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Showing posts from May, 2015

Baby Olga

Baby Olga took a gulp of air before letting out another scream. It was a wintry morning and the window was wide open. Cool, crispy air rushed into her lung like that fizzy drink she was fed one afternoon, which was exciting at first but later kept her up all night gagging, insofar as she could’ve been suffocated had it not been her mother, who was thus stirred awake and alarmed enough to call the doctor. Olga coughed a little, and felt her lung expanded and filled with cold breeze. Imagining her mouth as a bottomless hole, she contrived from the depth a primordial, blood-curdling noise. The result was a howl that was instantaneous and possessive of enough volume, akin to that of a newborn lion awakening to the horrifying sense of existence. She continued the screaming and awaited the imminent success, whilst timing in her head about how long before her mother would be alerted and came bustling. 1…2…3...her high register was suddenly caught short, followed by a succession of violent co…

Charles Gleyre, Lost Illusions

Amongst many of his reflective musings, the narrator of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time once meditates on the eternal majesty of the moon. Conceiving of a wane moon in an afternoon sky as an actress who, not wanting to attract notice, dresses in ordinary clothes and mingles with the audience as she watches a play from the wing, the narrator marvels at the ineffaceable beauty of nature that, even in its most obscure and lustreless state, one is hard not to notice its reigning presence, shimmering from afar. He is thus reminded of a landscape painting by Charles Gleyre, in which the figures are silhouetted against a sky illumined by a silver sickle.
A composite of realism in methods and mysticism in themes is what characterises Gleyre’s individual style. Having travelled extensively for some time the countries of eastern Mediterranean, there runs through his paintings a streak of oriental influence that conveys an ennobling quality of numinousness. Lost Illusions (1865-67) depicts a visi…