From Sappho Onwards

Couple saphique allongé, Auguste Rodin, c. 1897

Rodin’s fascination for Sapphic couples, which he shared with Toulouse-Lautrec, Charles Baudelaire, Pierre Louÿs, Paul Verlaine and his predecessor Gustave Courbet, was evident in several of his drawings.

 

“I am sorry to have to ask you to allow me to mention what everybody declares unmentionable. My justification shall be that we may presently be saddled with the moral responsibility for monstrously severe punishments inflicted not only on persons who have corrupted children, but on others whose conduct, however nasty and ridiculous, has been perfectly within their admitted rights as individuals. To a fully occupied person in normal health, with due opportunities for a healthy social enjoyment, the mere idea of the subject of the threatened prosecutions is so expressively disagreeable as to appear unnatural. But everybody does not find it so. There are among us highly respected citizens who have been expelled from public schools for giving effect to the contrary opinion; and there are hundreds of others who might have been expelled on the same ground had they been found out. Greek philosophers, otherwise of unquestioned virtue, have differed with us on the point. So have soldiers, sailors, convicts, and in fact members of all communities deprived of intercourse with women. A whole series of Balzac’s novels turns upon attachments formed by galley slaves for one another – attachments which are represented as redeeming them from utter savagery. Women, from Sappho onwards, have shown that this appetite is not confined to one sex. Now, I do not believe myself to be the only man in England acquainted with these facts. I strongly protest against any journalist writing, as nine out of ten are at this moment dipping their pens to write, as if he had never heard of such things except as vague and sinister rumors concerning the most corrupt phases in the decadence of Babylon, Greece & Rome. I appeal now to the champions of individual rights to join me in a protest against a law by which two adult men can be sentenced to twenty years penal servitude for a private act, freely consented to & desired by both, which concerns themselves alone. There is absolutely no justification for the law except the old theological one of making the secular arm the instrument of God’s vengeance. It is a survival from that discarded system with its stonings and burnings; and it survives because it is so unpleasant that men are loath to meddle with it even with the object of getting rid of it, lest they should be suspected of acting in their personal interest. We are now free to face with the evil of our relic of Inquisition law, and of the moral cowardice, which prevents our getting rid of it. For my own part, I protest against the principle of the law under which the warrants have been issued; and I hope that no attempt will be made to enforce its outrageous penalties in the case of adult men.”

 

George Bernard Shaw

Letter sent  to an editor of a Newspaper

1889

 

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The Symbol of All Creation

“The hand of Rodin worked not as the hand of a sculptor works, but as the work of Elan Vital. The Hand of God is his own hand.”
George Bernard Shaw

 

Pierre and Jacques de Wissant, Right Hand, Auguste Rodin, 1885-86

 

Rodin worked on the hands of certain Burghers of Calais separately so as to heighten their power of expression. Although he used the same left and right hands for the two brothers, Pierre and Jacques de Wissant, the effect obtained on each figure was very different. Pierre de Wissant’s right hand sweeps the gesture upwards, as a sign of abnegation. Jacques de Wissant’s hand is drawn back towards his face, implying doubt and questioning. Isolated from the figure, the hand forms a work in its own right, not just a mere study or fragment.

 

The Hand of God, designed in 1898

 

When Rodin decided to show it standing upright on a wooden plinth, he turned it into an independent exhibit, with a value all of its own. This is also the hand Rodin would use in The Hand of God , placing inside it the tiny figures of Adam and Eve who seem to emerge out of the dust. This work became the symbol of all creation.

Pushing the Button

“I always wanted to draw and paint. I had no literary ambition: I aspired to be a Michael Angelo, not a Shakespear (sic). But I could not draw well enough to satisfy myself; and the instruction I could get was worse than useless. So when dry plates and push buttons came into the market I bought a box camera and began pushing the button”

George Bernard Shaw
(Reply to Helmut Gernsheim as to why he had taken up photography)

 

Self-portrait (young man) in Chair, George Bernard Shaw, c. 1904

A Number of Miracles

“While he (Rodin) worked, he achieved a number of miracles. At the end of the first fifteen minutes, after having given a simple idea of the human form to the block of clay, he produced by the action of his thumb a bust so living that I would have taken it away with me to relieve the sculptor of any further work.”

George Bernard Shaw

 

Crowds queue in Paris to see Rodin's sculpture The Thinker in 1904 in another snap from Shaw's private photo collectionCrowds queue in Paris to see Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker in 1904. Photo by George Bernard Shaw

The Photographers’ Best Model

“It is impossible to contemplate the Salon walls without condoling with Mr. Steichen on the conflict between art and popular prudery. The camera can represent flesh so superbly that, if I dared, I would never photograph a figure without asking that figure to take it clothes off. I delight in mankind as nature makes it, and take such a moderate interest in mere garments that my tailor…has..had to change his name to avoid the public discredit of my callous abuse of his masterpieces….”

George Bernard Shaw
Amateur Photographer
(16 October 1902)

 

Photographed portrait of George Bernard Shaw by Edward J. Steichen, 1907

 

Sophisticated by Success

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”

George Bernard Shaw

 


Frontispiece portraits of George Bernard Shaw after the bust by Rodin. Photographed portraits by Frederick H. Evans and Alvin Langdon Coburn. The front free endpaper inscribed “From Max Beerbohm for Holbrook Jackson 1908.”

The portraits of Bernard Shaw having been humorously altered in black ink and captioned Max Beerbohn. Beerbohm’s alterations to the portraits transform Shaw into an increasingly demonic figure and are captioned as follows: the frontispiece (after Rodin), “- showing how little, really, one nation can understand another”; the first portrait (unattributed), “awaiting the bugle call of life”; the second portrait (by Frederick H. Evans), “sophisticated* by success”; the third portrait (by Alvin Langdon Coburn), “the last Phase.” Included in the lot is a second, unaltered, copy of the same book.

 

*In Ancient Greece, σοφία (sophia) was the special insight of poets and prophets. This then became the wisdom of philosophers such as sophists. But their use of rhetoric to win arguments gave sophistication a derogatory quality.

Managed to Impress

“A few days ago Rodin began the portrait of one of your most remarkable authors, which promises to become something quite extraordinary…”

Letter of Rainer Maria Rilke,
April 9th, 1906.

 

Bust of Sir George Bernard Shaw by Auguste Rodin

 

The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw managed to impress the young Rainer Maria Rilke merely by sitting before the former poet’s idol and master, Auguste Rodin. “He stands excellently,” Rilke gushed in his letters, “with an energy in his keeping still and with such an absolute giving of himself to the hands of the sculptor.” Rainer, though a background figure at the time, and positively Lilliputian in reputation compared to the eminence of Shaw and Rodin, practically flung himself headlong into their graces. That’s not to suggest that he was sycophantic; merely, naturally, that this young Bohemian wanderer was excited to find himself in orbit with two of the century’s greatest minds and hands. “This personality of Shaw’s,” Rilke continues in his letter, “and his whole manner makes me desirous of reading a few more of his books … would sending me a few of his books be justified if I say that I am hoping to write a little thing about him?”

 

Rodin photographed by George Bernard Shaw

 

“Rodin had no interests outside his art,” Shaw later said. “He was the most painstaking sculptor I have ever met. I gave something like thirty sittings, in as many consecutive days, at his studio in Meudon. Rodin took a large number of profiles, adjusting my face by a fraction of an inch for each—spinning my head round by degrees. He took an immense number of measurements and made so many pencil marks on the clay that he used up three pencils before the sittings were over … Somewhere near the thirtieth day I asked him when the bust would be finished. ‘Finished?’ he said in surprise; ‘why, I have hardly begun!’”

“Yesterday,” Rilke wrote in a letter dated April 19th, “he seated Shaw in a cunning little child’s armchair (that ironic and by no means uncongenial scoffer was greatly entertained by all this) and cut off the head of the bust with a wire.” Rilke added that, rather than being perturbed by the sight of his effigy being cut into pieces, “Shaw, whom the bust was already remarkably like, in a superior sort of way, watched this decapitation with indescribable joy.”

 

“Rodin was a passionate collector of pebbles. He would go out to the beach, or into the street, and pick up any pebble presenting in his imagination a resemblance to human features. He also collected large pieces of rock, and for the same reason. At first he accommodated these treasures in glass cases in his own house, then, when the collection grew too big for that, he rented a separate building for them. It was a sign of the highest favour on the part of Rodin to present someone with one such pebble or piece of rock.”
~ George Bernard Shaw.

 

Shaw continued: “From the clay model he made two casts, one in marble and one in bronze. The bronze one is in my possession, while the marble one is in Dublin. For some unfathomable reason my friends and admirers have covered this marble bust with their pencilled signatures.”

Of Shaw, Rilke concluded that he “is a man who has a very good way of getting along with life, of putting himself into harmony with it … Proud of his works, like Wilde or Whistler, but without their pretentiousness, proud as a dog is proud of his master.”

You Who Never Arrived

Rainer Maria Rilke photographed by George Bernard Shaw, 1906

 

DU IM VORAUS VERLORNE GELIEBTE

 

Du im Voraus
verlorne Geliebte, Nimmergekommene,
nicht weiß ich, welche Töne dir lieb sind.
Nicht mehr versuch ich, dich, wenn das Kommende wogt,
zu erkennen. Alle die großen
Bilder in mir, im Fernen erfahrene Landschaft,
Städte und Türme und Brücken und un-
vermutete Wendungen der Wege
und das Gewaltige jener von Göttern
einst durchwachsenen Länder:
steigt zur Bedeutung in mir
deiner, Entgehende, an.
Ach, die Gärten bist du,
ach, ich sah sie mit solcher
Hoffnung. Ein offenes Fenster
im Landhaus -, und du tratest beinahe
mir nachdenklich heran. Gassen fand ich, –
du warst sie gerade gegangen,
und die Spiegel manchmal der Läden der Händler
waren noch schwindlich von dir und gaben erschrocken
mein zu plötzliches Bild. – Wer weiß, ob derselbe
Vogel nicht hinklang durch uns
gestern, einzeln, im Abend?

Rainer Maria Rilke

1913-14

Paris

 

_________________________________________

 

“You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening… “

Translation by Stephen Mitchell

A Combination of High Thinking and Vegeterianism

“Though we have hundreds of photographs of [Charles] Dickens and [Richard] Wagner, we see nothing of them except the suits of clothes with their heads sticking out; and what is the use of that?”

“I’ve posed nude for a photographer in the manner of Rodin’s Thinker, but I merely looked constipated.”

George Bernard Shaw

 

Alvin Langdon Coburn’s photograph of George Bernard Shaw posing as The Thinker

 

When the photograph was exhibited in the London Salon in 1906, newspaper articles questioned: “The face, the beard, the neck, and the hands are undoubtedly the sole property of Mr. George Bernard Shaw, but we have no authentic knowledge of the rest of the Shavian frame, and the study of the anatomy shows more muscular development than some people would expect of a combination of high thinking and vegetarianism.”

Chanel on Stage

 
 

Coco is a 1969 musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by André Previn, inspired by the life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. It starred Katharine Hepburn in her only stage musical.

Theatre producer Frederick Brisson originally had optioned Chanel’s life for his wife Rosalind Russell, but Russell had developed acute arthritis, making it difficult for her to function. That meant another leading lady with star quality needed to be found. Irene Selznick suggested Katharine Hepburn, who initially scoffed at the idea of appearing in a musical but agreed to work with former MGM vocal coach Roger Edens for ten days. Following an audition in Selznick’s suite at The Pierre Hotel, Hepburn felt comfortable enough to mull seriously the proposition, and was further convinced to accept the offer after meeting Chanel.

 
 

 
 

Set between early autumn of 1953 and late spring of 1954, fashion designer Coco Chanel, after fifteen years of retirement, decides to return to the world of Haute Couture and reopen her Paris salon. With her new collection derided by the critics, she faces bankruptcy until buyers from four major American department stores – Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Best & Company, and Ohrbach’s – place orders with her. She becomes involved with the love life of one of her models, and flashbacks utilizing filmed sequences recall her own past romantic flings. Adding humor to the proceedings is a highly stereotypical rude gay designer who tries to impede Chanel’s success. The finale is a fashion show featuring actual Chanel designs from 1918 to 1959.

 
 

Photo by Cecil Beaton

Cecil Beaton confessed that he simply copied Chanel’s designs instead of interpreting them for the stage, they would have looked like something from a thrift store. Nevertheless, Beaton won a Tony award for Best Costume Design in 1970.

Dachshunds Lovers

Queen Victoria

 

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Queen Elizabeth II. Photo by Terry O’Neill, 1992

 

English composer Benjamin Britten and “Clytie”.

In this photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh, Britten is shown holding a dachshund and looking towards the score from his opera Gloriana (1953) which was written for the coronation of Elizabeth II. According to Karsh “the dog demanded to become part of the picture”.

 

Yousuf Karsh and “Jacques”

 

Abraham Lincoln

 

John F. Kennedy, Lem Billings and Dunker, Den Haag, The Netherlands, 1937

 

Lee Radziwill and Andy Warhol with his dog, Archie. Photo by Ron Galella, Montauk, 1973

 

Andy Warhol and Archie

 

Lou Reed

 

Christa Päffgen a.k.a. Nico. Photo: Mark Shaw for Life Magazine

 

Adele and “Louie”, named after Louis Armstrong

 

Cole Porter

 

George Harrison

 

Vincente Minelli and Katharine Hepburn playing with George Cukor’s pet

 

Grace Coddington

 

Juliette Gréco. Photo by Robert Doisneau

 

Elizabeth Taylor

 

Clint Eastwood

 

Marlon Brando

 

Ginger Rogers

 

Marilyn Monroe

 

Carole Lombard

 

Joan Crawford

 

Brigitte Bardot

 

Liv Ullmann

 

 Brooke Shields

 

Jacques Cousteau, his wife and “Scaphandrier”

 

David Hockney with Stanley and Boodgie

 

picaPablo Picasso and Lump. Photographer David Douglas Duncan published a book of Picasso’s pictures along his pet, which was titled A Dachshund’s Odyssey

 

The gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter House, a 450-acre estate restored by Edwin Lutyens. Awarded in 1979 the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest horticultural accolade, Lloyd was the best informed, liveliest and most innovative gardening writer of our times.

 

Within the Wall Garden of Great Dixter is a terrace, with a pebble mosaic of Christopher Lloyd’s two beloved dachshunds, Dahlia and Canna. The stones for Canna’s eye and nose were acquired from Derek Jarman’s rock-garden, at Prospect Cottage, in Dungeness.

Stardust

Stardust is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish. Carmichael first recorded the song, originally titled “Star Dust”, at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana. It is “a song about a song about love”, and it’s played in an idiosyncratic melody in medium tempo. It became an American standard, and is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, with over 1,500 total recordings.

According to Carmichael, the inspiration for Stardust came to him while he was on the campus of his alma mater, Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. He began whistling the tune then rushed to the Book Nook, a popular student hangout, and started composing. He worked to refine the melody over the course of the next several months, likely in Bloomington or Indianapolis (sources cite various locations, and Carmichael himself liked to embellish the facts about the song’s origins).

Isham Jones‘s recording became the first of many hit versions of the tune. Young baritone sensation Bing Crosby released a version in 1931, and by the following year, over two dozen bands had recorded Stardust. It was then covered by almost every prominent band of that era. Versions have been recorded by Artie Shaw, Billy Butterfield, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, (on the 1956 album Dave Brubeck Quartet) Tommy Dorsey, Tex Beneke with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Jan Garber, Fumio Nanri, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole (considered by many to be the best), Mel Tormé, Connie Francis, Jean Sablon, Keely Smith, Terumasa Hino, Harry Connick Jr, Hank Crawford, Ella Fitzgerald, Olavi Virta, The Peanuts, Django Reinhardt, Barry Manilow, Art Tatum, John Coltrane, Earl Grant, Willie Nelson, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, George Benson, Mina, Ken Hirai, Al Hirt, and many others.

 
 

Stardust, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1983

 
 

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you

When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
Ah but that was long ago
Now my consolation is in the stardust of a song

Beside the garden wall
When stars are bright, you are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
Of paradise where roses grew

Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain

 

To listen to Nat King Cole and John Coltrane´s versions of this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

The Sculptor of Images

Originally published on February 11, 2013

 
 

Self-Portrait. Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)

 
 

“On the stormy New Year’s Eve of 1925, the liner Versailles reached Halifax from Beirut. After a voyage of twenty-nine days, her most excited passenger in the steerage class must have been a seventeen-year-old Armenian boy who spoke little French, and less English. I was that boy.

My first glimpse of the New World on a steely cold, sunny winter day was the Halifax wharf, covered with snow. I could not yet begin to imagine the infinite promise of this new land. For the moment, it was enough to find myself safe, the massacres, torture, and heartbreak of Armenia behind me. I had no money and little schooling, but I had an uncle, my mother’s brother, who was waiting for me and recognized me from a crude family snapshot as I stepped from the gangplank. George Nakash, whom I had not seen before, sponsored me as an immigrant, guaranteed that I would not be a “public charge,” and traveled all the way from his home in Sherbrooke, Quebec, for our meeting — the first of his many great kindnesses.

We went up from the dock to the station in a taxi, the likes of which I had never seen — a sleigh-taxi drawn by horses. The bells on their harnesses never stopped jingling; the bells of the city rang joyously to mark a new year. The sparkling decorations on the windows of shops and houses, the laughing crowds — for me it was an unbelievable fantasy come true. On the two-day journey to my uncle’s home, I marveled at the vast distances. The train stalled in a deep snowdrift; we ran out of food; this situation, at least, was no novelty for me.

I was born in Mardin, Armenia, on December 23, 1908, of Armenian parents. My father could neither read nor write, but had exquisite taste. He traveled to distant lands to buy and sell rare and beautiful things — furniture, rugs, spices. My mother was an educated woman, a rarity in those days, and was extremely well read, particularly in her beloved Bible. Of their three living children, I was the eldest. My brothers Malak and Jamil, today in Canada and the United States, were born in Armenia. My youngest brother, Salim, born later in Aleppo, Syria, alone escaped the persecution soon to reach its climax in our birthplace.

It was the bitterest of ironies that Mardin, whose tiers of rising buildings were said to resemble the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and whose succulent fruits convinced its inhabitants it was the original Garden of Eden, should have been the scene of the Turkish atrocities against the Armenians in 1915. Cruelty and torture were everywhere; nevertheless, life had to go on — albeit fearfully — all the while. Ruthless and hideous persecution and illness form part of my earliest memories: taking food parcels to two beloved uncles torn from their homes, cast into prison for no reason, and later thrown alive into a well to perish; the severe typhus epidemic in which my sister died, in spite of my mother’s gentle nursing. My recollections of those days comprise a strange mixture of blood and beauty, of persecution and peace.

I remember finding brief solace in my young cousin relating her Thousand and One Nights tales of fantastic ships and voyages and faraway people, and always, solace in the example of my mother, who taught me not to hate, even as the oppression continued.

One day, I returned from school, my forehead bleeding. I had been stoned by Turkish boys who tried to take away my only playthings, a few marbles. “Wait,” I told my mother defiantly, “from now on I am the one who will carry stones.” My mother took me in her arms and said, “My son, they do not know what they are doing. However, if you must retaliate — be sure you miss!”

My mother’s generosity, strength, and hope sustained our family. She took into our home a young Armenian girl, shared our few morsels of food with her, and encouraged her to use her hands instead of her eyes, which had been cruelly mutilated. My mother herself seemed tireless. She had to go every day to the distant mountain spring which was the one source of water for the whole community. Allowed only one small pail, she would wait patiently in line for hours to get enough water for her children. Running water, to me, is still a great blessing.

In 1922, our family was allowed to flee. We had to leave our doors open — with us we took no baggage, only our lives. And we had to flee on foot. During our month-long journey with a Bedouin and Kurdish caravan, which would have taken only two days by the forbidden train, my parents lost every valuable they had managed to save. My father’s last silver coin went to rescue me after I was caught foolishly making a sketch of piled-up human bones and skulls, the last bitter landmark of my country.

In the safety of Aleppo, Syria, my father painstakingly tried to rebuild our lives. Only those who have seen their savings and possessions of a lifetime destroyed can understand how great were the spiritual resources upon which my father must have drawn. Despite the continual struggle, day after day, he somehow found the means to send me to my Uncle Nakash, and to a continent then to me no more than a vague space on a schoolboy’s map.

Uncle Nakash was a photographer of established reputation, still a bachelor when I went to live with him, and a man of generous heart. If my first day at Sherbrooke High School proved a dilemma for the teachers—in what grade did one place a seventeen-year-old Armenian boy who spoke no English, who wanted to be a doctor, and who came armed only with good manners? — the school was for me a haven where I found my first friends. They not only played with me instead of stoning me, but allowed me to keep the marbles I had won. My formal education was over almost before it began, but the warmth of my reception made me love my adopted land.

I roamed the fields and woods around Sherbrooke every weekend with a small camera, one of my uncle’s many gifts. I developed the pictures myself and showed them to him for criticism. I am sure they had no merit, but I was learning, and Uncle Nakash was a valuable and patient critic.

It was with this camera that I scored my first photographic success. I photographed a landscape with children playing and gave it to a classmate as a Christmas gift. Secretly, he entered it in a contest. To my amazement, it won first prize, the then munificent sum of fifty dollars. I gave ten dollars to my friend and happily sent the rest to my parents in Aleppo, the first money I could send to them.

Shortly afterward my uncle arranged my apprenticeship with his friend John H. Garo of Boston, a fellow Armenian, who was recognized as the outstanding portraitist in the eastern states. Garo was a wise counselor; he encouraged me to attend evening classes in art and to study the work of the great masters, especially Rembrandt and Velázquez. Although I never learned to paint, or to make even a fair drawing, I learned about lighting, design, and composition. At the Public Library, which was my other home in Boston, I became a voracious reader in the humanities and began to appreciate the greater dimensions of photography.

My interest lay in the personalities that influenced all our lives, rather than merely in portraiture. Fostered by Garo’s teachings, I was yearning for adventure, to express myself, to experiment in photography. With all my possessions packed in two suitcases, I moved to Ottawa. In the capital of Canada, a crossroads of world travel, I hoped I would have the opportunity to photograph its leading figures and many foreign international visitors.

My life had been enriched by meeting many remarkable personalities on this photographic odyssey, the first of many, to record those men and women who leave their mark on our era. It would set a pattern of working away from my studio. Any room in the world where I could set up my portable lights and camera—from Buckingham Palace to a Zulu kraal, from miniature Zen Buddhist temples in Japan to the splendid Renaissance chambers of the Vatican — would become my studio.”

 
 

Tennessee Williams

 
 

Wystan Hugh Auden

 
 

Albert Camus

 
 

Sir George Bernard Shaw

 
 

Ernest Hemingway

 
 

Vladimir Nabokov

 
 

Sir John Buchan, Governor of Canada

 
 

Jacques Cousteau

 
 

Martin Luther King Jr.

 
 

Muhammad Ali

 
 

Nelson Mandela

 
 

Albert Einstein

 
 

Jackie & John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 
 

Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

 
 

Rainier III Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco & Princess Grace Kelly

 
 

Audrey Hepburn & Mel Ferrer

 
 

Humphrey Bogart

 
 

Lauren Bacall

 
 

Audrey Hepburn

 
 

Grace Kelly

 
 

Anita Ekberg

 
 

Ana Magnani

 
 

Brigitte Bardot

 
 

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier

 
 

Elizabeth Taylor

 
 

Joan Crawford

 
 

Sophia Loren with her son Edoardo

 
 

Martha Graham

 
 

Alberto Giacometti

 
 

Max Ernst

 
 

Alexander Calder

 
 

Isamu Noguchi

 
 

Josef Albers

 
 

Henry Moore

 
 

Man Ray

 
 

Joan Miró

 
 

Andy Warhol

 
 

Georgia O´Keeffe

 
 

Pablo Picasso

 
 

Norman Rockwell

 
 

Walt Disney

 
 

Frank Lloyd Wright

 
 

Mies van der Rohe

 
 

Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (Le Corbusier)

 
 

Alfred Hitchcock

 
 

Christian Dior

A Life in the Theatre

‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.’

William Shakespeare

As You Like It

 
 

 
 

Music wakes us. Music makes us see the hidden, join the broken. Look and listen. See the flowers, how they ray their redness, whiteness, silverness and blue.

 
 

 
 

We act different parts; but are the same.

 
 

 
 

Books are the mirrors of the soul

 
 

 
 

She liked to leave a theatre knowing exactly what was meant…

 
 

 
 

They never pulled the curtains till it was too dark to see, nor shut the windows till it was too cold. Why shut out the day before it was over? The flowers were still bright; the birds chirped. You could see more in the evening often when nothing interrupted, when there was no fish to order, no telephone to answer. Mrs. Swithin stopped by the great picture of Venice–school of Canaletto. Possibly in the hood of the gondola there was a little figure–a woman, veiled; or a man?

 
 

Kate Moss photographed by Bruce Weber and styled by Joe McKenna. Vogue Italia. October 1996.

 
 

Then the curtain rose. They spoke.

Virginia Woolf

“Between the Acts”

“Punctuation is: Pretty Much Everything”

“The stop point out, with truth, the time of pause
A sentence doth require at ev’ry clause.
At ev’ry comma, stop while one you count;
At semicolon, two is the amount;
A colon doth require the time of three;
The period four, as learned men agree”

Cecil Hartley

 
 

“On the page, punctuation performs its grammatical function, but in the mind of the reader it does more than that. It tells the reader how to hum the tune.”

Lynn Truss

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

 
 

Punctuation is historically an aid to reading aloud (vis George Bernard Shaw). Quite so, punctuation marks are symbols that indicate the structure and organization of written language, as well as intonation and pauses to be observed when reading aloud. The rules of punctuation vary with language, location, register and time and are constantly evolving. Certain aspects of punctuation are stylistic and are thus the author’s (or editor’s) choice.

 

In 2010, photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin collaborated with artists M/M Paris (an art and design partnership consisting of Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag) on a series of collages featuring various celebrities as punctuation marks as part of their Pretty Much Everything retrospective.

 
 

Asterisk ( * )

 
 

From Greek: ἀστερίσκος, asteriskos, “little star”. The asterisk  is a typographical symbol or glyph derived from the need of the printers of family trees in feudal times for a symbol to indicate date of birth. This symbol is used to call out a footnote, especially when there is only one on the page. Less commonly, multiple asterisks are used to denote different footnotes on a page (i.e., *, **, ***). Typically, an asterisk is positioned after a word or phrase and preceding its accompanying footnote. Asterisks are sometimes used as an alternative to typographical bullets to indicate items of a list. Asterisks are sometimes used as an alternative to typographical bullets to indicate items of a list.

 
 

Lewis Carroll‘s looking-glass world is divided into sections by brooks or streams, with the crossing of each brook usually signifying a notable change in the scene and action of the story: the brooks represent the divisions between squares on the chessboard, and Alice’s crossing of them signifies advancing of her piece one square. Most editions of the book visually represent the crossings by breaking the text with several lines of asterisks ( * * * ).

 
 

Björk

 
 

Slash ( / )

 
 

The slash goes back to the days of ancient Rome. In the early modern period, in the Fraktur script, which was widespread through Europe in the Middle Ages, one slash (/) represented a comma, while two slashes (//) represented a dash. The two slashes eventually evolved into a sign similar to the equals sign (=), then being further simplified to a single dash or hyphen (–). Is a sign used as a punctuation mark and for various other purposes. It is often called a forward slash (a retronym used to distinguish the slash from the backslash, “\”), and many other alternative names. The slash is most commonly used as the word substitute for “or” which indicates a choice (often mutually-exclusive) is present. The slash is also used to indicate a line break when quoting multiple lines from a poem, play, or headline; or in an ordinary prose quotation, the start of a new paragraph.

 
 

Vanessa Redgrave

 
 

Period ( . )

 
 

A full stop (British English, Hiberno-English, Australian English, and New Zealand English) or period (American English and Canadian English) is the punctuation mark placed to indicate the end of sentences. In the context of web addresses and computing in general, it is typically called a dot. In conversation, as opposed to linguistics, the term is often used to mean “the end of the matter” (for example, “We are calling a full stop to discussions on this subject” or “We will not do it. Period!”).

 

The full stop symbol derives from Aristophanes of Byzantium who invented the system of punctuation where the height of placement of a dot on the line determined its meaning. The high dot (˙) was called a “periodos” and indicated a finished thought or sentence, the middle dot (·) was called a “kolon” and indicated part of a complete thought, while the low dot (.) was called a “telia” and also indicated part of a complete thought.

 
 

Mickey Rourke

 
 

Comma ( )

 
 

Is used in many contexts and languages, principally for separating things. It has the same shape as an apostrophe or single closing quotation mark in many typefaces, but it differs from them in being placed on the baseline of the text. Some typefaces render it as a small line, slightly curved or straight but inclined from the vertical, or with the appearance of a small, filled-in number 9. It is used to separate parts of a sentence such as clauses and lists of three or more things.

 
 

In the 3rd century BC, Aristophanes of Byzantium invented a system of single dots (distinctiones) that separated verses (colometry), and indicated the amount of breath needed to complete each fragment of text, when reading aloud.

 
 

Jim Jarmusch

 
 

Open bracket ( (  )

 
 

Close bracket ( ) )

 
 

Brackets are tall punctuation marks used in matched pairs within text, to set apart or interject other text. Used unqualified, brackets refer to different types of brackets in different parts of the world and in different contexts. Erasmus of Rotterdam coined the term lunula to refer to the rounded parentheses (), recalling the round shape of the moon.

 
 

Bill Murray

 
 

Open guillemets ( « )

 
 

Also called angle quotes or French quotation marks, are polylines, pointed as if arrows (« or »), sometimes forming a complementary set of punctuation marks used as a form of quotation mark. They are used in a number of languages to indicate speech. They resemble (but are not the same as) the symbols for lesser than (<), greater than (>), and for left and right bit shifts in some programming languages, as well as rewind and fast forward on various media players, such as VCRs, DVD players, and MP3 players. The word is a diminutive of the French name Guillaume (the equivalent of which in English is William), after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume Le Bé (1525–98).

 
 

Daniel Day-Lewis

 
 

Colon ( : )

 
 

The colon is a punctuation mark consisting of two equally sized dots centered on the same vertical line.English colon is from Latin colon (plural cola), itself from Greek κῶλον “limb, member, portion”, in rhetoric or prosody especially a part or section of a sentence or a rhythmical period of an utterance. In palaeography, a colon is a clause or group of clauses written as a line. Use of the : symbol to mark the discontinuity of a grammatical construction, or a pause of a length intermediate between that of a semicolon and that of a period, was introduced in English orthography around 1600.

 
 

Mia Farrow photographed for a Gap Ad

 
 

Semicolon ( ; )

 
 

It is a punctuation mark with several uses. The Italian printer Aldus Manutius the Elder established the practice of using the semicolon to separate words of opposed meaning and to indicate interdependent statements. Modern uses of the semicolon relate either to the listing of items or to the linking of related clauses. A semicolon is used when a sentence could have been ended, but it wasn’t.

 
 

Juliette Binoche

 
 

Exclamation ( ! )

 
 

The exclamation mark is a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume (shouting), and often marks the end of a sentence. One theory of its origin is that it was a Latin exclamation of joy (io), written with the I above the o. The exclamation mark was first introduced into English printing in the 15th century, and was called the “sign of admiration or exclamation” or the “note of admiration” until the mid-17th century;  admiration referred to its Latin sense of wonderment.

 
 

Clint Eastwood

 
 

Question mark ( ? )

 
 

Also known as an interrogation point, interrogation mark, question point, query, or eroteme), is a punctuation mark that replaces the full stop (period) at the end of an interrogative sentence in English and many other languages. The question mark is not used for indirect questions. The question mark character is also often used in place of missing or unknown data.

 

The symbol is sometimes thought to originate from the Latin quaestiō (that is, qvaestio), meaning “question”, which was abbreviated during the Middle Ages to qo. The lowercase q was written above the lowercase o, and this mark was transformed into the modern symbol. However, evidence of the actual use of the Q-over-o notation in medieval manuscripts is lacking; if anything, medieval forms of the upper component seem to be evolving towards the q-shape rather than away from it.

 
 

Natalie Portman

 
 

Ampersand ( & )

 
 

It’s a logogram representing the conjunction word “and”. This symbol is a ligature of the letters et, Latin for “and”. The word ampersand is a corruption of the phrase “and (&) per se and”, meaning “and (the symbol &) intrinsically (is the word) and”. In film credits for stories, screenplays, etc., & indicates a closer collaboration than and.