Blogging through cotton. I remain extremely busy and am also already juggling book project offers for next year when I finish the projects I have on my plate. All good, but the last few days were intense.
These weblinks provided a fascinating break.
At The New York Times, a tale of art fraud. Bamboozling Ourselves is one of the most interesting things I have read in some time. a seven-part story of the Van Meegeren forgeries with extensive analysis and annotations. Look for the little page link forwards at the bottom of each installment. They are a hard to see. Or maybe I’m just tired.
How did he do it? Why did he do it? Newspapers reveal the thinking and confusions of their time, but they don’t necessarily provide answers. Was Van Meegeren a collaborator or an artist? Or both? And if he was a genius, what was his genius? His ability to trick people? Or was he able to trick people because he was an artist of genius? Who was Van Meegeren? A con man or Nazi? Did he forge paintings solely for monetary reward or was something more sinister involved?
From Part 7:
The strangeness of Van Meegeren’s life-style must have been striking. Holland had just suffered through the “Hunger-Winter” of 1944-5. More than 20,000 people died of starvation. There was incredible privation – the electricity and gas in Amsterdam had been off for months – but Van Meegeren was living in absurd luxury. He held wild, extravagant parties, overflowing with liquor, and jewels – women were encouraged to grab a handful of jewelry from a pile on their way out the door. Van Meegeren had even installed an ice rink in the basement of his mansion to entertain his guests.
The comments sections at more than 700 posts is also worth a read.
At Der Spiegel, Adolf Hitler’s fascination with art and conviction in his own artistic genius may have played into a 19th century belief that the artist is above morality.
Birgit Schwarz: In my opinion, people have underestimated the notion that Hitler considered himself an artist, in fact, an artistic genius, and that much can be deduced from this self-image, this overheated artist’s ego. However, this has hardly played a role in the research to date. That’s the starting point, from my perspective, because it can help us gain a better understanding of Hitler as a person, as well as his system of power. Hitler’s deluded view of himself as a genius is based on the confused system of thought emerging in the late 19th century, which centered on the idea that a genius — a strong personality who outshone everything else — could do anything and could do anything he pleased.
A essay on the way the personal lives of readers become wrapped around fictional characters:
Although we eventually learn to distinguish between the world of make-believe and the real world, I suspect that many of us continue to experience fictional characters and events as being, in some way, real. This is because the imaginative act of following a story involves a suspension of disbelief, as we enter into the world it creates. When Anthony Minghella showed me a moving scene that he had just filmed for the pilot of “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” I found myself weeping copiously, right there on the set. I felt rather embarrassed — it was only a story, after all — but he put a hand on my shoulder and said that was exactly what he had done over that particular scene.
The 1983 television series – globally the most watched mini-series of all time – is today as well remembered as the book.
The stars of that series, Richard Chamberlain as Father Ralph de Bricassart and Rachel Ward as Meggie, were adored by the viewing public. But not by the author.
‘It was instant vomit!’ she shrieks through a cloud of smoke. ‘Ward couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag and Chamberlain wandered about all wet and wide-eyed.
And on a personal note: every once in awhile, someone asks me how I have time to blog when I have all this work to do.
Blogging takes about a half hour a day. I enjoy reading interesting things on the web. I enjoy learning new things and sharing those things with others.
I can usually find a half hour a day for that.
And a friendly reminder: My ebay auctions continue. I hope you will find something you like.
Also, the rather more high end offerings at THIS POST remain. Many inquiries and offerings, but no sale yet! Scroll to the end of the post to see the goods.