Daily Update: Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal by Francisco de Zurbarán and Anthony Mary Zaccaria

Today is the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today is also the Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen (whose feast day is normally July 4th, but in the dioceses of the United States her feast day has been moved to July 5th) (died 1336) and the Optional Memorial of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest (died 1539).

Elizabeth of Portugal was born in 1271 at Aragon, Spain, the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Constantia, the great-granddaughter of Emperor Frederick II, and the great-niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, for whom she was named. (Her name is rendered Elisabet in Catalan and as Isabel in both Portuguese and Spanish.) She had a pious upbringing with daily liturgy and praying of the hours, along with regular religious instruction and education. She was married at age twelve to King Diniz of Portugal, and was thus Queen of Portugal before she was a teenager. The king was known for his hard work, his poetic nature, and his lack of morals. Elizabeth suffered through years of abuse and adultery, praying all the while for his conversion, and working with the poor and sick. The mother of two children, she sometimes convinced the ladies of the court to help with her charity work, but most of the time she just incurred their jealousy and ill will. The king appears to have reformed late in life, though whether from Elizabeth’s faith or his imminent death is unknown. Her son, Prince Alfonso, rebelled against the favours that King Diniz bestowed on his illegitimate sons, and in 1323 forces of the king and prince clashed in open civil war. Though she had been unjustly accused of siding with her son against the crown, Elizabeth rode onto the battlefield between them and was able to reconcile father and son and prevent bloodshed. After the death of the king in 1325, she distributed her property to the poor, became a Franciscan tertiary, and retired to a monastery of Poor Clares she had founded at Coimbra. In 1336 her son, now King Alfonso IV, marched against his son-in-law, the King of Castile, to punish him for being a negligent and abusive husband. Despite her age and ill health, Elizabeth hurried to the battlefield at Estremoz, Portugal, and again managed to make peace in her family, and thus maintain peace in her land. This last effort wore her out, and she died at the battlefield in 1336. She is the Patron Saint of queens, of charities, and of those suffering in difficult marriages, and her aid as a peacemaker is invoked during time of war. We also honor Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest (died 1539). Born in 1502 in Cremona, Lombardy, Italy, to a patrician family, his father died when Anthony was two, and his mother, widowed at age 18, devoted herself to her son. He studied medicine at Padua, receiving his doctorate at age 22. While working as a physician to the poor in Cremona, Italy, he felt called to the religious life. He bequeathed his inheritance to his mother, worked as a catechist, and was ordained at age 26; legend says that angels were seen around the altar at his first Mass. He was a noted preacher and an excellent administrator. In Milan he established the congregations of the Society of Clerics of Saint Paul (the Barnabites) for male religious, and the Angelics of Saint Paul for uncloistered nuns. These groups helped reform the morals of the faithful, encouraged laymen to work together with the apostolate, and promoted frequent reception of Communion. He also helped introduce the Forty Hours’ Devotion, and revived the custom of ringing church bells at 3 p.m. on Fridays, in remembrance of the Crucifixion. While on a peace mission, Anthony became ill and died at his mother’s house; tradition says that in his last moments he had a vision of Saint Paul the Apostle. He left only a few writings: twelve letters, six sermons, and the constitution of the Barnabites. Twenty-seven years after his death, his body was found to be incorrupt, and his mortal remains are now enshrined at the Church of St. Barnabas in Milan, Italy. He is the Patron Saint of physicians, and of the Clerics Regular of St Paul (the Barnabite order), the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, and the Laity of St. Paul.

Since I had not been to Wal-Mart lately to get the 2015 Patriotic T-shirt, today I wore my Patriotic T-shirt from 2014 to work. Before we left the house for the casino I brought in the flag. Once at work I plugged the bills Richard paid yesterday into my Balance My Checkbook Pro app. When we clocked in Richard was on Blackjack. I was on Three Card Poker, then became the Relief Dealer for the second Mississippi Stud table, Mississippi Stud, and Three Card Poker. I finished out our shift on Pai Gow. On my breaks I did my Book Review for this Weblog and for Goodreads for As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley; I could not manage to get my Book Review to post correctly to Facebook.

On our way home we stopped at Wal-Mart, where we purchased groceries, household items, fried chicken from the deli, and my salad supplies, groceries; they were apparently sold out of Patriotic T-shirts. Once home from work I put my foot up and iced it, and Richard went to Crispy Cajun for mashed potatoes. I then read the Sunday papers while eating my fried chicken breast and mashed potatoes. I then went to bed for the rest of the day, so I did not go to Mass, and I did not do my Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (died 1902). Tomorrow is also the Earth Aphelion, or the point at which the Earth is farthest from the Sun. On my breaks at work I will do my Daily Update for Saturday, July 4th, 2015, and my Daily Update for yesterday, Sunday, July 5th, 2015 via WordPress for Android, and continue entering my National Parks into my National Park Passport app. I will also call the clinic to get an appointment to see my Nurse Practitioner about my foot. After work I have an appointment with the Health Coach at the clinic. And Earth Atherton will occur at 3:00 pm.

Our Sunday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Cy Twombly, American artist. Born as Edwin Parker Twombly, Jr. in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, he took his father’s nickname of “Cy” as his own (his father had briefly been a pitcher in Major League Baseball, and was himself nicknamed after baseball pitcher Cy Young). At the age of twelve Twombly began to take private art lessons with the Spanish modern master Pierre Daura. After his 1946 graduation from high school he attended Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1948–49), and studied at Washington and Lee University (1949–50) in Lexington, Virginia. On a tuition scholarship from 1950 to 1951 he studied at the Art Students League of New York, where he met Robert Rauschenberg, who encouraged him to attend Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina. At Black Mountain in 1951 and 1952 he studied with Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and Ben Shahn, and met John Cage. Arranged by Motherwell, the Samuel Kootz Gallery in New York organized Twombly’s first solo exhibition in 1951. At this time his work was influenced by Kline’s black-and-white gestural expressionism, as well as Paul Klee’s imagery. In 1952 Twombly received a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts which enabled him to travel to North Africa, Spain, Italy, and France. After his return in 1953, Twombly served in the U.S. army as a cryptologist, an activity that left a distinct mark on his artistic style. Exposure to the emerging New York School purged figurative aspects from his work, encouraging a simplified form of abstraction. He became fascinated with tribal art, using the painterly language of the early 1950s to invoke primitivism, reversing the normal evolution of the New York School. Twombly soon developed a technique of gestural drawing that was characterized by thin white lines on a dark canvas that appear to be scratched onto the surface. His early sculptures, assembled from discarded objects, similarly cast their gaze back to Europe and North Africa. Between 1954 and 1956 he taught at the Southern Seminary and Junior College in Buena Vista, Virginia. In 1957 Twombly moved to Rome, where he met the Italian artist Baroness Tatiana Franchetti, the sister of his patron Baron Giorgio Franchetti. They were married at City Hall in New York in 1959 and then bought a palazzo on the Via di Monserrato in Rome. He ceased making sculptures in 1959. From 1962 he produced a cycle of works based on subjects from history such as Leda and the Swan. The subject of Leda and the Swan, like that of The Birth of Venus, was one of the most dramatic and frequent themes of Twombly’s work of the early 1960s. Between 1960 and 1963 Twombly painted the subject of Leda’s rape by the god Zeus/Jupiter in the form of a Swan six times, once in 1960, twice in 1962 and three times in 1963. Twombly was interested in different mythological figures and began to inscribe their names during the 1960s. His critical low point probably came after a widely panned 1964 exhibition of the nine-panel Discourses on Commodus (1963) at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. The artist and writer Donald Judd was especially damning, calling the show a fiasco. Between 1967 and 1971 Twombly produced a number of works on gray grounds, the ‘grey paintings’. This series featured terse, colorless scrawls, reminiscent of chalk on a blackboard, that formed no actual words. Twombly made this work using an unusual technique: he sat on the shoulders of a friend, who shuttled back and forth along the length of the canvas, thus allowing the artist to create his fluid, continuous lines. In the summer and early autumn of 1969, Twombly made a series of fourteen paintings while staying at Bolsena, a lake to the north of Rome. In 1971 Nini Pirandello, the wife of Twombly’s Roman gallerist Plinio De Martiis, died suddenly; in tribute, Twombly painted the elegiac “Nini’s Paintings”. From 1976 he again produced sculptures, lightly painted in white, suggestive of Classical forms. Like his earlier works, these pieces were assembled from found materials such as pieces of wood or packaging, or cast in bronze and covered in white paint and plaster. In the mid-1970s, in paintings such as Untitled (1976), Twombly began to evoke landscape through colour (favouring brown, green and light blue), written inscriptions and collage elements. In 1978 he worked on the monumental historical ensemble Fifty Days at Iliam, a ten-part cycle inspired by Homer’s Iliad; since then Twombly continued to draw on literature and myth, deploying cryptic pictorial metaphors that situate individual experience within the grand narratives of Western tradition, as in the Gaeta canvases and the monumental Four Seasons concluded in 1994. In 1993, at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, an exhibition of Twombly’s photographs offered a selection of large blurry color images of tulips, trees and ancient busts, based on the artist’s Polaroids. In 2008 a specially curated selection of Twombly’s photographic work was exhibited in “Huis Marseille”, the Museum for Photography, Amsterdam; the exhibition was opened by Sally Mann. In 2011, the Museum Brandhorst mounted a retrospective of Twombly’s photographs from 1951 to 2010. The exhibition then moved over to the Museum für Gegenwartskunst at Siegen and the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels. Twombly’s work went on display as part of “Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters” at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London from June 29, 2011 less than a week before his death. Together with Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, Twombly was regarded as the most important representative of a generation of artists who distanced themselves from Abstract Expressionism (died 2011):  “[Sculpture is] a whole other state. And it’s a building thing. Whereas the painting is more fusing—fusing of ideas, fusing of feelings, fusing projected on atmosphere.”

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