The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
What Said Diderot of Ruins
What Said Diderot of Ruins?
Ackteon, in modern dress, living in France,
Liked to quote Diderot, the old Encyclopedist,
Writing of ruins: "The ideas ruins evoke in me
Are grand. Everything comes to nothing,
Everything perishes, everything passes,
Only the world remains, only time endures.
How old is this world! I walk between two eternities.”
So said the French sage! And so it is, and yet...
Diderot, an enlightened man, also keen of eye,
His friends called him Denis, to me lush words
He wrote of Boucher and Chardin. None better!
But Diderot did measure knowledge with a compass
Merely crafted by the human mind - thus flawed!
Should he think "only the world remains," his bones,
In for a shock they are! For with time, enduring yes,
This world, and his old bones made new will be!
--JW, in response to Ackteon, quoting Diderot, Feb 4, 2011,
as well as the post immediately below.
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- John Walford
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- I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.