Archives For Quotery

Sep 21

Disturbed by her song

From Tanith Lee’s book Disturbed By Her Song:

Once upon a time there was a princess, outside whose high bedroom window a nightingale sang every night from a pomegranate tree.

While the nightingale sang, the princess slept deeply and well, dreaming of wondrous and beautiful things. However there came a night when the nightingale, for reasons of her own, did not sing but flew far away.

In the morning the princess summoned a gardener and told him to cut down the pomegranate tree. The man protested; the tree was a fine one, young, healthy and fruitful. But the princess would not relent. For as she said, all that one previous night a nightingale had perched in the branches, and the princess’s sleep had been very much disturbed by her song.

Jun 26

My favorite Leonardo da Vinci quote

“Life is pretty simple. You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do some more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else.

“The trick is the doing something else.”

Jun 4

The postman’s fairy palace

During a long-ago class, I learned about the Facteur Cheval, an 1800s postman who randomly built a fairy palace. Here’s an excerpt from my old art history textbook, The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes:

The other naif [besides Henri Rousseau] whom Surrealism especially admired was not a painter but a builder who, in the obscurity of his own country garden, created what was perhaps the most elaborate, beautiful, and mysterious “unofficial” work of art made by any nineteenth-century artist. He was Ferdinand Cheval, a postman or facteur in the village of Hauterives, about forty miles from Lyon. The Facteur Cheval (as he is usually called) had done nothing remarkable for forty-three years of his life. But one day in 1879, on his delivery round, he picked up a pebble. It was a piece of the local greyish-white molasse or tufa, gnarled and lumpy, about four inches long — his “stone of escape,” as he later called it. He put it in his pocket and, from then on, began first to collect more odd-looking stones, then tiles, oyster-shells, bits of glass, wire, iron, and other junk. Back in his garden, he began to lay foundations and build walls. He was, by his own account, bored of “walking forever in the same decor,” and so:

… to distract my thoughts, I constructed in my dreams a faĆ«ry palace, surpassing all imagination, everything the genius of a humble man could imagine (with grottoes, gardens, towers, castles, museums and sculptures), trying to bring to a new birth all the ancient architectures of primitive times; the whole thing so beautiful and picturesque that the images of it remained alive in my brain for ten years at least … but the distance from dream to reality is great; I had never touched a mason’s trowel … and I was totally ignorant of the rules of architecture.

Facteur Cheval fairy palace

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