The Rape of the Sabine Women by Nicolas Poussin, Circa 1637-38


The Rape of the Sabine Women

The painting depicts one of the mythical episodes surrounding the history of ancient Rome. The city has just been founded by Romulus, and the Romans wish to ensure the future prosperity of their young nation. As there is a lack of women to provide the necessary offspring, they plan a mass abduction. With this in mind, they invite the neighboring Sabines to a feast during which they seize the women and drive off the men. Three years later, the Sabines attack Rome in revenge. But the conflict is prevented thanks to the women, who stand between their brothers and their husbands (to whom they have become reconciled). Thus peace was achieved between the two peoples.

Poussin has chosen to illustrate the scene of the abduction. Romulus stands on the left, dominating the proceedings, in a pose directly inspired by Imperial statues. In the central section, the painter emphasizes the panic and confrontation between the men and women. This all takes place against an architectural background in linear perspective, which gives the work its vanishing point. Also of interest is the way the artist has organized the figures, using two diagonal lines that start from the edges of the picture and join up where there is a gap in the landscape, thus making the work more dynamic.


Self Portrait by Henri Decaisne, Circa 1820

Self Portrait by Henri Decaisne, Circa 1820

The present painting appears to be a self-portrait. Two later self-portraits depict the artist as a bearded man with the same turn of the head, strong nose, and most of all a distinct frown and intensive stare. “Le beau Flamand” he was called in the Parisian studios, an epithet which would fit the present portrait. 

The significance of the chain, however, remains enigmatic.

Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Peter Paul Rubens, Circa 1616


The account of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith is given in the deuterocanonical book of Judith, and is the subject of numerous depictions in painting and sculpture. In the story, Judith, a beautiful widow and chosen by God, uses her charms to enter the tent of Holofernes, an Assyrian general out to destroy Judith’s hometown. Overcome with drink, he passes out and is decapitated by Judith; his head is taken away in a basket (often depicted as carried by an elderly female servant).

“Frankenstein would want your mind. 
Your lovely head.”

– Alison Goldfrapp

De Koppelaarster or The Matchmaker by Gerrit van Honthorst, Circa, 1625

De Koppelaarster or The Matchmaker by Gerrit van Honthorst 

Circa, 1625

Stunning light effects. Deep Chiaroscuro. An absolute favourite by the Dutch Master.

Gerard van Honthorst, a well known Dutch Caravaggisti, often painted scenes of merry making and gatherings, complimented beautifully with contrasting lights and shadows. Truly, his works are captivating and beautiful. What I personally love in these paintings are his animated and often drunk subjects. What are they thinking? What could they be saying? You can look at these works and always find something new to surprise you, a new expression, a new meaning. Baroque at its best.

Lament Of An Icarus

I look, in vain, for beginning and end

of the heavens’ slow revolve:

Under an unknown eye of fire, I ascend

feeling my wings dissolve.

And, scorched by desire for the beautiful,

I will not know the bliss,

of giving my name to that abyss,

that knows my tomb and funeral. 

-Charles Baudelaire 

An Entomologist’s Last Love Letter

dear samantha
i’m sorry
we have to get a divorce
i know that seems like an odd way to start a love letter but let me explain:
it’s not you
it sure as hell isn’t me
it’s just human beings don’t love as well as insects do
i love you.. far too much to let what we have be ruined by the failings of our species
i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night
i know you would never DO anything, you never do but..
i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night

did you know that when a female fly accepts the pheromones put off by a male fly, it re-writes her brain, destroys the receptors that receive pheromones, sensing the change, the male fly does the same. when two flies love each other they do it so hard, they will never love anything else ever again. if either one of them dies before procreation can happen both sets of genetic code are lost forever. now that… is dedication.

after Elizabeth and i broke up we spent three days dividing everything we had bought together

like if i knew what pots were mine like if i knew which drapes were mine somehow the pain would go away

this is not true

after two praying mantises mate, the nervous system of the male begins to shut down
while he still has control over his motor functions
he flops onto his back, exposing his soft underbelly up to his lover like a gift
she then proceeds to lovingly dice him into tiny cubes
spooning every morsel into her mouth
she wastes nothing
even the exoskeleton goes
she does this so that once their children are born she has something to regurgitate to feed them
now that.. is selflessness

i could never do that for you

so i have a new plan
i’m gonna leave you now
i’m gonna spend the rest of my life committing petty injustices
i hope you do the same
i will jay walk at every opportunity
i will steal things i could easily afford
i will be rude to strangers
i hope you do the same
i hope reincarnation is real
i hope our petty crimes are enough to cause us to be reborn as lesser creatures
i hope we are reborn as flies
so that we can love each other as hard as we were meant to.

-Jared Singer