Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

 

bookshelves: art-forms, summer-2014, published-2014, nonfiction, italy, radio-4

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from August 11 to 15, 2014

 

BOTW

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04d1c48

Description: A genius immortalised her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre. Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story.

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered – a blend of biography, history, and memoir – truly is a book of discovery about the world’s most recognised face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting.

Who was she, this ordinary woman who rose to such extraordinary fame? Why did the most renowned painter of her time choose her as his model? What became of her? And why does her smile enchant us still?

The author, Dianne Hales, is a prize-winning, widely published journalist and author. The President of Italy awarded her an honorary knighthood in recognition of her internationally bestselling book, La Bella Lingua.

Abridged by Eileen Horne
Reader: Nancy Crane
Producer: Clive Brill
A Brill production for BBC Radio 4.

1/5 Who was the real Mona Lisa? And why did Leonardo paint her? Dianne Hales investigates.

2/5 Dianne Hales delves into the history of Mona Lisa’s ancestors to understand her character.

3/5 Mona Lisa is born into a turbulent era, just as an artistic star from Vinci is on the rise

4/5 As Leonardo delights the court of Milan, Florence is changing beyond all recognition

5/5 Leonardo returns to Florence and Francesco del Giocondo commissions a portrait of his wife

Nothing new to the table yet adequate as a primer.

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The Miniaturist

bookshelves: summer-2014, published-2014, historical-fiction, dutch, art-forms, fradio, glbt, arch, overwrought, empty, next

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 11 to August 02, 2014

 

Lookedinto-decidedagainst: ‘This has to be one over the most over-hyped debut novels I have ever read’: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

Well, the above was written before Laura gave the heads up that it is BABT next week so I will give it a whirl. Will my initial verdict be the correct one? Emilia Fox narrating is one enormous plus point!

BABT

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04b3tyw

Description: On a cold autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of the Dutch East India Company’s most successful merchant trader : Johannes Brandt. But her lavishly furnished new home is not welcoming, and its inhabitants seem preoccupied with their own secrets. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office which leaves Nella isolated in the grand house on the canal with his sister, the sharp-tongued Marin and Otto and Cornelia their servants as company.

Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist, an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny and intricate creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways.

But as she starts to receive unexpected and unasked for items for her ‘toy house’ Nella becomes aware that the Brandt household contains unusual secrets and she begins to understand – and fear- the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society conformity is all. Neighbours are encouraged to spy on each other, excavating ‘the canker’ of sin. The packages from the mysterious miniaturist begin to reveal chillingly prophetic objects but Nella remains at a loss as to what they all mean.

Dutch dollhouse from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

1/10 Amsterdam, 1686: Nella is welcomed into married life with a strange and lavish present.

2/10 Nella continues to wonder when her husband is going to consummate their marriage.

3/10 The unlooked for package from the miniaturist has unnerved Nella, but she can’t help but be seduced by the intricate craftsmanship.

4/10 Rejected by her husband, Nella continues to feel alone in the city.

5/10 Nella decides to pay a visit to her husband at the offices of the Dutch East India Company

6/10 While Johannes is in Venice, an unwelcome visitor arrives at the Brandt household.

7/10 Nella discovers Marin’s secret, but does she fully understand its implications?

8/10 With Johannes under arrest, Nella must do what she can to sell the sugar before it rots.

9/10 The burgomasters of Amsterdam are determined to uphold their city’s god-fearing reputation

10/10 Nella bids her husband farewell and welcomes the new arrival.

my musical interpretation

Couldn’t for one minute buy into this, however it made pleasant listening and I’m sure that is not how Ms Burton wanted it. C’est la vie, cher sucre!

Ooo – only the two doll’s houses and both of those are for this production and narrator.

A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard, Alice Provensen (Illustrator), Martin Provensen (Illustrator)

bookshelves: published-1981, summer-2014, art-forms, poetry, kiddlewinks, paper-read

Read on July 31, 2014

 

Description: Inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, this delightful collection of poetry for children brings to life Blake’s imaginary inn and its unusual guests.

Perfect example of a nursery book in the mode of Lear and Carroll. Beautiful images and fun poems and although it would not be fair to copy over complete entries, I shall give you a snippet of my favourite:

THE MAN IN THE MARMALADE HAT ARRIVES

The man in the marmalade hat
arrived in the middle of March,
equipped with a bottle of starch
to straighten the bends in the road, he said.
He carried a bucket and mop.
A most incommodious load, he said,
and he asked for a room at the top.

Now all I need is a grandchild.

Lovely fayre so I went through twice.

Haphazard House by Mary Wesley

bookshelves: under-50-ratings, kiddlewinks, play-dramatisation, published-1983, radio-4x, art-forms, summer-2014, britain-england, families, fradio, games-people-play, gambling, amusing, adventure, ghosties-ghoulies, devon

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: R4x
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 04 to 22, 2014

 

R4x

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b048ndny

Description: When eleven-year-old Lisa Fuller and her younger brother Josh buy a house in the country with their winnings from a horse race, their whole family encounters strange and wonderful chaos in their new home.

Episode 1:Impoverished and desperate, Pa Fuller’s reckless bet and acquisition of a panama hat changes all. Starring James Nickerson.

Episode 2: The Fullers and friends move into their new abode and soon find it a source of joy and ominous mystery.

The Fullers and friends are imperilled and beguiled in equal measure, as well as adrift in time.

‘If you want to get ahead, get a hat’, runs the adage, and in this story runs along with the idea that Papa’s new Panama is magic. This story was long before the Potteresque choosing hat. Charming story. Three hattips.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

bookshelves: summer-2014, published-2013, young-adult, suicide, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, skoolzy-stuff, recreational-homicide, art-forms, games-people-play, fraudio, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: B&B (do it for the crumpets)
Read from June 26 to 27, 2014

 

http://www.audiobooksync.com/free-syn…

By Matthew Quick
Read by Noah Galvin
Published by Hachette Audio

Description: Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him.

“Leonard Peacock is a complicated character, and narrator Noah Galvin quickly conveys his disturbing emotions.”
– AudioFile Magazine

Matisse the Master: The Conquest of Colour, 1909-1954

bookshelves: published-2005, under-500-ratings, radio-4x, summer-2014, biography, art-forms, nonfiction

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 13 to 20, 2014


R4x

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0076r2v

Description: “If my story were ever to be written down truthfully from start to finish, it would amaze everyone,” wrote Henri Matisse. It is hard to believe today that Matisse, whose exhibitions draw huge crowds worldwide, was once almost universally reviled and ridiculed. His response was neither to protest nor to retreat; he simply pushed on from one innovation to the next, and left the world to draw its own conclusions. Unfortunately, these were generally false and often damaging. Throughout his life and afterward people fantasized about his models and circulated baseless fabrications about his private life.

Fifty years after his death, Matisse the Master (the second half of the biography that began with the acclaimed The Unknown Matisse) shows us the painter as he saw himself. With unprecedented and unrestricted access to his voluminous family correspondence, and other new material in private archives, Hilary Spurling documents a lifetime of desperation and self-doubt exacerbated by Matisse’s attempts to counteract the violence and disruption of the twentieth century in paintings that now seem effortlessly serene, radiant, and stable.
Here for the first time is the truth about Matisse’s models, especially two Russians: his pupil Olga Meerson and the extraordinary Lydia Delectorskaya, who became his studio manager, secretary, and companion in the last two decades of his life.
But every woman who played an important part in Matisse’s life was remarkable in her own right, not least his beloved daughter Marguerite, whose honesty and courage surmounted all ordeals, including interrogation and torture by the Gestapo in the Second World War.

If you have ever wondered how anyone with such a tame public image as Matisse could have painted such rich, powerful, mysteriously moving pictures, let alone produced the radical cut-paper and stained-glass inventions of his last years, here is the answer. They were made by the real Matisse, whose true story has been written down at last from start to finish by his first biographer, Hilary Spurling.

Episode 1: 1909, and Henri Matisse’s critics call his paintings monstrous. Can he find support? Eleanor Bron reads.

Episode 2: 1914, and with his family scattered across France, Matisse expresses the horror and uncertainty of the First World War in his art.

Episode 3: 1930, and Henri Matisse’s painting is dramatically influenced by his visits to New York and Tahiti.

Episode 4: 1938, and now in his 60s, Henri Matisse’s art must endure personal upheaval as war looms.

Episode 5: Post-1945, Matisse applies his extraordinary scissor and paper technique to the design of the interior of the chapel at Vence.

4* Matisse the Master: The Conquest of Colour, 1909-1954
4* Pearl Buck in China

The Legs of Izolda Morgan by Bruno Jasieński

bookshelves: shortstory-shortstories-novellas, essays, poland, politics, art-forms, philosophy, war, satire, translation

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: biblioklept
Read from May 16 to June 05, 2014

 

Description: Considered the enfant terrible of the Polish avant-garde, lauded by critics and scorned by the public, Bruno Jasieński suddenly declared the end of Futurism in Poland soon after his short “novel” The Legs of Izolda Morgan, appeared in 1923. An extraordinary example of Futurist prose, this fantastic tale explores how the machine has supplanted the human while the human body is disaggregated into fetishized constituent parts. As one of the central texts in Jasieński’s oeuvre, it is situated between two seminal manifestoes and the important essay “Polish Futurism,” which signaled the movement’s end in the context of its confused reception in Poland, the towering influence of Mayakovsky, and what set it apart from the futurisms in Italy and Russia. The condensed story “Keys” shows Jasieński’s turn toward satire to lambaste the pervasive hypocrisies of powerful institutions, and this is further developed in the two longer grotesques from his time in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Translated into English from the Russian for the first time, these two late stories expose the nefarious absurdity of racial persecution and warmongering and the lengths social and political structures will go to underpin them.

1: To the Polish Nation: A Manifesto on the Immediate Futurization of Life Krakow April 20th 1921

Stanisław Brzozowski, 1878-1911. A Polish philosopher, writer, publicist, literary and theatre critic. He is considered to be one of the most important Polish philosophers of all time and is known for his concept of the ‘philosophy of labour’.

Wawel Hill

Stanisław Przybyszewski,1868–1927. A Polish novelist, dramatist, and poet of the decadent naturalistic school. In 1896 he was arrested in Berlin for the murder of his common-law wife Martha, but released after it was determined that she had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2: Nife in the Gutt: 2nd Phuturist Pamflet Essay Krakow 1921.

3: Exposé Essay

4: The Legs of Izolda Morgan
Well, this is quite a grotesque Luddite story. The villain of the piece is machinery and the opposition is the human body, which can be deconsructed to suit the fetish of another.

5: Polish Furturism: An Accounting Essay

6: Keys Opens out with a 600 year old weather-beaten crucifix hanging in a niche near a vestible entrance.

7: The Nose: Satire on Nazi Eugenics.

8: The Chief Culprit First World War story. There is a moment in this where the concept of those returning from hospital to the front were more often killed straight away. Are there stats to back this up? What is that saying about things? Could it be that the return to normality takes the stuffing out of the bravura needed to maintain edge at the frontline.

Thanks to Don for sharing this book with me via a kindle library loan, the second of such kind actions. I was pleased to have a stab at this, however a mixed bag garners mixed reception. I had little time for the essays however the short stories were interesting, especially the re-vamping of Gogol’s ‘The Nose’ into a frame of Nazi Eugenics against the Jews.

** Interesting link sent through from Miss M: Polish Cultural Institute