Saturday, February 20, 2016

No snow today but still chilly - 1930s Depression - Central Park in New York City



Carl Gustaf Nelson (American artist, 1898-1988) Central Park, 1934

Neither the cold of winter nor the gloom of the Great Depression kept the children of New York City from enjoying Central Park, the city’s greatest green space. Artist Carl Nelson reported that he had almost as much fun as the children, drawing by the hour despite the chill of February 1934. When his hands got cold, Nelson recalled, he “would go to the monkey house in the Central Park Zoo to warm up.”

Nelson shows the park on a weekday afternoon full of mothers taking their toddlers out to play, while the older children are in school. The southern end of the park, near the elegant hotels in the background, was designed for children. They could romp on the playground, ride the carousel, or play games in the Children’s Cottage. A little girl in an orange coat feeds the squirrels. Nelson’s idyllic image does not include the grimmer reality farther north in Central Park; where homeless people squatted in a shantytown or “Hooverville,” as they waited for better times.

From The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC

LENT - Preparing for the Empty Tomb - Illuminated Manuscripts


Religious depictions comprised a large part the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the contemporary tastes of elite private clients.

British Library - Add. MS 7170, fol-160 (detail) 1b - Syriac Lectionary Mosul (Iraq), 1216-1220 The Holy Women at the Empty Tomb - The Resurrection


Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.  And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid.  And he saith unto them, Be not afraid: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.  Mark Chapter 16

The Teutonic word Lent, used to denote the 40 days preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. During the first 3 centuries after the Resurrection of Christ, there was considerable diversity of practice regarding a fast before Easter and also a gradual process of development in the matter of its duration. An early reference is quoted by Eusebius (Church History V.24) from a letter of St. Irenaeus to Pope Victor in connection with Easter. There Irenaeus says that there is not only a controversy about the time of keeping Easter but also regarding the preliminary fast. "For", he continues, "some think they ought to fast for one day, others for two days, and others even for several, while others reckon forty hours both of day and night to their fast". He also urges that this variety of usage is of ancient date, which implies that there was no Apostolic tradition on the subject.