Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Influence of Blaise Pascal on the Art of Giorgio Morandi

Due to the overt simplicity of his methods and style, Italian artist, Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), is thought to be a precursor to Minimalism. While I do not dispute the connection, I am convinced that Pascal’s early work in geometry and his strong Christian beliefs served as a major source of inspiration for Morandi’s originality and artistic vision. As Pascal proclaimed “Let a mite be given to him [the reader]. Let him see therein an infinity of universes.” Morandi had no need to leave Bologna. Infinity was there on the Via Fondazza. It is also seen in the many paintings of his simple jars sitting on table tops, which Morandi uses as a window to the infinite, to God.

Morandi once said, “You cannot demonstrate your own greatness by remaining at one extreme, but by reaching out to both extremes at the same time, and filling the intermediate space.” Where does this idea emanate? Pascal had said many years before, “A man does not show his greatness by being at one extremity, but rather by touching both at once.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Lighter Side

Piper at a Funeral...

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs....

Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a grave-side service for a homeless man.

He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Rusk/Elkhart back-country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost; and being a typical man I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played "Amazing Grace" the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together…

When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full. As I was opening the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say,

"Goodness, I never seen nothin' like that before...and I've been putting in septic tanks for over twenty years."