Monday, April 11, 2011

Ah, why did I ever pick up the golden feather of the Firebird?

Excerpt from The Firebird and Princess Vasilisa (

One day the huntsman went on his valiant horse to hunt in the woods. He rode and rode along the broad path, and suddenly he came upon a golden feather of the Firebird; it shone bright as a flame! The valiant horse said to him: "Take not the golden feather; if you take it, you will know trouble!"

Karsavina in L'Oiseau de Feu

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beauty in the Beast

There are several famous dualisms that have inspired the arts for centuries - the good over evil, love over death and ofcourse, beauty and the beast. What is beautiful is good, though its goodness is often threatened by the ugliness of evil. 

Peter-Paul Rubens, Susanna and the Elders, 17th c. 

Yet the contrast between the beautiful and ugly is not nearly as thrilling as the moment in which they clash into a singular form. Oscar Wilde was aware of this fine line when he penned his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, realising the role of art in creating this duality. Dorian Gray's portrait grows ugly as he retains his beauty but loses his soul.
"There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realise his conception of the beautiful"
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

I find one image that perfectly capture this incongruous moment. The swan. 

Photo by Ed Buziak

A swan is an unparalleled symbol of the ugliness, violence and cruelty of beauty. We are blind to beauty's ugly origins, its shallow unfeeling nature and to its cruel behavior. We do not see the beast in the beauty just as we do not see the sinews and deformities of a ballerina's body, yet without the other, neither would exist. Therein lies the art.

Photo by Michael Macor

Photo by Michael Macor

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love: the vain, the warm, the doomed and the accidental

Happy Valentine's Day - a day to contemplate the many guises of love and its' fleeting yet enduring nature.

Siena, Italy (c) Fotofilia

In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar Wai

Oxford, England (c) Fotofilia

Friday, December 24, 2010

La Notte

Firenze, Italia
December 2010
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010