Primavera

Spring on my desk

Spring on my desk

Florence, where every attempt to depict spring is doomed to live in the shadow of Botticelli’s Primavera, still managed to inspire me and drew me into drawing.

I always take a great pleasure in moistening good paper with the mixture of water and colours, with the permanent hope that the magic of watercolours painting will take place.

And so, here is the result of my latest attempt. As always, I am grateful for the return of the queen of seasons.

Primavera - Watercolours and pencil on Arches paper. 19X19cm

Primavera – Watercolours and pencil on Arches paper. 19X19cm

primavera isf galaIa-Framed-photo copy

A trip to London

 

An Allegory with Venus and Cupid about 1545, Bronzino, my humble sketch.

An Allegory with Venus and Cupid about 1545, Bronzino, my humble sketch.

For ten years London was the place I called home. The city resides in my heart, wrapping it with a patchwork of a worn out upholstery fabric.

While my wife and daughter went hunting and gathering, I thought I’d go and visit my London friends, the ones hanging on the National Gallery’s walls.

It was a freezing, bright sunny day, and from Covent Gardens I walked briskly straight into the temple. The National Gallery, despite its majestic staircase, leaves a very brief moment of recovery from the contemporary sounds and sites of the street and the home of its time-rich treasures.

I knew my way notwithstanding the many years which passed since my last visit. My eyes were first seeking Piero Della Francesca’s The Baptism of Christ, then his Saint Michael and the Nativity. From there, to Ghirlandaio, Rosso Fiorentino, Michelangelo, the breathtaking Leonardo and so I ended up sitting in front of Bronzino’s Allegory with Venus and Cupid.

I took out my tiny sketchbook and started a quick study. As I was drawing, I heard a little voice calling in French: “Maman, maman, viens voir, c’est Venus!” – “mom, come and see, it is Venus!” Shortly after the sound, came the image of the back of a six years old girl who was pointing at the picture. Her two glittering eyes seemed to be pulling with invisible strings her mother who was trailing behind her, calling her to come and read the sign, only to acknowledge that indeed, she was right, it is Venus in the painting!

The flurry of questions the little one inundated her mother with, was intense and full of beauty and wit.

I couldn’t help myself and asked this little princess – how come she manage to recognise Venus from afar? without a hesitation, she replied: par sa beauté”– by her beauty! It was now I who was the target of the sweetest, most inquisitive set of questions she required answers to. her mom, standing next to us was smiling and asked if I was not too bothered by her daughter’s curiosity. When they were about to leave, the little girl looked at me and then gave me a big hug. Her mom said to me:” She will remember this”

I then Guaranteed her that I will not forget Bronzino’s Allegory with Venus and Cupid.

So, I came to London, visited my Italian heroes, and returned back home with a French gift.

The little princess in the National Gallery

The little princess in the National Gallery

 

 

Political science

Political science

Political science

Science Denial versus Science Pleasure.

In his article, (Scientific American, on January 1, 2018) Michael Sheerer explores the different approaches to science adopted by the political right and the left respectably.

That liberals are just as guilty of antiscience bias comports more with accounts of humans chomping canines, and yet those on the left are just as skeptical of well-established science when findings clash with their political ideologies, such as with GMOs, nuclear power, genetic engineering and evolutionary psychology—skepticism of the last I call “cognitive creationism” for its endorsement of a blank-slate model of the mind in which natural selection operated on humans only from the neck down.

Read the full article HERE

Does Success Come Mostly from Talent, Hard Work- or Luck?

What question! Asked and answered by Michael Shermer on November 1, 2017, at Scientific American. Here’s a link for the full article.

Below are the rough drawing and the final one.

Success, Comes from Talent, Hard Work or Luck? – Rough drawing

 

Success, Comes from Talent, Hard Work or Luck? – Final Artwork

Alternative Investments

Alternative Investments -page
For the lack of a better, effective and immediate metaphor to communicate the idea of saving,  I called upon my faithful piggy bank… This time I’ve assigned them to convey the idea of pension funds investing in real estate.
A link for the full article: here
Alternative Investments

Alternative Investments

 

 

Why the “You” in an Afterlife Wouldn’t Really Be You -Memories, points of view and the self

Who Are You_ AW (1)

Quantum consciousness

By Michael Shermer on July 1, 2017

The Discovery is a 2017 Netflix film in which Robert Redford plays a scientist who proves that the afterlife is real. “Once the body dies, some part of our consciousness leaves us and travels to a new plane,” the scientist explains, evidenced by his machine that measures, as another character puts it, “brain wavelengths on a subatomic level leaving the body after death.”

This idea is not too far afield from a real theory called quantum consciousness, proffered by a wide range of people, from physicist Roger Penrose to physician Deepak Chopra.

For the full article in Scientific American, click here

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

A World view AW

worldview

Why worldview threats undermine evidence

Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data.

The full article by Michael Shermer from The Scientific American of  January 1, 2017, can be read here.

Four Reasons You Might Want to Avoid the Lowest-Cost ETFs. Or: Some of the things an illustrator should be fully aware of in order to go through the day.

Investing in ETFs

Investing in ETFs

Sometimes articles’ topics couldn’t be further remote from my own fields of passions like music, art, food or just being alive. That’s when the I’m challenged to communicate clearly to people from ‘other planets, in language I’m learning as I go along toward the deadline. Learning is great!

A link to the article in the Wall Street Journal: Here

The original scene

The original scene

The original scene

This one here was published nearly one year ago under the title: Beware Bogus Theories of Sexual Orientation – A new battle over sexual orientation, By Michael Shermer in Scientific American.

In my little private paradise, here, I’ve attributed the above title to my drawing. Shermer’s texts always provide me with an opportunity to surprise myself, and that’s what I REALLY enjoy in this Job!

Here’s a link to Michael Shermers’ original article in the Scientific American. Enjoy the read.

Eternity

Eternity

Eternity

Radical Life-Extension Is Not around the Corner

Can science and Silicon Valley defeat death? This was the question Michael Shermer’s raised and explored in his Scientific American’s article on October 1, 2016 issue.

Above is my drawing which accompanied his words.

I really enjoyed it, so can you by reading it too, here.

The Unfortunate Fallout of Campus Postmodernism

Back home from a particularly relaxed, hot summer. So, I thought I’ll do some window dressing. Here is Michael Shermer’s latest Skeptic article. Enjoy.

The Unfortunate Fallout of Campus Postmodernism

The Unfortunate Fallout of Campus Postmodernism

The roots of the current campus madness

  • By Michael Shermer | Scientific American September 2017 Issue

     

    In a 1946 essay in the London Tribune entitled “In Front of Your Nose,” George Orwell noted that “we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

    The intellectual battlefields today are on college campuses, where students’ deep convictions about race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation and their social justice antipathy toward capitalism, imperialism, racism, white privilege, misogyny and “cissexist heteropatriarchy” have bumped up against the reality of contradictory facts and opposing views, leading to campus chaos and even violence. Students at the University of California, Berkeley, and outside agitators, for example, rioted at the mere mention that conservative firebrands Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter had been invited to speak (in the end, they never did). Demonstrators at Middlebury College physically attacked libertarian author Charles Murray and his liberal host, professor Allison Stanger, pulling her hair, twisting her neck and sending her to the ER.*

    One underlying cause of this troubling situation may be found in what happened at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., in May, when biologist and self-identified “deeply progressive” professor Bret Weinstein refused to participate in a “Day of Absence” in which “white students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities.” Weinstein objected, writing in an e-mail: “on a college campus, one’s right to speak—or to be—must never be based on skin color.” In response, an angry mob of 50 students disrupted his biology class, surrounded him, called him a racist and insisted that he resign. He claims that campus police informed him that the college president told them to stand down, but he has been forced to stay off campus for his safety’s sake.

    How has it come to this? One of many trends was identified by Weinstein in a Wall Street Journal essay: “The button-down empirical and deductive fields, including all the hard sciences, have lived side by side with ‘critical theory,’ postmodernism and its perception-based relatives. Since the creation in 1960s and ’70s of novel, justice-oriented fields, these incompatible worldviews have repelled one another.”

    In an article for Quillette.com on “Methods Behind the Campus Madness,” graduate researcher Sumantra Maitra of the University of Nottingham in England reported that 12 of the 13 academics at U.C. Berkeley who signed a letter to the chancellor protesting Yiannopoulos were from “Critical theory, Gender studies and Post-Colonial/Postmodernist/Marxist background.” This is a shift in Marxist theory from class conflict to identity politics conflict; instead of judging people by the content of their character, they are now to be judged by the color of their skin (or their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, et cetera). “Postmodernists have tried to hijack biology, have taken over large parts of political science, almost all of anthropology, history and English,” Maitra concludes, “and have proliferated self-referential journals, citation circles, non-replicable research, and the curtailing of nuanced debate through activism and marches, instigating a bunch of gullible students to intimidate any opposing ideas.”

    Students are being taught by these postmodern professors that there is no truth, that science and empirical facts are tools of oppression by the white patriarchy, and that nearly everyone in America is racist and bigoted, including their own professors, most of whom are liberals or progressives devoted to fighting these social ills. Of the 58 Evergreen faculty members who signed a statement “in solidarity with students” calling for disciplinary action against Weinstein for “endangering” the community by granting interviews in the national media, I tallied only seven from the sciences. Most specialize in English, literature, the arts, humanities, cultural studies, women’s studies, media studies, and “quotidian imperialisms, intermetropolitan geography [and] detournement.” A course called “Fantastic Resistances” was described as a “training dojo for aspiring ‘social justice warriors’” that focuses on “power asymmetries.”

    If you teach students to be warriors against all power asymmetries, don’t be surprised when they turn on their professors and administrators. This is what happens when you separate facts from values, empiricism from morality, science from the humanities.

    *Editor’s Note (8/18/17): This sentence was edited after the print article was posted online. The original stated that students at Middlebury College “physically attacked” Charles Murray and his campus host, Allison Stanger. In fact, a police investigation determined that it appears several participants in the demonstration against Murray came from outside the campus community and that those wearing masks used “tactics that indicated training in obstruction and intimidation.” Although the attackers were never identified, and thus the police were unable to press charges, Middlebury maintains that the masked assailants were not students but outside agitators. It has also made an official statement that “the College disciplined 74 students with sanctions ranging from probation to official College discipline, which places a permanent record in the student’s file.”

    This article was originally published with the title “Postmodernism vs. Science”

San Lorenzo and the cappelle medicee

Some more quick impressions from the local treasures.

The Sagrestia Vecchia, Filippo Brunelleschi

The Sagrestia Vecchia, Filippo Brunelleschi

Tomb of Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici with Dusk and Dawn

Tomb of Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici with Dusk and Dawn

Tomb of Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici with Night and Day

Tomb of Giuliano di Lorenzo de’ Medici with Night and Day

 

At the Bargello this morning

When you live in a city like Florence, it is easy to pass by and ignore the obvious treasures, the ones turned permanent tenants in one’s consciousness and seem to no longer require dusting, just because we know ‘they will always be there’.

Well, this morning, together with our art history teacher, we’ve visited the Bargello.

David Donatello 1440, Museo del Bargello, Firenze

David Donatello 1440, Museo del Bargello, Firenze

Here are some sketches from this visit. Do not miss the Bargello! It holds some very important keys to the understanding of the renaissance, why it started off in Florence at the time it did. The greatness of Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo and the path he opened for the great artists who followed in their footsteps.

David Donatello 1409, Museo del Bargello, Firenze

David Donatello 1409, Museo del Bargello, Firenze

San Giorgio di Donatello 1416, Museo del Bargello, Firenze

San Giorgio di Donatello 1416, Museo del Bargello, Firenze

Museo di Nazionale del Bargello di Firenze

Museo di Nazionale del Bargello di Firenze

Brunelleschi vs. Ghiberti

Brunelleschi vs. Ghiberti

 

The ghost of evil 

This coming Monday is Holocaust Remembrance Day In Israel.

The phantom of this dark chapter in the history of humanity keeps on it presence in the lives of millions of people across generations and nations.

Above, is my mindscape of its presence in Israel.

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