Words of Great Wisdom

I’d like to recognise the blogger of YA-ALLAH at  http://yallaah.wordpress.com for the following saying taken from the Quran; Sūra I.: Fātiḥa. 

I’m not religious myself but the sayings contain true gems of wisdom. This one is especially true because I’ve found in life it is people who have the least that give the most…

‘The greatest form of charity is the effort to help a poor man, made in secret by one who is poor himself’

If we all followed that edict the world would truly be a better place.


Leonardo Da Vinci and the Secret of the Mona Lisa Smile

More art from Jambo. And the unveiling of the secret of. ‘Hush’. Mona Lisa. You’ll like this, it’s an interactive post.

I’ve seen both paintings (yes there are  two Mona Lisa paintings, and it’s rumoured there is a third. All painted on blocks of wood)

And I experimented with the concept of ‘The Smile’. It’s been described as everything from ‘Enigmatic’ to ‘Wind’.

I probably discovered the secret by accident but I’m insecure enough to claim it was the end result of a studied methodology over many years. It actually was by accident and it took 3 hours.

This is a painting of my beloved. ‘La Rubio’.

Take a piece of paper and cover the left side of the face, then move the paper to cover the right side of the face. Try it a few times and see the effect.

The Mona Lisa Smile

The Mona Lisa Smile

OK. If you haven’t figured out what you’re looking at.

The face on the left hand side of the picture is happy, the face on the right hand side is sad. Put the two together and you get ‘The Mona Lisa Smile’.

Leonardo Da Vinci knew a thing or two about painting.

Opera and Contextualisation

All performance art is deepened by context – watching your favourite artist play a song as part of a bigger picture – say Live Aid, heightens the experience.

The more layers you add the deeper the contextualisation goes until the effect overwhelms the senses.

Opera is one art that overwhelms but is alien to most people on the planet. In most cases its too elitist at best and completely incomprehensible at worst.

But, if you understood what you were watching and listening to, it would transform your views on an art form that sits at the pinnacle of human experience. There is no greater or higher art form than opera.

Of course this is only my opinion, it cannot be anything but that. But, as I always ask, please indulge me for a moment and read these words before you click on the video.

The setting for this piece is Dresden. Dresden sits at the heart of European minds. Britain destroyed it one night, one terrible vengeful night. The opera is Madame Butterfly, it’s set in Nagasaki, the site of the second nuclear strike on Earth. Both of these contextual backgrounds set the scene.

The story is set in the early 20th Century where a US Navy Lieutenant called Pinkerton decides to marry a girl called Chiochio San (Chiochio is Japanese for butterfly). Although in Japan at that time  a marriage contract lasted for 99 years he knew that it had to be renewed each year.

Chiochio’s father, in the past, committed suppuku with a razor sent to him by the Mikado (the emperor) and she treasures it in a little box she carries. After her father’s death she became a geisha to support her family. And even now she is only 15 years old.

Pinkerton planned to dally with ‘Butterfly’ until he found a suitable American woman to marry. Needless to say it ends badly when he leaves then returns with an American wife to find that he has a son by Chiochio.

But that is going too far, let’s go back to the night where he declares his love for the girl and she gives herself to him.

To add further context the two artists are Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu who were married at the time of the recording but divorced soon after.

And so we have the faithless Pinkerton and the hapless Chiochio San…she sings, ‘love me with a little love’….

Puccini wrote an opera to break the heart.