Most weekday mornings I meet with my old artist dudes and we talk about art. You have to be there with some art history to enjoy the banter, and some current hands-on experience to really enjoy the experience. Just saying something like, “That looks like a Rockwell.” “No, what are you talking about?” “It’s the super-focused intensity of the person’s eyes that’s startling. Just one picture like this one and it seems natural to an event, but with decades of those focused eyes, like Rockwell did, and it becomes weird.” “ Ya, but he’s telling a story about what you should be interested in.” “I agree, but he also pulls in every person, even across the street, and even the dog, and even the doll is paying close attention to the action. That’s what makes it weird.”
We can go on like that for a couple of hours, and today was like that.
That scary pile of heavy books on my desk suddenly grew a bit more today when I started reading James Burke’s The Day The Universe Changed. The book is poorly documented and I had trouble finding his references to illustration sources, even with the help of Google. Fortunately, my live-in librarian Debbie came to the rescue and she found the beautiful full-page color picture on page 18, referenced only as “A 12th Century German illustration,” was in fact created by Hildegard of Bingen. The miracle doesn’t stop there, because once she knew that, the book Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works, with Letters and Songs, edited by Matthew Fox, was on my desk in minutes. We haven’t yet found the source of the beautiful picture only labeled, “A medieval manuscript miniature exalts the great book, St Augustine’s City of God.” There are hundreds of pictures that match that description online now.
I have so many books, I will be compelled to select what I am going to read. (It will be worse than usual.)