Vaslav Nijinsky in Siamese Dance (1910). Jacques-Émile Blanche (French, 1861-1942). Oil on canvas. Collection of Ann and Gordon Getty, San Francisco.
Blanche painted Nijinsky in Leon Bakst’s costume which bears some resemblance to the traditional Thai male dance costume. Nijinsky’s left hand is a clear copy of a classical Siamese dance gesture; he is depicted in front of what may be a Chinese coromandel screen and standing on a carpet of some non-Western design.
Images (clockwise from top left): Jack London (Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images), Haruki Murakami (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images), David Mitchell (Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images), Anne Bronte (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
This week in author birthdays, Jan. 12 seems especially blessed by the muses …
Jack London – Jan. 12, 1876
“He had no conscious knowledge of death, but like every animal of the Wild, he possessed the instinct of death. To him it stood as the greatest of hurts. It was the very essence of the unknown; it was the sum of the terrors of the unknown, the one culminating and unthinkable catastrophe that could happen to him, about which he knew nothing and about which he feared everything.” - From White Fang
Haruki Murakami – Jan. 12, 1949
“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads – at least that’s where I imagine it – there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.” - From Kafka on the Shore
(Here’s Murakami on sharing a birthday with Jack London and that strange moment his birthday was announced as a public event on the radio.)
David Mitchell – Jan. 12, 1969
“Books don’t offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.” - From Cloud Atlas
Anne Bronte – Jan. 17, 1820
“The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it." - From Agnes Grey
It started as a mistake, transformed workflow for architects, and revived Japanese print-making.
Created as a result of mixing blood, potash, and iron sulfate while trying to make red cochineal dye, Prussian blue was announced officially in 1710.
Paper covered with ammonium ferric citrate plunged into potassium ferricyanide turned Prussian blue and preserved the image of objects set on top of the paper in the process. And thus the “cyanotype” was born.
From there, architects found these “blue prints” useful to make copies of one drawing. Sound familiar?
Reflective sprays are being tested on the animals’ antlers to make them more visible to motorists. Finland’s reindeer breeders hope new method will help avoid the thousands of reindeer-related accidents that occur each year.
Ann Getty home–The dining room’s circa-1720 chinoiserie panels were originally made for the king of Poland. Read more: Ann Getty’s San Francisco Home - Pictures from Ann Getty’s San Francisco Home - Harper’s BAZAAR
French authorities are still on the hunt for two brothers suspected in an attack against the headquarters of a satirical magazine in Paris that left 12 people dead.
NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reports that the French capital is on its highest alert level and 800 soldiers and riot police have been called on to guard the city. School children, Eleanor said, are being kept inside for recess.
To add to the tension, there were was a shooting on Paris’ southern edge that killed a police officer and wounded a street sweeper. The AP reports that authorities said those shootings had not been linked to the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
Overnight, one of the three suspects, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, was reported to have turned himself in.
Former New York Times Paris bureau chief Elaine Sciolino says the anti-Muslim, far right politicians in France are gaining power – and Friday’s attacks may fuel their sentiments:
“The far right has won in local elections in some small but crucial cities in the south of France. There are some absurd manifestations of some of the things they want to do and have done. For example, some of these mayors have said there are too many kebab shops in France, because kebabs, which are Turkish not even North African Muslim, are not French, so we need to put back our boulangeries and our little French cafes and ban kebab shops from expanding.
Recently there’s been a controversy because some of the far right political leaders have called for forcible serving of pork in all public schools. Muslim and Jewish students cannot eat pork. So they’re being told, “If you don’t want to adhere to our secular republican ideal and what is part of the French cuisine, go to your own private schools.” …
These attacks were a gift to the far right, wrapped up in a bow before Christmas. This feeds perfectly into the French fear that there’s no security on our borders, that immigrants are the enemy, that there aren’t enough jobs for ‘normal’ French people so that we have to prevent the other, the alien, the foreigner, from invading our country.”