17 December 2016

#142 Snowmen

But if the consolation for life is art, what may the artist expect from life?
An incident mentioned quite casually in Vasari's Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors always seems to me worth recalling. It teaches several lessons: that if you want something done get the best executant available to do it; that minor jobs are often worth taking on; that duration in time should not necessarily be the criterion in producing a work of art.
Vasari says that on a winter day in Florence, when snow was deep on the ground, one of the Medici sent for Michaelangelo to build a snowman in the courtyard of the Medici palace. Notwithstanding those (like Constant Lambert) who dislike the High Renaissance one can scarcely doubt that the finest snowman on record took shape.

Anthony Powell; The Strangers All Are Gone
Contributed by Pictures in Powell

07 November 2016

#141 Pedigrees

The pedigree of Lewis of Harpton, on the other hand, is to be found in Dwnn's Visitations of Wales and elsewhere. Dwnn shows this Lewis descent as left-handed in the 15th century, though it should be borne in mind that in mediaeval Wales such irregularity would not be regarded with undue dismay; indeed if any dismay at all.

AD Powell, "The Powell Descent from Llewelyn Crûgeryr and the Princes of Deheubarth", Transactions Radnorshire Society, 31 (1961), 3-17
Contributed by Keith Marshall

04 October 2016

#140 Warning

Mrs Erdleigh issued her final warning.
"Court at your peril those spirits that dabble lasciviously with primaeval matter, horrid substances, sperm of the world, producing monsters and fantastic things, as it is written, so that the toad, this leprous earth, eats up the eagle."

Anthony Powell; Temporary Kings
Contributed by Larry Kart

21 August 2016

#139 Fate

Gwatkin shook my hand too. He smiled in an odd sort of way, as if he dimly perceived it was no good battling against Fate, which, seen in right perspective, almost always provides a certain beauty of design, sometimes even an occasional good laugh.

Anthony Powell; The Valley of Bones
Contributed by Keith Marshall

29 June 2016

#138 Government

'A great illusion is that government is carried on by an infallible, incorruptible machine,' Pennistone said. 'Officials — all officials, of all governments — are just as capable of behaving in an irregular manner as anyone else. In fact they have the additional advantage of being able to assuage their conscience, if they happen to own one, by assuring themselves it's all for the country's good.'

Anthony Powell, The Military Philosophers
Contributed by Peter Kislinger