Landscape with Snow (1888)

Landscape with Snow (1888)
Painted in February of 1888, Van Gogh painted the dreary furrowed fields of winter. A lone figure with his dog trudge toward home. Located in the Guggenheim, I was moved to view this painting this past weekend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Edward Lear

Happy Birthday Edward Lear!! Born on this day in 1812, Lear is best known for his nonsense verse, but also was an illustrator. He was the 21st child and raised by his older sister. He was a sickly child, suffering from epilepsy, bronchitis and asthma, and later was partially blind. In those days, epilepsy was thought to be demonic possession, so Lear was quite embarrassed about the condition. He was described as brilliant and educated himself. He traveled extensively, making wash drawings that he later used to produce paintings in watercolor, oils and prints for his books. He published several volumes of illustrations and verse. His limericks are cleverly funny. Lear was a contemporary of Ogden Nash, another nonsensical verse and limerick writer and they in fact worked in collaboration at times. Perhaps his most famous story was The Owl and the Pussycat, included in his Book of Nonsense, which the illustration below is from.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat:

They took some honey, and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

There Was an Old Man With a Beard

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!--
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have built all their nests in my beard!"

Limericks are five line verses like the one above, by Lear. His limericks often have the same word for the first and last lines rather than rhyming words. They are usually extremely funny and often deal with the pecularities of humanity and animals. This particular one was a favorite of my Dad's.

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