Πέμπτη, 31 Μαΐου 2012

Orpheus


 Antigone, by Sophocles

"Surrounded by the light of torches, he stands high on the twin summits of Parnassus, while the Corycian nymphs dance around as Bacchantes, and the waters of Castalia sound from the depths below. Up there in the snow and winter darkness Dionysus rules in the long night, while troops of maenads swarm around him, himself the choir leader for the dance of the stars and quick of hearing for every sound in the waster of the night."




                                                          Maenads by Gustave Doré



Maenads and Orpheus

Orpheus was a mythical Greek poet and musician. To Orpheus is attributed the application of music to the worship of the gods. Apollo presented him with his lyre, and the Muses instructed him to use it, so that he moved not the beasts only, but the woods and rocks with its melody. The son of Apollo and a Muse (possibly Calliope), he married Eurydice, who died from the bite of a snake. Orpheus went down to Hades to bring her back. His music so moved the infernal deities Pluto and Proserpine that they consented to her return to earth on condition that Orpheus walk ahead of her without looking back. He did look back and Eurydice was irretrievably lost. In his grief, he offended the maenad women of Thrace, and was torn to pieces by them.





Orpheus and Eurydice by Auguste Rodin




 -1 -

Tree arising! O pure ascendance!
Orpheus Sings! Towering tree within the ear!
Everywhere stillness, yet in this abeyance:
seeds of change and new beginnings near.

Creatures of silence emerged from the clear
unfettered forest, from dens, from lairs.
Not from shyness, this silence of theirs;
nor from any hint of fear,

simply from listening. Brutal shriek and roar
dwindled in their hearts. Where stood a mere
hut to house the passions of the ear,

constructed of longing darkly drear,
haphazardly wrought from front to rear,
you built them a temple at listening's core.

-2 -

Something akin to a maiden strayed
from this marriage of song and string,
glowing radiant through veils of spring;
inside my ear a bed she laid.

And there she slept. Her dream was my domain:
the trees which enchanted me; vistas vast
and nearly touchable; meadows of a vernal cast
and every wondrous joy my heart could claim.

She dreamed the world. Singing God, how made
you that primordial repose so sound she never
felt a need to waken? Upon arising she fell straight to dream.

Where is her death? O, will you yet discover her theme
before your song is eclipsed forever? --
Abandoning me, where does she go?--something akin to a maid-

-3 -

Gods are able. Tell how a man, though,
could possibly thread the lyre's narrow modes?
Vacillating at the heart's dark crossroads,
he beholds no temple of Apollo.

Song, you teach us, is beyond achievable desire,
it is rather the sheer reality of immanent being:
simplicity itself for deity,
but how may we partake? When will you inspire

our being, bestowing earth and stars by turn?
This has no relation, youth, to your enamored care:
mouth forced wide by the thrust of your voice - learn

to set aside impassioned music. It will end.
True singing breaths a different air.
Air without object. A gust within God. A wind.



                                                Hermes Orpheus and Eurydice 5th Century BC





You walked in front of me,
pulling me back out
to the green light that had once
grown fangs and killed me.

I was obedient, but
numb, like an arm
gone to sleep; the return
to time was not my choice.

By then I was used to silence.
Though something stretched between us
like a whisper, like a rope:
my former name,
drawn tight.
You had your old leash
with you, love you might call it,
and your flesh voice.

Before your eyes you held steady
the image of what you wanted
me to become: living again.
It was this hope of yours that kept me following.

I was your hallucination, listening
and floral, and you were singing me:
already new skin was forming on me
within the luminous misty shroud
of my other body; already
there was dirt on my hands and I was thirsty.

I could see only the outline
of your head and shoulders,
black against the cave mouth,
and so could not see your face
at all, when you turned

and called to me because you had
already lost me. The last
I saw of you was a dark oval.
Though I knew how this failure
would hurt you, I had to fold like a gray moth and let go.

You could not believe I was more than your echo.




Orpheus and Eurydice by Arno Becker 





The death of Orpheus

      While the poet of Thrace, with songs like these, drew to himself the trees, the souls of wild beasts, and the stones that followed him, see, how the frenzied Ciconian women, their breasts covered with animal skins, spy Orpheus from a hilltop, as he matches songs to the sounding strings. One of them, her hair scattered to the light breeze, called: ‘Behold, behold, this is the one who scorns us!’ and hurled her spear at the face of Apollo’s poet, as he was singing. Tipped with leaves, it marked him, without wounding. 

The next missile was a stone, that, thrown through the air, was itself overpowered by the harmony of voice and lyre, and fell at his feet, as though it were begging forgiveness for its mad audacity. But in fact the mindless attack mounted, without restraint, and mad fury ruled. 

All their missiles would have been frustrated by his song, but the huge clamour of the Berecyntian flutes of broken horn, the drums, and the breast-beating and howls of the Bacchantes, drowned the sound of the lyre. Then, finally, the stones grew red, with the blood of the poet, to whom they were deaf.



The transformation of the Maenads

      However, the god, Lyaeus, did not allow such wickedness by his followers to go unpunished. Grieved by the loss of the poet of his sacred rites, he immediately fastened down, with twisted roots, all the Thracian women who had seen the sin, since the path, that each one was on at that moment, gripped their toes and forced the tips into the solid ground.

As a bird, when it is caught in a snare, set by a cunning wild-fowler, and feels itself held, tightens the knot by its movement, beating and flapping; so each of the women, planted, stuck fast, terrified, tried uselessly to run.

But the pliant roots held her, and checked her, struggling. When she looked for where her toenails, toes and feet were, she saw the wood spreading over the curve of her leg, and, trying to strike her thighs with grieving hands, she beat on oak: her breasts turned to oak: her shoulders were oak. You would have thought the jointed arms were real branches, and your thought would not have been wrong.





Τετάρτη, 16 Μαΐου 2012

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)


I have to stay alone in order to fully contemplate and feel nature.
Caspar David Friedrich


Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 - May 7, 1840) was a landscape painter of the nineteenth-century German Romantic movement, of which he is now considered the most important painter. A painter and draftsman, Friedrich is best known for his later allegorical landscapes, which feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees, and Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey the spiritual experiences of life....more



                                                                      The wanderer above the mists


                                                                             On the sailing boat


                                                                              view of Harbour


                                                                                 Greifwald Harbour


                                                                   man and woman contemplating the moon


                                                         seashore with shipwreck by Moonlight


                                                                                 the cemetery gate


                                                                          chalk cliffs on Rügen


                                                                                      moonrise by the sea


                                                                                          self-portrait


source : http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/f/friedric/index.html
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/caspar-david-friedrich-winter-landscape



Art & Poetry artaumonde.blogspot.com