Tag: Paris


Stalin’s Barber by Paul M. Levitt

Consciously or not, Stalin conjoins religion and politics. Why?

Religion, especially the monotheistic religions profess the idea of damnation and divine retribution for sinners. Stalin must have thought that where bullets and the baton are inadequate in suppressing dissent, the fear of God would serve as a complete deterrent. Another explanation for Stalin’s mixing of politics and religion is to develop cult followership. In religion, we find how the revealed word of God is never contested. It would suit Stalin’s totalitarian agenda quite well to have the citizens worship him as a cult figure. By encouraging religion, Stalin is promoting certain personality traits that are complementary to running a totalitarian regime.

What is the point of having numerous Stalins? (the plaster of Paris busts in the basement)

Although Stalin was a man in possession of enormous political power, deep inside he was very insecure. Some consider . . . Read More

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Massacre at Paris: Why does Marlowe decide to expand on the character of Guise at the expense of Navarre?

Despite no authentic version of the play extant, Christopher Marlowe’s play Massacre at Paris continues to be of importance.  The play is heavily drawn from real historical events happening in French politics at the time of it being written. The Massacre at Paris that was unleashed by the Third Duke of Guise upon all his suspected enemies is both brutal and real.  Marlowe portrays Guise as a thorough Machiavellian character who is bent upon usurping power through any means.  The killing of his father Francis when he was just 13 is a key event in the development of Guise’ personality.  Facing this calamity at a tender age impresses in his mind the motivations for revenge. This would later transpire into a more generic blood and power lust.  His immediate ascension to throne after his father’s premature death forced Guise to mature very fast.  His chief nemesis would be Henry of Navarre, who is an able and imaginative administrator.

Marlowe devotes so much more . . . Read More

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Pablo Picasso: A short biography

Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest visual artists of the twentieth century. Born in Spain in 1881, he later moved to France where he spent most of his productive years. Though the public remember him as a painter, he also excelled as a sculptor, graphic artist and ceramist. He gained reputation on the basis of his “technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, incredible originality and prolificity”. (The Columbia Encyclopedia)

Though a naturally gifted artist, Picasso honed his skills at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona at the turn of the twentieth century. He then moved to Paris as the city was famous for its art patronage. He lived here for the next four decades of his life which was also the most creative and productive phase in his artistry. He produced such works as The Old Guitarist (1903). This early phase is noted by biographers as Picasso’s ‘blue period’, typifying the liberal use of the color as well as the melancholy mood carried by the paintings. . . . Read More

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Studying Art: Frye Art Museum in Seattle

The Frye Art Museum in Seattle is presently host to two very different kinds of art exhibitions. Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart by Liu Ding is a one of a kind exhibition. Rather than showcasing finished works of art, this novel exhibition shows works in progress as it were. Produced by artists from Beijing, the artifacts are factory commissioned reproductions stalled midway during their production. In this sense, it is a unique exhibition, offering the viewer a one-of-a-kind experience. The mastermind behind this exhibition is Liu Ding, who

“employs the economic model of a shop as a platform for discussion on the creation of value in the art world…Through different approaches that include product pricing, promotion, marketing, and circulation, Lui seeks to investigate, understand and discuss value – particularly the complex characteristics of value in art – as well as the rules, mechanisms, and politics behind the creation of . . . Read More

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Paris (2008) by Cedric Klapisch

The movie I chose for this exercise is titled Paris, released in 2008.  This is a French language movie that I watched with English subtitles. Written and directed by Cedric Klapisch, the film stars Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris and Fabrice Luchini.

While watching the movie on my laptop computer, I was able to identify some key differences when compared to watching it in a theatre. First of all, I could seat myself in my favourite couch in a laid back fashion with my legs stretched out.  Hence, the personal comfort factor was a positive.  Watching in a theatre would have required some degree of formal clothing and sitting posture in comparison.

Secondly, the ‘pause’ option offered by movie playing software like Windows Media Player or VLC is invaluable in its utility.  When I received a phone call, I could just ‘pause’ the film where it was and continue after finishing the call.  This is not possible in the theatre setting.  Similarly, I could rewind and . . . Read More

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Problems behind modernization in London

The city of London has historically been the heart of Western Europe.  While across the channel Paris grew in reputation as the favored hub for artists, musicians and litterateurs, London was (and still is) the financial centre of Western European democracies.  Given this background, the confines of metropolitan London had expanded gradually.  Needless to say, there are limitations to any urban township and the case of London proved to be no exception.  With advances in modes of commotion, ever greater numbers of people migrated to London in search of economic opportunity.  In the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, these influxes of people originated within continental Europe.  This was also a time when the British Empire reached its peak on back of its superior naval force.  But, the twentieth century was markedly different, in that the émigré’s were from erstwhile colonies spanning all continents.  Such patterns of migration have overwhelmed the city of London, that . . . Read More

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A socio-historical critique of Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Winter Dreams’

Scott Fitzgerald’s well-crafted short story ‘Winter Dreams’ is set in the 1920s, which is also referred to as the Jazz Age in American history. Following the lull and chaos of the First World War, American society was primed to embrace a liberal and materialistic culture. The conventional structure of society was shaken up and new attitudes toward religion, morality and personal relations emerged. The widespread patronage of art and artists was central to this cultural upheaval. An important aspect of the short story is its masterly depiction of this changing cultural milieu.

The plot of the story serves as a narrative foundation and gives coherence to it. Alongside elements of fiction also lie historical facts about the 1920s America. In this respect, the story is both a well-crafted piece of art and a historical document. Through the characters of Dexter and Judy, Fitzgerald portrays the shallowness of the then American society. Judy Jones is a wealthy and attractive . . . Read More

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