El Alma Dormida

Stanzas about the Death of his Father by Jorge Manrique

OH let the soul her slumbers break,
Let thought be quickened, and awake;
Awake to see
How soon this life is past and gone,
And death comes softly stealing on,
How silently!

Swiftly our pleasures glide away,
Our hearts recall the distant day
With many sighs;
The moments that are speeding fast
We heed not, but the past,—the past,
More highly prize.

El alma dormida (1981) Saavedra Fotografía Cristina García Rodero.

El Alma Dormida (The Sleeping Soul) is a photograph taken by Cristina Garcia Rodero in 1981 in Savedra, Spain. As Garcia Rodero was traveling around the country photographing Spanish festivals and traditions, she came across this little girl singing and jumping in front of the cemetery and quickly pulled out her camera. Now the moment is immortalized in this mysterious photograph. The title is inspired by the poem Coplas por la Muerte de su Padre by Jorge Manrique


The Skull Beneath the Skin

The skull beneath the skin John Stezaker's Mask XIII 2006

Mask XIII. John Stezaker. 2006


Instructions on How to Wind a Watch

By Julio Cortazar

Death stands there in the background, but don’t be afraid. Hold the watch down with one hand, take the stem in two fingers, and rotate it smoothly. Now another installment of time opens, trees spread their leaves, boats run races, like a fan time continues filling with itself, and from that burgeon the air, the breezes of earth, the shadow of a woman, the sweet smell of bread.

What did you expect, what more do you want? Quickly. strap it to your wrist, let it tick away in freedom, imitate it greedily. Fear will rust all the rubies, everything that could happen to it and was forgotten is about to corrode the watch’s veins, cankering the cold blood and its tiny rubies. And death is there in  the background, we must run to arrive beforehand and understand it’s already unimportant.

Graciela Iturbide4

Graciela Iturbide

 

 


Some Roses and their Phantoms

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Some Roses and their Phantoms. Dorothea Tanning. 1952.

Here some roses from a very different garden sit?, lie?, stand?, gasp, dream?, die? – on white linen. They may serve you tea or coffee. As I saw them take shape on the canvas I was amazed by their solemn colors and their quiet mystery that called for – seemed to demand – some sort of phantoms. So I tried to give them their phantoms and their still-lifeness. Did I succeed? Clearly they are not going to tell me, but the white linen gave me a good feeling as if I had folded it myself, then opened it on the table.

(Dorothea Tanning: Birthday and Beyond, exhibition catalogue, Philadelphia Museum of Art 2000, n.p.)


Ophelia

“There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.”

― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Ophelia. John Everett Millais. 1851.

Ophelia. John Everett Millais. 1851.

Millais‘ emblematic representation of Shakespeare’s Ophelia recreated through the ages:

Virginia Madsen recreate Ophelia in this scene from the film Fire with Fire, 1986.

Virginia Madsen recreates Ophelia in this scene from the film Fire with Fire, 1986.

The Way Home. Tom Hunter. 1999-2001.

The Way Home. Tom Hunter. 1999-2001.

Untitled (Ophelia). Gregory Crewdson. 2001.

Untitled (Ophelia). Gregory Crewdson. 2001.

Alessandra Sanguineti. Ophelia. 2002.

Alessandra Sanguineti. Ophelia. 2002.

Erin Oconnor Posing as Ophelia. Nadav Kander. 2004.

Erin Oconnor Posing as Ophelia. Nadav Kander. 2004.

Almere - Ophelia. Ellen Kooi. 2006.

Almere – Ophelia. Ellen Kooi. 2006.

“Lay her i’ the earth:
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!”


The Midnight Robber

Peter Minshall. The Midnight Robber, the king of Danse Macabre (1980)

Peter Minshall. The Midnight Robber, the king of Danse Macabre (1980)

A Carnival costume by the legendary Trinidadian Carnival artist Peter Minshall, also known as Mas Man.

Click here to read about him in the Caribbean Beat magazine.


The Dream

The Dream (The Bed). Frida Kahlo. 1940.

The Dream (The Bed). Frida Kahlo. 1940.

In this painting, as well as others, Frida’s preoccupation with death is revealed. In real life Frida did have a papier-mâché skeleton (Juda) on the canopy of her bed. Diego called it “Frida’s lover” but Frida said it was just an amusing reminder of mortality. Frida and the skeleton both lie on their side with two pillows under their head. While Frida sleeps the skeleton is awake and watching. The bed appears to ascend into the clouds and the embroidered vines on her bedspread seem to come to life and begin to entwine with her body. The roots at the foot of the bed appear to have been pulled out of the ground. The skeleton’s body is entwined with wires and explosives that at any moment could go off… making Frida’s dream of death a stark reality. In this painting and in others, Frida uses the “Life/Death” themethe plants representing the rebirth of life and the skeleton representing death.

Text from FridaKahloFans