Sanity is a subject I’ve grown increasingly interested in as I’ve gotten older. I used to see it as a black and white matter. Some people are sane, others insane. Easy as that.
This was a cozy idea of mine as a child at least. I kept far away from the black sheep of my family - an ancient great aunt with a lifetime’s wake of miserable holiday antics due to her undiagnosed narcissism - and I got used to what I perceived was textbook sanity. Although I do remember once in middle school miserably wishing I could be as smart as Nietzsche, as I felt too sane to ever be genius. But eventually, after those comfortable years not considering it much more, I left home. I met people comfortable with routines I could never imagine for myself, and with backgrounds equally contrasting. Not only did I question my own quirks, I feared my roots. I had grown accustomed to my Father wearing literally the same outfit every single day (à la Steve Jobs) because “it’s comfortable,” and to a Mother who collected rocks and scrap metals (to build a scarecrow for the backyard of course). But also around that time, humans generally became a lot more interesting to me.
This perhaps isn’t an accurate personal introduction to The Alienist, as it crosses into other ideas and plots - but I kept going back to this subject. Maybe I’m ready for something that addresses the topic without satire (I’m always welcome to suggestions!) for The Alienist is equally hilarious as it is perceptive and ahead of it’s time. I'm definitely ready for more Machado de Assis.
an illustrated scene from one of my favorite novellas, The Little Prince. the prince himself is based on the design they used in the recent movie with the same title, the rest is just me trying to establish an illustration style.
“And to this hour the image of Carmilla returns to memory with ambiguous alternations […] often from a reverie I have started, fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing room door.”
It’s pretty surreal how the novella ends with Laura daydreaming of hearing Carmilla at her door, and the webseries begins with Carmilla at her door, almost as if by travelling through the door she had crossed into an alternate universe.
HEYYOOO!! So I have been doing a bunch of commissions lately, and here is one of them!
This Character’s name is Kit Ruthven, and he’s from one of Christy Carlyle’s novels (which you can pre-order on amazon waaahhht!!) Christy writes fancy romance novels, so if you’re into that, definitely check her out. Her website and amazon for her books are linked below.
Anne-Louis Girodet (1767-1824)
“The Burial of Atala” (1808)
“Atala, ou Les Amours de deux sauvages dans le desert” is an early novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, first published on 2 April 1801. The work, inspired by his travels in North America, had an immense impact on early Romanticism, and went through five editions in its first year.
The classical scholar and poet Angelo Ambrogini, known as Poliziano, died on 24 September 1494 at the age of 40. His nickname derived from the Latin name for his hometown of Montepulciano (Mons Politianus). Known for his translations of ancient texts and original poetry, Poliziano served as private secretary to Lorenzo de'Medici (d. 1492) and tutor to his children. He appears alongside the young Giuliano, Piero, and Giovanni in a fresco painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel at Santa Trinita, Florence. It depicts the Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule, which was granted by Pope Honorius III in 1223 in Rome, as if it had happened in Florence with late fifteenth-century luminaries in attendance, including Lorenzo and Poliziano.
Ghirlandaio honored Poliziano again in a fresco painted for another prominent family’s chapel, the Tornabuoni chapel at Santa Maria Novella. Ghirlandaio included the humanist among the crowd gathered to witness Zachariah’s message from the Angel Gabriel that he would have a son. The inscription on the arched gate at the right of the composition has been attributed to Poliziano, who was Medici court poet at the time: “In the year 1490, when the most beautiful of cities, owing to its wealth, its conquests, its undertakings, and buildings, enjoyed prosperity and peace” (translation from Steffi Roettgen, Italian Frescoes: The Flowering of the Renaissance 1470-1510, p. 174.)
Sassetti included members of the Medici family and entourage in his chapel’s decoration as a way to honor his employer Lorenzo; the Tornabuoni included numerous family members, friends, and luminaries in the crowds that witness the religious events displayed on their chapel’s walls as a reflection of their social status and importance. That Poliziano was included in both images attests to his his reputation and esteem during his short but productive life.
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Confirmation of Franciscan Rule, fresco, ca. 1485, detail showing Angelo Poliziano and Giuliano di Lorenzo de'Medici, Sassetti Chapel, Santa Trinita, Florence
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Confirmation of Franciscan Rule, fresco, ca. 1485, Sassetti Chapel, Santa Trinita, Florence
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Apparition to Zechariah, fresco, ca. 1490, detail showing Marsilio Ficino, Cristoforo Landino, Demetrius the Greek, and Angelo Poliziano (according to Vasari), Tornabuoni Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Apparition to Zechariah, fresco, ca. 1490, Tornabuoni Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence