Chambre Bleu painting

A Backward Glance on rue de Varenne

The narrow sidewalks push their black iron batons up out of the ground to protect the buildings hemming them; the rain turns the cobblestones to muted mirrors of damp light—I’m visiting her again on the anniversary of her 155th birthday, and it dawns on me that I’ve never seen the statuesque green door with its […]

Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting

A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled crown on a pillow festooned with gold fleurs-de-lis; and a red velvet tablecloth flowing downward, its gold trim cascading onto a floral rug. Sumptuousness at every turn. Painting in its […]

Gondoliers on the Grand Canal in Venice

Peggy Guggenheim Visits Oculus Gallery

In 2009, I trekked to Venice with my dear friend JoAnn Locktov, the founder of Bella Figura Publications whose newest book Dream of Venice Architecture has just debuted to acclaim. We spent several contented days wandering through the city’s museums—first the Punta della Dogana where Tadao Ando, who has written an essay for JoAnn’s latest […]

Michelangelo's homage to God and Adam

God’s Articulate Finger

Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel In this last entry of the year, I wanted to share a piece of my own creative writing to say ciao to 2015. I’ve chosen “Art:History” from Anywhere But Here, my first book of poetry published this year by Sharktooth Press. I was inspired to write the poem after studying […]

Whistler gilded the walnut latticework forming the shelves.

The Peacock Room à la Whistler

The most recognizable painting by artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler might lead you to believe he was as Puritan as his upbringing. The fact he could render such a realistic homage to piety in Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother)—better known as Whistler’s Mother—does seem to further the illusion […]

Judith Paul, Mixed-Media Artist

Judith Paul’s Cover Story

Before I made a definitive decision to carve out as close to a writer’s existence as I could, I exhibited as a stained glassed artist in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was a member of a gallery and active in AVA, the Association for Visual Arts. Just before I moved to New York City, […]

Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen smoking cigarettes at Cranbrook.

The End of an Era

Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again, and interesting, and modern. A voiceover of Don Draper reciting the lines leading this post while thumbing through a copy of Frank O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency bring one of my favorite episodes of Mad Men to a close. He’s […]

Study for plate XIV of the Différents vues de Pesto

Love Among the Ruins

How would it feel to spend your life so absorbed by crumbling architecture and disintegrating stone you could bring them vibrantly back to life with chalk and a pen? Giovanni Battista Piranesi knew, his talent for accuracy in imagining the details that flirted at the edge of the decaying world so astute he became the […]

Beautiful hand-painted majolica plate

Poetry and Ceramics in Savona

The 16th-century poetry that sprung from Savona made a strong impression on Thomas William Parsons when he found verses inscribed on a statue of the Madonna near the town’s lighthouse during a tour of Italy in the 19th century. He was so moved, the American poet penned the sonnet “Savona: Vespers on the Shore of the Mediterranean” that […]

Rolf Sachs Camera in Motion on Saxon Henry's blog

A Definition of Fleeting

“O nature, merciful and cruel mother, when do you have such power and such contrary wills, to make and unmake things so charming?” —Petrarch Petrarch, one of the best-known Italian poets of the Renaissance, built a legacy around the ephemeral emotion of grief. He once lamented that everything pleasing in the world was to him […]