December 18, 2018


Inferno, Botticelli

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December 18, 2018

“Florence had always had an affinity for the mystic and dreamy philosophy of Plato, while the colder and more practical philosophy of Aristotle had flourished in Padua, and other cities of the north.”

“The Renaissance of the fifteenth century was, in many things, great rather by what it designed than by what it achieved. Much which it aspired to do, and did but imperfectly or mistakenly, was accomplished in what is called the éclarissement of the eighteenth century.”

~ “The Renaissance: studies in art and poetry”, Walter Pater.


December 18, 2018

“So soon as he had attained to an adequate condition of freedom, he appears before us consummate and entire, complete in the ancient sense. […] But often the higher life is only possible at all, on condition of the selection of that in which one’s motive is native and strong; and this selection involves the renunciation of a crown reserved for others. Which is better? — to lay open a new sense, to initiate a new organ for the human spirit, or to cultivate many types of perfection up to a point which leaves us still beyond the range of their transforming power?”

“The Greek mind had advanced to a particular stage of self-reflection, but was careful not to pass beyond it.”

~ “The Renaissance: studies in art and poetry”, Walter Pater.


December 18, 2018

“Leonardo’s type of beauty is so exotic that it fascinates a larger number that it delights, and seems more than that of any other artist to reflect ideas and views and some scheme of the world within; so that he seemed to his contemporaries to be the possessor of some unsanctified and sacred wisdom. […] What his philosophy seems to have been most like is that of Paracelsus or Cardan. […] Through Leonardo’s strange veil of sight things reach him so; in no ordinary night or day, but as in faint light or eclipse, or in some brief interval of falling rain at daybreak, or through deep water.”

“Nervous, electric, faint always with some inexplicable faintness, these people seem to be subject to exceptional conditions, to feel powers at work in the common air unfelt by others, to become, as it were, the receptacle of them, and pass them on to us in a chain of secret influences. […] It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions.”

“The Mona Lisa is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her.”

“Sometimes this curiosity came in conflict with the desire of beauty; it tended to make him go too far below that outside of things in which art really begins and ends. […] The name of Goethe himself reminds one how great for the artist may be the danger of over-much science.”

~ “The Renaissance: studies in art and poetry”, Walter Pater.


December 18, 2018

In his ode “Pindarum quisquis studet aemulari”, Horace praises the inimitable Pindar as a swan lifted by a mighty wind, and then describes himself as a mere bee “laboriously harvesting thyme from numerous groves and banks”, and quietly making intricate poems.


December 18, 2018

“[…] a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.”
~ Wordsworth

“One soft sound through every sound
Of earth’s bright-coloured dream
Sustains its sound for him alone
Who secretly gives heed.”
~ Schlegel

“Even to mere matter a word is attached,
In obscure things may dwell a hidden God;
And like a nascent eye covered by its lid,
A pure spirit grows beneath the husk of stone!”
~ Nerval


December 17, 2018

“Everything written with vitality expresses that vitality; there are no dull subjects, only dull minds.” ~ R. Chandler.

“You, having a large and fruitful mind, should not so much labour what to speak as to find what to leave unspoken. Rich soils are often to be weeded.” ~ F. Bacon.

“For there is style there; one temper has shaped the whole; and everything that has style, that has been done as no other man or age could have done it, as it could never, for all our trying, be done again, has its true value and interest.”
~ “The Renaissance: studies in art and poetry”, Walter Pater.


October 28, 2018


October 27, 2018

“It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle — they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments.”
~ “An Introduction to Mathematics”, A.N. Whitehead.


October 27, 2018

“Nature is a language and every new fact one learns is a new word; but it is not a language taken to pieces and dead in the dictionary, but the language put together into a most significant and universal sense. I wish to learn this language, not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book that is written in that tongue.”
~ R.W. Emerson