I Saw The World End

Hiroshima Aftermath, cropped version

I went up to the hillside and took a panorama view of the city and found the whole city on fire. – Kiyoshi Tanimoto, Japanese Methodist minister.

The devastation that unfolded in the seconds following the explosion in Beirut has been likened to an atomic bomb. The timing of the analogy is striking as #onthisday in 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Read more

Late Abroad Again

A short letter from Samuel Pepys to John Evelyn

ICON_PLACEHOLDEREstimated reading time: 3 minutes

August 16th 1665
It was dark before I could get home; and so land at church-yard stairs, where to my great trouble I met a dead Corps, of the plague, in the narrow ally, just bringing down a little pair of stairs – but I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.

Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703)

And ‘late abroad again’ it seems the people of Melbourne can’t be for some time. The Premier of Victoria introduced stage four lock-down restrictions last night. Residents will be subject to a curfew for the next six weeks. Banned from travelling more than 5km (3 miles) from their home.

Read more

Art as Background

The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1839, oil on canvas. National Gallery

J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) was growing up, and remains to this day, one of my favourite artists. He painted, printed and drew prodigiously, leaving to posterity a collection of more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours and 30,000 works on paper.

Part of my fascination with Turner stems from my god-father, who wrote the book Angel in the Sun, about Turner’s vision of history. He sent me a copy in the late 1990s when I was in my first flush of university study, an impressionable age, and my interest in Turner’s work has blossomed ever since.

Read more

Self-Gaze

The Conjurer by Hieronymus Bosch

ICON_PLACEHOLDEREstimated reading time: 3 minutes

le regard [the gaze] in the philosophical sense is an individual’s awareness of ‘the other.’ By ‘the other’ a myriad of concepts can be meant. It might be one’s awareness of other people, other things, even awareness of oneself.

Read more