Matisse’s The Green Line (1905) (EPPH)

Original article here.

Matisse, The Green Line or Portrait of Mme. Matisse (1905) Oil on canvas. Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

In 1905 Henri Matisse exhibited this painting of his wife to a shocked Parisian art world. She has a green stripe down her face. Now a Fauvist icon, The Green Line as it is known has been studied for over a century yet revealed little. Most comment that Matisse was primarily interested in decoration, allowing color to dictate form. That must be wrong because form is the principal carrier of meaning. Self-representation is a must as well. These are essential characteristics without which the reputation of Matisse’s art would have plummeted. Yet it has only grown. I have examined The Green Line for 15 years, though, and like others have seen little beyond a portrait. Perhaps, the green stripe is a symbol of his fertility penetrating her mind above. Yet surely, I always thought, there must be more.

L: Detail of Matisse’s The Green Line, rotated R: Detail of Matisse’s Self-portrait, rotated (1900) Oil on canvas. Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris.

Last night I rotated the picture and found what I was looking for: veiled content and meaning. In the block-like forms of Madame’s coiffure resides the “face” of her husband with one “eye” only, all in black and dark blue. The large, circular form of a spectacle on the right; the triangular nose next to it; even the black shadow under his “beard”. It resembles his face as seen in many self-portraits. The one at right is from five years earlier.

Matisse, The Green Line or Portrait of Mme. Matisse (1905)

Mme Matisse, like the wives of many artists, is represented as the feminine version of his own self and the creative part of his androgynous mind. His “head” is in the darkness of hers which is really the creative, cave-like depths of his own imagination. Totally in line with tradition, Matisse represents the model as the artist; he unifies object and subject; and depicts not a true likeness of his wife (few great artists have done that) but a feminine version of his own Self at the moment of creation. Further looking will, no doubt, yield more meaning but not until the viewer acknowledges that this is self-representation and not what most call “portraiture”.

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Matisse, Marguerite (1906-7) Oil on canvas. Musée Picasso, Paris

The next year Matisse styled the hair of his daughter into a phallus. See Matisse’s Portrait of Marguerite (1906-7), a painting Picasso owned.

Pagan “God Self” Icon Found Worldwide Rewrites History, Reveals Lost Golden Age (RichardCassaro.com)

(This article is just a tidbit of art history conspiracy I have come across and while this add appears to be selling his book, it makes for some interesting reading if you are into hidden meanings in art, history, and Da Vinci Code-like investigations.)

 

By Richard Cassaro | October 15th, 2013 | original article here.

 

A new discovery (that I made many years ago, and that’s been officially published in my recent book “Written In Stone”) challenges―if not rewrites―ancient history by showing how the world’s first cultures mysteriously shared the same religious icon. From the Egyptians to the Assyrians, the pre-Incas to the Europeans, the icon is ubiquitous. Is it the lost symbol of a forgotten Golden Age religion that flourished globally in the remote past? How can it not be?

The same icon etched in stone atop temple doors on opposite sides of the world. Left: Gate of the Sun in Tiahuanaco, Boliva Right: Temple of Hadrian in Ephesus, Turkey

For several decades, mainstream scholars have insisted that the world’s first civilizations arose separately and independently.

But an amazing new find now casts serious doubt on their theory.

It shows how ancient cultures worldwide―cultures that scholars insist evolved independently―actually followed the same global spiritual system or Universal Religion, the central icon of which has now been found to be common amid their ruins.

The Icon Found In Ruins Worldwide

The religious icon is shown in the photos below.

Note the parallel pose:

 

This same religious icon exists in the ruins of the world’s most ancient cultures―an astonishing parallel undiscovered and undocumented by academia!

With both arms outstretched in opposite directions (right and left) a single god or goddess holds “twin objects” in each hand, symmetrically.

These objects are usually animals, often serpents, but sometimes vegetation or magical staffs. The artwork is almost always perfectly symmetrical, just like the icon’s pose.

If ancient cultures evolved separately, as scholars tell us, then how is this same religious icon present worldwide?

This stunning new discovery challenges mainstream academic history.

It strongly suggests ancient cultures did not evolve separately, as scholars tell us; on the contrary, ancient cultures worldwide were “united” in their spiritual beliefs, most probably the result of a “shared cultural heritage” stemming from the prehistoric era.

But “united” how? A “shared cultural heritage” how?

Did a “Golden Age” of humanity once exist in our remote past, as the Greeks, Hindus and others claimed?―a kind of “Tower of Babel” era, when the world was one speech and one tongue?

Was this icon, along with the spiritual wisdom it signifies, “inherited” from this Golden Age?

“Lord Of The Animals” & “Staff God” Titles
Interestingly, the icon has been partially recognized by scholars of Old World cultures and New World cultures alike.
OLD WORLD

Among scholars of Old World cultures the icon is called:

  • Lord of the Animals
  • Master of Animals
  • Mistress of Beasts
  • Mistress of the Animals
  • Mistress of Wild Animals
  • Potnia Theron

The Lord of the Animals (also known as Master of Animals) is a generic term for a number of deities from a variety of cultures…They sometimes also have female equivalents, the so-called Mistress of the Animals. The implication being these all have a Stone Age precursor…”

—Wikipedia

NEW WORLD

Among scholars of New World cultures the icon is called:

  • Staff God

The Staff God is a major deity in Andean cultures. Usually pictured holding a staff in each hand…his other characteristics are unknown, although he is often pictured with snakes in his headdress or clothes. The oldest known depiction of the Staff God was found on some broken gourd fragments in a burial site in the Pativilca River Valley…and carbon dated to 2250 BC. This makes it the oldest image of a god to be found in the Americas.”

—Wikipedia

Despite recognizing the icon in their respective disciplines, Old World scholars and New World scholars have:

(a) failed to recognize the icon’s presence worldwide

(b) failed to understand the ubiquitous meaning the icon holds worldwide

(c) failed to connect (a) and (b) and thus remain unaware that THE ICON IS THE CHIEF SYMBOL OF A LOST ANCIENT UNIVERSAL RELIGION once known worldwide

Just as the simple crucifix conveys a complete metaphysical doctrine expressing complex themes like “sacrifice,” “life,” “death,” and “resurrection,” likewise this Lord of the Animals / Staff God icon encodes a single multifaceted metaphysical doctrine or Universal Religion.

This religion relates eternal spiritual and perennial truths regarding who we are, where we came from, why we’re here, and where we’re going, as we’ll see in a  moment.

For a more penetrating explanation, read my new book Written In Stone (an entire chapter is devoted to this amazing new archaeological discovery).

For now, let’s look at how the icon mysteriously appears in an array of esoteric and alchemical manuscripts published and quietly circulated during the past several centuries.

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The Icon In Esoteric & Alchemical Manuscripts

Many of these manuscripts were published during the European Renaissance.

See below. The creators of these manuscripts certainly understood the icon’s historical significance―but exactly how is unclear.

It is clear, however, that they were trying to preserve the icon’s ancient meaning for posterity.

Note how the icon is always depicted holding twin objects, following the ancient archetype.

These twin objects are very often associated with the sun (right hand) and moon (left hand).

This is a major clue that all but reveals the icon’s ancient universal meaning:

The icon holding twin objects associated with sun (right hand) and moon (left hand). From a mysterious alchemical treatise titled “The Hermetic and Alchemical Figures of Claudius de Dominico Celentano Vallis Novi From A Manuscript Written And Illuminated At Naples A.D. 1606″
The alchemical Mercury, from Tripus aureus (The Golden Tripod) by Michael Maier, c. 1618. As Mercurius he presides over the alchemical opus, integrating the principles of sun and moon.
From a 16th-century alchemical treatise called “The Rosary of the Philosophers” (Rosarium philosophorum sive pretiosissimum donum Dei). Sun associated with the right hand, moon with the left hand.
Esoteric design. Origin unknown. Sun in the right hand, moon in the left hand.
Christian Androgynes (Alchemical), 17th & 18th centuries. Here, the icon has two heads, one male, one female. Sun in the right hand, moon in the left hand.

An old Hermetic “Rebis” symbol, from the “Materia Prima” of Valentinus, printed at Frankfurt, 1613. Sun (and Masonic compass) in the right hand, Moon (and Masonic square) in the left hand. The icon has two heads. Male right, female left.

This last depiction is interesting.

Called “Rebis,” this mythological figure has been featured in alchemical texts during the past few centuries.

The Rebis’ right hand is associated with the sun and left hand with the moon.

The Rebis additionally holds a “compass” tool in the “solar” (right) hand balanced by a “square” tool in the “lunar” (left) hand.

This is important.

When combined, the compass and square form Freemasonry’s chief symbol:

The solar compass is held in the right hand and the lunar square in the left hand. Together the compass and square form the supreme symbol of Freemasonry.

The compass, since it draws a circle or spiritual symbol, denotes our “spiritual” nature, as humans.

Likewise, the square, since it draws a square or material symbol, denotes our “material” nature.

Holding the compass and square is thus a reminder that when we are man we are not just material (body) we are spiritual (soul) too; we are part human, part divine.

– The eternal “spiritual” (soul) part of us reflects solar qualities―right, yang, masculine, give, light, eternal, hot.

– The temporary “material” (body) part of us reflects lunar qualities―left, yin, feminine, receive, dark, temporary, cold.

Think about this for a moment.

We know we are human, of course. We see this in the mirror each day. But divine too? Are we really divine, eternal, immortal…as well as human, temporary, mortal?

The answer is yes.

Man is a combination of human (moon) and divine (sun).

The six-pointed star symbol directly above the head of the Rebis is a symbol of the integration of these opposing forces (sun and moon) and their balance in the Rebis.

And THIS is the message of the Rebis!!!

It’s an instruction that teaches us to integrate our own opposing forces in order to transcend the body and discover the divine eternal Self within/above.

The Rebis is a revelation and an affirmation of our own divinity and eternity―same as Masonry’s chief symbol:

Freemasonry’s logo, the Compass and Square, is a sign of the union of your (temporary physical) body and (eternal spiritual) soul, both of which constitute you while you are human. Did you know you were eternal and spiritual?

“There is one sign which has never changed its meaning anywhere in the civilized world—the Compass and the Square. A sign of the union of the body and soul.”

—Deman Wagstaff, Wagstaff’s Standard Masonry (1922)

“…the compasses stand for…the spiritual side of man, while the square appertains to the material…”

—J. S. Ward, Interpretation of Our Masonic Symbols

The Rebis is a symbol of the higher spiritual Self, the “god Self,” within each one of us, insofar as it is a revelation to us concerning our eternal divine nature.

This eternal divine nature is not readily apparent given the limitation of our five senses (see, touch, hear, taste, smell).

Hence, the message of the Rebis is a message that we need to hear because it’s an explanation of who we really are inside.

“Every man is a divinity in disguise…”

―Ralph Waldo Emerson

For this reason, the Rebis is the Philosopher’s Stone, the Gold of Alchemy, the pearl inside the Oyster, and so on; the Rebis is all the hidden gems of all the lost sacred sciences and secret societies.

It reveals who you really are. But it also reveals something more: How to get there. How to find your true Self.

In Part II, we will examine how this god Self idea was known throughout the ancient world, symbolized by the icon; its wisdom forming a Universal Religion shared globally.

We also will take a closer look at how the icon’s modern esoteric manifestation in the form of the Rebis symbolizes the same idea— the God Self, the higher You.

We will also see evidence from Egypt, Iran and Peru.

 

 

The Secret Victorian Language of Flowers (Hyperallergic)

by Allison Meier on May 30, 2014 original article here.

Sir Edward Burne-Jones, “The Love Song” (1868–77), oil on canvas, 45 x 61 3/8 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1947)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened an exhibition on the Pre-Raphaelites of the 19th century last week, with 30 pieces showing wistful figures in draped clothing often surrounded with flowers. But while the floral touches might seem like colorful accents to us, to Victorians there was a language in the flowers (h/t @timothywroten).

Here are 10 flowers with symbolic meaning in the Victorian era to keep an eye out for as you peruse the Met’s The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy British Art and Design, using some of the paintings in the exhibition and others from their contemporaries. And it should be noted that flower symbolism of the 19th century was far from restricted to art  — Oscar Wilde was said to have worn a green carnation, a symbol recorded as having been worn by gay men in 19th century Europe, as immortalized in Robert Hichens’ controversial 1894 novel The Green Carnation.

Articles

The Secret Victorian Language of Flowers

Sir Edward Burne-Jones, "The Love Song" (1868–77), Oil on canvas, 45 x 61 3/8 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1947)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened an exhibition on the Pre-Raphaelites of the 19th century last week, with 30 pieces showing wistful figures in draped clothing often surrounded with flowers. But while the floral touches might seem like colorful accents to us, to Victorians there was a language in the flowers (h/t @timothywroten).

Here are 10 flowers with symbolic meaning in the Victorian era to keep an eye out for as you peruse the Met’s The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy British Art and Design, using some of the paintings in the exhibition and others from their contemporaries. And it should be noted that flower symbolism of the 19th century was far from restricted to art  — Oscar Wilde was said to have worn a green carnation, a symbol recorded as having been worn by gay men in 19th century Europe, as immortalized in Robert Hichens’ controversial 1894 novel The Green Carnation.

The Poppy

Dante Gabriel Rossetti & Henry Treffry Dunn, “Lady Lilith” (1867), Watercolor and gouache on paper, 20 3/16 x 17 5/16 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1908)

Seen in the bottom right corner of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “Lady Lilith” (1867) — which is crowded with symbolic flowers — the red poppy often meant imagination and eternal sleep, but also pleasure. As the sonnet Rossetti included with the painting goes: “The rose and poppy are her flowers; for where / Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent / And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall snare?”

The Primrose

Edwin Long, “The Daughters of Our Empire. England: The Primrose” (1887), oil on canvas (via Yale Center for British Art)

The primrose’s meaning changed with its color, but yellow symbolized youth and young love, here used deliberately in Edwin Long’s “The Daughters of our Empire. England: The Primrose” (1887).

Daffodils

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Veronica Veronese” (1872), oil on canvas (via Wikimedia)

Daffodils, with their sunny hues, could mean unrequited love and chivalry, and here rest alongside the scrap of sheet music in Rossetti’s “Veronica Veronese” (1872).

Violets

Ford Madox Brown, “Convalescent, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife” (1872), Pastel, 18 3/8 x 17 3/8 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1909)

Violets are a symbol of modesty and faithfulness. Here in a portrait of his wife Emma Hill, Ford Madox Brown gives his beloved ravaged by alcoholism the redeeming bouquet of the wilted flowers. He wrote: “Now that she is lying in bed thinned with the fever she looks very pictorial and young as ever again.”

Apple Blossoms

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “A Vision of Fiametta” (1878), oil on canvas (via Collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber)

An apple blossom could mean good fortune, the promise of better things ahead, or preference, and here Rossetti wraps an idolized woman from a Giovanni Boccaccio poem in its blooms.

Daisies

John Everett Millais, “Ophelia” (1851), oil on canvas (via Tate Britain)

When John Everett Millais painted the doomed Ophelia of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he gave her all the flowers of the original text in the lush scene of death. Included are daisies for innocence, which could also symbolize purity and even “farewell.”

Hawthorn

Edward Burne-Jones, “The Beguiling of Merlin” (1874), oil on canvas (via Wikimedia)

Hawthorn was used to symbolize hope, and also could be used as a charm against magic. Here Merlin is tangled in its branches in an 1874 painting by Edward Burne-Jones.

Roses

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Jane Morris – Study for ‘Mariana'” (1868), Red chalk, 35 3/4 x 30 3/4 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Jessie Lemont Trausil, 1947)

Still a common symbol, roses for the Victorians also meant love. Depending on their color, they could indicate the deepness or innocence of that love, ranging from white for purity to burgundy for a unconcious adoration. Here they are pink in a vase in a Rossetti study.

Crocuses

William Blake Richmond, “Venus and Anchises” (1889-90), oil on canvas (via Walker Art Gallery)

Crocuses meant cheerfulness and the gladness of youth, and William Blake Richmond included them here in the spring flowers under the feet of Venus and Anchises.

Honeysuckle

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Venus Verticordia” (1868), oil on canvas (via Wikimedia)

While roses fill the area behind Rossetti’s “Venus Verticordia” (1868), honeysuckle flourishes in the foreground, representing sweetness and the bond of love.

Monkshood

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “La Ghirlandata” (1873), oil on canvas (via Guildhall Art Gallery)

Poisonous monkshood, its blue flowers representing that the viewer should beware of a danger that might be ahead, rests at the foot of this harp topped with the beguiling honeysuckle and roses in Rossetti’s “La Ghirlandata.” Or at least that’s what he intended. He accidentally depicted the innocuous larkspur instead.

For more on the Victorian meaning of flowers, here’s an index of the Victorian Flower CodeThe Pre-Raphaelite Legacy British Art and Design continues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) through October 26.