian inventor Michael Pupin went to USA and wrote to me very dear Pulitzer winning autobiography From Immigrant to Inventor, in which he portrays the true american spirit, and when you read that book you see how America was great country comparing to Europe then. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his immortal Essays, and believe me I am spending nights in reading his collected works, and I stand in awe in front of his language (I still don’t get it how could he wrote like that!) Who can write in such fiery words if not that philosopher poet from Boston, who wrote Self-Reliance – essay that became solid inspiration and foundation of my system of values. And there are poems of Emily Dickinson. And of course, we cannot avoid Nikola Tesla serbian poet-scientist who gave the world alternating currents. Many many interesting people were born in XIX century.

Now I know that books are expensive, and one is not always in mood to go to the library too. But that is why project Gutenberg is there. You can find ove 20000 free e-books there, and there is always top list of 100 books and authors if you are not sure what to read (I never paid too much attention to that top list so far, but it is nice to know it exists). Good thing is that Gutenberg library offers books in Plucker format, which is suitable for reading on your Palm device. I have prehistoric model, Palm IIIxe, with grey display and 8 MB of memory, but truth to be told, I like to read books on it. And I don’t like to read books on the computer screen (I do it only when I have to). Now I entered word biography in searchbox on Gutenberg site, and it gives me 90 results back (you can try to type memoirs too). So there will be a lot of good (and free reading) for me in next period.

If you have Palm but do not have Plucker, you can download it from here. From the list I chose autobiography of actress Sarah Bernhardt. I was reading first few chapters this morning, and I was very immersed in the story. And so far, I really enjoy reading it a lot. So I will provide link for it here:

My Double Life – The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt

If you know some good biography or autobiography that you have read and enjoyed it, kindly recommend it in comments please.

Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877

February 4, 2007

Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte painted this in 1877. No, it is not a photography. How did he manage to paint this rain water on cobblestone? I have no idea, I presume he watched very carefully all the colours. The painting is now located in the Art Institute of Chicago.

beautiful snowy evening

January 29, 2007

My sister and I went one fine day to buy a painting that is about Belgrade. Her good friend was getting married, and my sister wanted to buy a painting which will remind her friend of their student days (her friend is not living in Belgrade now). So we strolled thoroughout the galleries in the city, and when we almost saw everything, we found one nice painting and agreed to buy it for the present. But then I looked at the painting below that one, it was also oil on canvas – and I liked it so much. I spent I don’t know how much time persuading myself not to buy this one, we had to give money also for the other one. But I did not persuade myself. I went back home to the other part of city where I live, to take more money because we did not bring enough (who would have thought of buying two paintings at the same time), and I came back, I remember I was very tired, but I was happy when I bought it.

Painting shows Skadarlija, that is bohemian quarters of Belgrade, favourite place for artists, cobblestone promenade the same as it looked like hundred years ago. What is Montmartre for Paris, that is Skadarlija for Belgrade. If you plan to visit Belgrade, plan to visit Skadarlija too – spending evening there with your friends, listening to the music that used to be played in old days in the city (starogradska muzika) is unforgettable experience.

history – name for “once upon a time” future

January 22, 2007

When I was a little kid, I acted a bit strangely because I enjoyed to count numbers one, two, three and so on…everywhere, in home and outside. I remember that I managed to count till ten thousand about when turned six years old. And my father told me to write down numbers in one hardcover A4 notebook, in each new line – next number, and so I wrote about two thousand and something there. Here my father got interesting idea – he figgured that each line can represent one year in history starting from 1 AD until beyond 2000. So he explained to me that we will write down when some great scientist or artist or composer – some great person was born and when he died. And of course, we will write down if some important event happened. I liked the idea, and we started to do it. Perhaps it was my first seeing face to face with the fact that human life is transitory inside eternity, that there is time when one is born, and that there is time when one dies. I was drawing sign of little cross beside year in which someone died.

Later when I grew up enough to have history in school, to be very frank now, I was not interested in history at all. I just learned it to get good grade. And I always had best grade, I was learning like a parrot – and therefore now I know so little, I forgot it all. Is it important to learn history? What do you think? Let me hear some pros and cons in your comments.

First off, my opinion is that it is important to learn history of art. Can we allow ourselves the luxury of not knowing what was before and what after – Baroque or Rennaissance. It is our fellow humans who created that art – by learning that we will widen our horizons in certain way – we will get finer resolution of our perception. We are inheriting what generations before us created, in certain way, but we should not be attached to it – we should create now art of our time, as they created art of that time. It is very important to elaborate now on this a bit more.

So, I don’t wish to have rules from past how to create art now – save and except one – that art which I create has fulness. How can I know that? I can feel that. I am unable to judge others precisely, but myself – it is completely different story. For anything I created I know how much it fulfils me – I feel it to the slightest degree. If someone creates something because he just wants to have something new – I cannot see eye to eye with such person. Art has to be our most intimate dream. We have to give ourselves completely, and to feel that we have done so. Many times unfortunately, so called artists, are just offering confusion from their minds. No art for me – without the heart!

Frankly speaking, I am not well acquainted with history of art, no authority for it. I want to convey another message with this text – that I am ready and willing to learn. I will start there what I love most – Claude Monet’s Soleil levant (1873) and the Impressionists, and Claude Debyssy’s music, of course :)

As for general history, it is broader subject, and I will elaborate on it more in some of my next posts. And one more thing. I will start again to do what my father suggested. But this time I will write one year for one page in new book, and I will do it for the period since 1800 until now. Including music, visual art and science.

classical realism lessons

January 18, 2007

I found interesting web material on art lessons about classical realism. It is written by mr. Alexei L. Antonov, and at the very beginning of the text he says

If you are reading this, you’ve decided to learn more about Classical Realism technique painting. And the classical painting school is, first and foremost, discipline. This explains my categorical tone, but I do apologize for it.

Complete text you can read here.

Interesting fact to me is that he suggests listening to classical music only

Many painters get an energy charge from music. Stop listening to any modern music and begin listening only to classical music. Try to begin loving it.

I have to admit that 7 layers of painting is something completely new to me, but I kinda like it, and I wish to learn more. One day I would like to paint something in oil, and put that painting on the wall in my room. I still don’t know what, but city where I live – Belgrade – is full of sunshine, I always look it with special affection, my Belgrade is always very dear to me, so perhaps one day I will paint it on canvas. That is something I wished to do since I was little kid.

never give in

January 17, 2007

The speech was made 29 October 1941 to the boys at Churchill’s old public [private] school, Harrow–not Oxford or Cambridge:”Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

taken from Famous Quotations/Stories of Winston Churchill