Doom

Some very interesting designs for a Holocaust Museum in London.  This one is my favorite — the sense of something vastly dangerous and beyond individual control*:

akzh-holocaust

Rory Stott, “10 Shortlisted Designs for London Holocaust Memorial Revealed,” Arch Daily (Jan. 17, 2017) [link].

Though not, of course beyond individual action: “…and yet, in the end, did Klara Hitler’s sickly son ever fire a gun? One hollow, hateful little man. One last awful thought: all the harm he ever did was done for him by others.” Mary Doria Russell, A Thread of Grace (2005).

Silence & Beauty

9780830844593-194x300I am very much looking forward to reading  Makoto Fujimura‘s Silence and Beauty, which is described as using Shusako Endo’s Silence as a starting place for consideration of issues of suffering and faith.  Fujimura is a painter of great power and a believer.  I taught Endo’s book several times in my World Lit class.

I will let you know.

Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell, it seems to me, has a gift for conjuring a story-illusion, seducing the reader into the narrative, and then dropping the reader out of the dream abruptly.  I find myself initially frustrated (” . . . but I wanted to know what was going to happen to that character!  I liked her and I want to . . . .”).  Then within 2-3 pages, he has drawn me into the next dream.  He is very, very skilled at this.

Cloud Atlas (2004) wraps back on itself in a chiastic structure which is fun to sketch:

Cloud Atlas

The structures of Ghostwritten, The Bone Clocks, and Slade House are unique, but Mitchell displays his maddening, enthralling, wonderful gift in each of them.

Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.

Rembrandt at sea

MatthewWhen Rembrandt painted, he (more than occasionally) placed himself in the picture as a literal witness to the events.*  When I was studying for Matthew class, I noticed that Rembrandt placed himself in “Christ in the Storm” (Rembrandt is in the pink beret, holding a rope, looking out at us):

1.  Rembrandt, “Christ in the Storm” (1632) (stolen from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1990) (1):

Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee detail detail 2

The nose is a dead giveaway!

2.  Rembrandt, Self portrait (1629) (private collection) (2)

self-portrait-in-a-gorget

3.  Rembrandt, Self portrait (1630) (Stockholm, Nationalmuseum) (3)

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4.  Rembrandt, Self portrait (1630) (4)

Br011SelfPortrait1630Stockholm

*For me, it was Francis Schaeffer who first pointed this out in How Should We Then Live? (1976): “Rembrandt had flaws in his life . . . but he was a true Christian; he believed in the death of Christ for him personally.  In 1633 he painted the Raising of the Cross . . . .  A man in a blue painter’s beret raises Christ upon the cross.  That man is Rembrandt himself — a self-portrait.  He thus stated for all the world to see that his sins had sent Christ to the cross.”