japonisme: 6/17/07 - 6/24/07

22 June 2007

thirty six and four


Six and thirty times and hundred times
the painter tried to capture the mountain,
tore it up,

then pushed on again

(six and thirty times and hundred times)

to the incom- prehen- sible volca- noes,
blissful, full of temptation, without counsel,—
while the outlines of his glory
went on without coming to an end:

Fading a thousand times out of all the days,
nights without comparison from which
dropped, as if they were all too small;
each image at the moment it was needed,
increasing from figure to figure,
not partaking and far and without viewpoint—,
then suddenly knowing, as in a vision,
lifting itself up behind every crevice.

from: New Poems, the other part
translated from rilke: 'der berg,' which was inspired by hokusai's 'thirty-six views of mt fuji' of which 'the great wave' was one. also see an earlier version in the hokusai manga spread.

there is of course tintin, and the other is a 'colorized' very poor scan of a grey-scale illustration of 'the fisherman and his wife' in a german book 'japonismus und art nouveau,' of which i'd love to find a copy! i think i might need a new scanner....

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21 June 2007


"in 1919... models had their faces made-up in a new style that recalled japanese prints:

white powder, black kohl and mascara, thinly drawn eyebrows and heart-shaped deep-red mouths."1

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saturday evening girls again

rachel found a really
interesting article which
goes into this phenom- enon
in a far

more comprehensive
way than i did.

here are the images,
thumbnails anyway,
from the piece.


Opéra imaginaire - Madame Butterfly, Puccini


20 June 2007

reaching for the moon

Frank Sinatra Lyrics


(Irving Berlin)

[Recorded November 29, 1965, Hollywood]

The moon and you appear to be
so near and yet so far from me,

And here am I, on a night in June,
reaching for the moon and you.

I wonder if we'll ever meet,
my song of love is incomplete,

I'm just the words, looking for the tune, reaching for the moon and you.

[musical interlude]

I wonder if we'll ever meet,
my song of love is incomplete,

I'm just the words, looking for the tune, reaching for the moon and you.

The painting by Taikyu (died circa 1945) of a monkey reaching for the moon on the water also contains a tiny Enso with a larger theme:

The monkey seeks the moon in the water,

chasing after it ceaselessly until death.

If instead, it sinks its hand into the deep spring

the clear, pure moonlight will illume
the universe. 1

(image source)

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19 June 2007

what i learned from a shogun

i found myself thinking of an artist whose work i used to love, richard amsel, whose work often appeared on the cover of tv guide. of course, when i looked him up i saw that line again, the one that's with us still. was amsel aware of it? we'll never know.

some artists clearly recognize the japanese influence in their work; we've mentioned, already, kuniyoshi, steinlen and goines.

millions of artists work today are keeping that line alive. dominic bugatto recognizes it... but even he (sometimes) forgets. and come to think of it, given how little credit is paid the japanese for

their influence by so many people, think how many there must be who never knew it at all.

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17 June 2007

le bain

Gloire de Dijon
David Herbert Law- rence

When she rises in the morning
I linger to watch her;
She spreads the bath- cloth underneath
the window
And the sunbeams catch her
Glistening white on the shoulders,
While down her sides the mellow
Golden shadow glows as
She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts

full- blown yellow
Gloire de Dijon roses.

She drips herself with water, and her shoulders
Glisten as silver, they crumple up
Like wet and falling roses, and I listen

For the slui- cing of their

rain-dishevelled petals.
In the window full of sunlight
Concentrates her golden shadow
Fold on fold, until it glows as
Mellow as the glory roses.

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