Scrooby's Musings

Started by Scrooby, March 08, 2022, 12:28:53 AM

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RENI, Guido, Crucifixion of St Peter (1604-05)

The human race : Look how bored the guy at the top looks!

And here we have a colossally common film technique (e.g., Alma throughout Phantom Thread): the guy's face is both light and dark!

In this instance, one wonders why. Theory : he is actually not a terrible human being, but has been tasked with this unhappy assignment. So it's St Peter—or him.


Science tells us that the red and green photoreceptors in our eyes are extremely close in at least two ways :

"The gene that encodes for our green receptor, and the gene that encodes for our red receptor, evolved via a gene duplication. It's likely that they would have originally been almost identical in their sensitivities." James P. Higham, "The red and green specialists: why human colour vision is so odd"

"The molecular genetics of color vision has turned out to be much more complex than originally suspected. This complexity derives in part from the fact that red and green opsin genes are adjacent to one another and they are about 98% identical." Maureen Neitz & Jay Neitz, "Molecular Genetics of Color Vision and Color Vision Defects"

Somehow the Renaissance artists had an inkling of this connection. The red/green combination is a remarkably common color combination of the Renaissance.

Hence, for example :

And so (of course) :


TINTORETTO, Crucifixion (1565), Oil on canvas, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice.
Is it just me or does the light look like wings? The crucified has the last laugh. Genius.


UNKNOWN MASTER, Flemish, Crucifixion (1435-45)

If it isn't the moon, then what is it? A blot on existence? What if we consider it psychologically? Is it something to stare into, for reasons the Reader can theorize on? Or perhaps it's a type of angel approaching? Or the darkness of death approaching? Or something approaching? The abyss arriving to swallow them up? Whatever it is, it's the most strikingly strange image out of the many hundreds I've seen today.

At the very least it can be defined as an anomaly. To make the Spectator uneasy?

Notice the contrast between the circle and the jagged peaks.

Perhaps it's an enigma "simply" to remind the Spectator of the enigma of life and all else?

Could it be the opening of a tunnel in the sky, such as in the Stephen King story "The Langoliers"? Is it something like this :

NBK, 8:04. Driving into the abyss.

It also recalls :

BOSCH, Hieronymus, Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (outer wings)



I posted this pic so the topic of today may not end on a down note. A bit of a smile in the midst of seriousness does not have to be a crime; and I am not taking this or any related religious subject lightly. This post is like a "breathing out".


glowing paper


S/Z by Roland Barthes is a colossal work of 20th-century Art Comprehension Scholarship. The entire book is a virtual word-for-word analysis of one very short story by Balzac.

Memories of Thelma Todd

You Made Me Love You (1933). She died of carbon monoxide poisoning when she fell asleep in a car in a garage in 1935.

Powell and Loy : I Love You Again (1940)

Emphasizing the lens.

"water flares"

The whites of the eyes.

The rainbow

Crying for Kubrick?

"Good boy."

and lastly


S/Z by Roland Barthes : an intro to Barthes

"Once the author is removed," writes Barthes in "The Death of the Author", "the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing. Such a conception suits criticism very well, the latter then allotting itself the important task of discovering the Author (or its hypostases : society, history, psyche, liberty) beneath the work : when the Author has been found, the text is 'explained'—victory to the critic. Hence there is no surprise in the fact that, historically, the reign of the Author has also been that of the critic. . . . In the multiplicity of writing, everything is to be disentangled, nothing deciphered; the structure can be followed, 'run' (like the thread of a stocking) at every point and at every level, but there is nothing beneath : the space of writing is to be ranged over, not pierced; writing ceaselessly posits meaning ceaselessly to evaporate it, carrying out a systematic exemption of meaning. In precisely this way literature (it would be better from now on to say writing), by refusing to assign a 'secret', an ultimate meaning, in the text (and to the world as text), liberates what may be called an anti-theological activity, an activity that is truly revolutionary since to refuse to fix meaning is, in the end, to refuse God and his hypostases—reason, science, law."

From his "From Work to Text" : "The text is experienced only in an activity of production."

Some lines from S/Z :

"The goal of literary work is to make the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of the text."

Otherwise, "the reader is plunged into a kind of idleness. . . . Instead of gaining access to the magic of the signifier, to the pleasure of writing, he is left with no more than the poor freedom either to accept or reject the text : reading is nothing more than a referendum."

"The text is not a thing, we would have a hard time finding it in a bookstore. . . . The text is a perpetual present . . . The text is ourselves writing. . . ."

"Meaning can never take over the absolutely plural text . . . based as it is on the infinity of language."

"Reading is no longer consumption, but play."

All this applies to film.


Barthes : "Rereading, an operation contrary to the commercial and ideological habits of our society, which would have us 'throw away' the story once it has been consumed, so that we can then move on to another story, buy another book, is tolerated only in certain marginal categories of readers (children, old people, and professors). . . . Rereading is here suggested at the outset [of the first reading]. . . . Rereading multiplies the text in its variety and its plurality. . . . Rereading contests the claim which would have us believe that the first reading is a primary reading which we will only, afterwards, have to 'explicate', to intellectualize. . . . Rereading is no longer consumption, but play. . . ."

Jacques Derrida puts it succinctly : "The return to the book is also the abandoning of the book." (i.e., your old understanding of it)

and also says, in Of Grammatology : "The sign is the unity of a heterogeneity."

And all this recalls Nietzsche's "joyful, wilful forgetting."

And back to Barthes : "The text is . . . an irreducible plurality."


Derrida : "By never saying enough, I thereby say too much."


O sun, O moon,
who shine down on our land, our people
bright with grace;
you whom we care for, and who care for us :
hear now our holy song!

Hear the high-reaching art of our children,
these, the pious girls and boys of our land,
who shall sing a song of praise to please you.

Kind light of Inspiration,
who gifts us refining beauty,
or hides it—
may you, the endlessly reborn,
look favourably on us
and on our mighty city!
Bring us new birth easy and fine!
Goddess of fresh life, protect our mothers,
who give our own light back into the world.
Goddess, lead your children!
Nurture our resolution!
Let us bring new excellence
to ourselves.
Let marriage of women and men
yield fruitful and productive substance,
so we may found a ceaseless age of thought
and art, to please our daylight,
and our darkness.
O Truth, you who were sung by Fate
ages ago, and watch over Time and limits,
may you be kind to our kingdom,
and keep us stable all the way to the end.

Horace, Song of the Future (Carmen Saeculare), re-imagined by JSB