Thursday, December 31, 2009

THE DARKNESS OF LIFE




Friedrich Nietzsche
From nietzsche.com


Friedrich Nietzsche, 17 years old
Photography by Ferdinand Henning
Naumburg, beginning of June 1862
From commons.wikimedia.org


Friedrich Nietzsche
From portrait.kaar.at


Friedrich Nietzsche
From assaizky.com

AKA Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche:
Born: 15-Oct-1844
Birthplace: Röcken, Saxony, Germany
Died: 25-Aug-1900
Location of death: Weimar, Germany
Cause of death: Cancer - Brain
Remains: Buried, Röcken Kirchhof, Röcken, Germany
Gender: Male
Religion: Lutheran
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Matter of Dispute
Occupation: Philosopher
Nationality: Germany
Father: Karl Ludwig Nietzsche (b. 1813, d. 30-Jul-1849 brain cancer)
Mother: (d. 1897)
Sister: Therese Elizabeth Alexandra Nietzsche (b. 10-Jul-1846, d. 1935)
Brother: Joseph Nietzsche (b. 1848, d. 4-Jan-1850)

From zerdustoloji.blogcu.com
German-Swiss philosopher and writer, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was one of the most influential of modern thinkers. The son of a Lutheran pastor, he studied at Bonn and Leipzig and at age 24 became professor of Classical philology at the University of Basel. He became close to the older Richard Wagner, in whose operas he saw the potential for the revival of Western civilization, but broke with Wagner angrily in 1876. His Birth of Tragedy (1872) contained major insights into ancient Greek drama; like Untimely Meditations (1873), it is dominated by a Romantic perspective also influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer. Mental and physical problems forced him to leave his position in 1878, and he spent 10 years attempting to recover his health in various resorts while continuing to write prolifically. His works from Human, All Too Human (1878) to The Gay Science (1882) extol reason and science, experiment with literary genres, and express his emancipation from his earlier Romanticism. His mature writings, particularly Beyond Good and Evil (1886), A Genealogy of Morals (1887), and Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883), were preoccupied with the origin and function of values in human life. If, as he believed, life neither possesses nor lacks intrinsic value and yet is always being evaluated, then such evaluations can usefully be read as symptoms of the evaluator's condition. He fulminated against Christianity. His major breakdown in 1889 marked the virtual end of his productive life. He was revered by Adolf Hitler for his dislike of democracy and his heroic ideal of the Übermensch (Superman), though the Nazis perverted Nietzsche's thought and ignored much in it that was hostile to their aims. His analyses of the root motives and values that underlie traditional Western religion, morality, and philosophy affected generations of theologians, philosophers, psychologists, poets, novelists, and playwrights.
(Courtesy of Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 2003 at pagesperso-orange.fr)


Book cover of The Birth of Tragedy
Sourced from amazon.co.uk
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


His father died when the boy was only four years old. He was thereafter brought up in a house filled with women, which meant that he was outdoors, exploring his world constantly. By the age of 12, the local schools new they had a genius among them, and Nietzsche won a scholarship to Pforta, a renowned school in Germany. While there, he met several new friends whom he would revere for the rest of his life. He also received a thorough education in the classics, which would lay the foundation of his future studies. By the end of his schooling, Friedrich found that he could no longer accept Christianity. Following his boarding school days, he enrolled in Bonn in the mid 1860s.
After moving from Bonn, he followed a good friend to Leipzig and there acquired syphilis, a disease that would plague him for the rest of his days. But, he admits that this gave him the time away from people that he needed to complete his own work. He began being published in the field of philology, which garnished him national academic recognition. By the age of 24, he began a teaching career at the university without having graduated. Nietzsche became friends and an eventual enemy of Wagner, the musical genius. In fact, Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy, was highly influenced by Wagner�s own interpretations.
(Lenin Imports)
Nietzsche described how at the end of October 1865 he discovered Schopenhauer and turned to philosophy: "I lingered at that time, with painful experiences and disappointments, without any aid, and lonely, without principles, without hopes and without any pleasant memory." Purely by coincidence, he says, in a second-hand bookshop he stumbled across Schopenhauer's opus magnum. A daemon had whispered to him that he must purchase the book of this "dark genius", who had heretofore been "completely unknown" to him.
Schopenhauer had gripped him immediately, had driven him to exercises of "grim self-contempt" and excesses of "self-torture" and "self-hate": "I also tormented my body. Thus for fourteen days in succession I forced myself to go to bed as late as two o'clock a.m. and to get up again at six o'clock a.m." He saw himself in danger of madness: "I was seized by a nervous excitedness, and who could tell to what degree of foolishness I had progressed". These self-mortifications, the strict regimen of study, and Schopenhauer's thoughts finally helped him to get himself out of this terrible situation. In the subsequent weeks and months he was "born to be a philologist". It seems, however, that he was instead driven to philology by inner misery and circumstantial determinants. In fact, at this time Nietzsche was born to become -- a passionate philosopher.
(Bernd A. Laska at LRS)


Friedrich Nietzsche
From the series"The ill Nietzsche"
by Hans Olde, June - August 1899
Original at Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv Weimar
From commons.wikimedia.org


Friedrich Nietzsche
From abolitionist.com


From 18th Century to 19th Century, two important events were happening: The Industrial Revolution and Romanticism. During the Industrial Revolution, the philosophies of the Enlightenment began to have dramatic effects which included a new generation of philosophers born who began to question the aftermath of the wars and revolution that had ended. In Nietzsche’s point of view, he began to see moral values beginning to fall into what is called the “nihilism.”
(jspivey.wikispaces.com)
Friedrich Nietzsche worked endlessly in an attempt to find new meaning for human existence. He said that men must have a value system on which to base their beliefs and behaviors. He attacked the Jewish-Christian world in his book The Anti-Christ and A Genealogy of Morals. He wrote that it was man's own job now to learn self-mastery, control, and to provide his own values, and if done properly, would bring great satisfaction and reveal creative endeavors never before seen. He believed that man should not condemn self-assertion or pervert his own bodily needs. He felt that a guilt-ridden conscious was worthless for man's advancement.
(Lenin Imports)
He was one of the most remarkable philosophers of all time, irrespective or whether he happened to have written in the nineteenth century. In fact, he has more in common with pre-Socratic thinkers like Heraclitus, born two and a half thousand years ago on Ephesos in the Aegean. Did not Aristotle gloss his great work, On Nature, in order to inform us that seething beneath all agency is the reality of Fire … or pure energy? Yet another example of the fact that ancient theory and modern physics seem to run on parallel lines.
Nietzsche – to speak of his own life – came from a long line of Lutheran pastors, and there remains a decidedly Protestant cast to his thought. Born in 1844, he specialized in classical philology, wrote his thesis on Theognis, an aristocratic radical, and found himself offered a professorship at the tender age of 24! Enoch Powell happened to be granted a similar academic posting, in Australia, at the same age. Nor need it surprise us that Powell was heavily influenced by Nietzsche, before a decisive turn back to Anglicanism a la T.S. Eliot.
Contrary to democratic license, he sees life as quintessentially divided into masters and slaves. Which group do you identify with, or, in the words of the Kentucky miners’ anthem from the nineteen-forties, ‘whose side are you on, boy, whose side are you on?’ To follow: he notates Will to Power, or desire to control energy within a form, as a relocation of teleology or future perfect.
(An examination of Friedrich Nietzsche’s thought at JONATAHANBOWDEN)
Nietzsche maintained that all human behavior is motivated by the will to power. In its positive sense, this will to power is not simply power over others, but the power over oneself that is necessary for creativity. Such power is manifested in the overman's independence, creativity, and originality. Nietzsche believed that no 'overmen' had yet arisen, although he mentions several figures of history who might serve as models. He suggests Socrates, Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Goethe, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon.This concept of the overman has often been interpreted as one of a master-slave society and has been readily identified with totalitarian philosophies. There is no doubt that Adolf Hitler and Nazism, for instance, were strongly influenced by Nietzsche's call for the rejection of traditional values and for the leadership of one bold and daring enough to have gone through a 'life-affirmation' of all influences culminating in the rejection of weak influences and a final affirmation of only positive, man-centred influences leading to a new and all-powerful 'superman'.
Here are some concepts very prevalent today which are at least strongly influenced by Nietzsche (not that he ever expressed such things quite this simply!) Please notice how some of these Nietzschean concepts later became merged and enmeshed with Freudism and are now very prevalent in modern psychology! Also note the inherent selfishness in these concepts:
1. The goal of life should be to find yourself. True maturity means discovering oneself - not helping others!
2. The highest virtue is to be true to oneself.
3. People should not hate or be embarrassed about their bodies but need to learn how to accept and integrate their physical selves with their minds - the mind and body make up our entire selves.
4. When you fall ill, your body is trying to tell you something; just stop and listen to the wisdom of your own body.
5. Knowledge and strength are greater virtues than humility and submission. Humility and submission should be rejected. If people are weak and submit easily they deserve to be strongly dominated!
6. Sexuality is not the opposite of virtue, but a natural gift that needs to be developed and integrated into a healthy, rounded life. Sexuality is a virtue in its own right.
7. Many people suffer from impaired self-esteem; they need to work on being proud of themselves.
8. Overcoming feelings of guilt is an important step to mental health. Guilt feelings must be eradicated!
9. You can't love someone else if you don't love yourself. First love yourself, then you may love others.
10. Life is short; experience it as intensely as you can otherwise it is wasted. Reject the voice of caution!
11. People's values are shaped by the cultures they live in; as society changes we need changed values. It is simply idiotic to attempt to live by the values of another age or society!
The irony in all this, of course, is that though Nietzsche claimed that his recommended path would lead to good mental health, he spent the last ten years of his life suffering from serious illness from which he never recovered! Does this not suggest that the man himself did not know and understand the path to good mental health?
Many regarded Nietzsche as having helped cause German militarism during two world wars. Nietzsche was popular among left-wing Germans in the 1890s. Many Germans read Thus Spoke Zarathustra and were influenced by Nietzsche's appeal of unlimited individualism, the development of a personality and the need to cast off the "moral influences" from another age and society. The enormous popularity of Nietzsche led to the subversion debate in German politics in 1894/1895. Conservatives initially wanted to ban the work of Nietzsche. Nietzsche influenced the Social-democratic revisionists, anarchists, feminists and the left-wing German youth movement. But later, mainly during the 1930s, Nietzsche also became a darling of right wing politicians (this had taken much longer) and Nietzscheism came to be absolutely endemic in the 'master race' concept of the Nazis. Aspects of Nietzsche's thought were embraced by the Nazis and the Italian Fascists, partly due to the encouragement of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche through her connections with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. It proved possible for the Nazi interpreters to assemble, albeit quite selectively, certain passages from Nietzsche's writings which could be employed to justify war, aggression and domination for the sake of nationalistic and even racial self-glorification.
Nobody can deny that Nietzsche's writings have been used as justification for attempting to rid the world of certain ethnic groups since they were seen as degenerate and/ or non-Superman material. Within Nietzsche's theories, willing reliance on an ancient religion and a refusal to consider a man-centred 'life-affirmation' tended to denote a degenerate people and this was 'meat and drink' to those who would seek to eliminate certain ethnic groups from society. This happened in Nazi Germany on a truly horrendous scale (six million Jews before we even start considering other racial groups whose only misfortune was that they happened to be living in Europe during the late 30s and early 40s) and even more recently in the Balkans. This man was also probably one of the chief influences in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Nietzsche was widely-read in the universities of the 50s and 60s and the sexual revolution certainly developed from there. Neither can anybody deny that elements of this German's philosophy have even filtered through into some of the more worrying aspects of modern psychology, i.e., those elements which encourage what we can only refer to as 'the new self'. 'The new self' (in true Nietzschean style) places the individual right at the centre of the universe and insists that the individual has a perfect right to not only happiness and contentment, but even total self-aggrandizement, moreover modern psychology encourages the challenging of all previously accepted traditions and accepted standards of behaviour. Nietzsche has his apologists, those who claim that he was a great writer and a great intellect who should not be wholly associated with such things as the justification for war, or for gross immorality or gross cruelty.
(Robin A. Brace, 2006 at ukapologetics.net)
A useful way to begin a description of Nietzsche's thought is to ask how he defined the self. It was the predominant view in Western philosophy that human beings have a twofold nature--a nature composed of a mind and a body--and that there is a constant struggle between these two components, a struggle that ideally results in the dominance of the mind over the body. It is this dualistic view of human nature which Nietzsche combats throughout his philosophy; he calls this dualism "childish." The mature view, according to him, consists in recognizing that mind and body are one, and that what is called the mind or the soul is nothing but one aspect of the basically physical nature of human beings. The mind, according to Nietzsche, is one of the many organs that the body uses to survive, and which is thus under the over-all control of the physical organism as a whole. In the chapter called "On the Despisers of the Body" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra Nietzsche wrote:
“Body am I, and soul”—thus speaks the child. And why should one not speak like children?
But the awakened and knowing say: body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body.
The body is a great reason, a plurality with one sense, a war and a peace, a herd and a shepherd.
An instrument of your body is also your little reason, my brother, which you call “spirit”--a little instrument and toy of your great reason.
Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage—whose name is self. In your body he dwells; he is your body.
There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. And who knows why your body needs precisely your best wisdom?
(faculty.frostburg.edu)


The Nietzsche Archives in Weimar, Germany
The residence of Nietzsche's last three years
Author DWRZ David Wen Riccardi-Zhu
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TIMELINE:
1844 - Born on the 15th of October.
1854 - He began to attend the Domgymnasium in Naumburg.
1864 - Nietzsche commenced studies in theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn.
1865 - Nietzsche became acquainted with the work of Arthur Schopenhauer.
1866 - He read Friedrich Albert Lange's Geschichte des Materialismus.
1867 - Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg.
1870-1871 - He served on the Prussian side during the Franco-Prussian War.
1872 - Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music.
1873-1876 - Nietzsche published separately four long essays: David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, Schopenhauer as Educator, and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.
1882 - Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science.
1885 - He printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra, and distributed only a fraction of these among close friends, including Helene von Druskowitz.
1886 - Nietzsche broke with his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted over his anti-Semitic opinions.
1887 - Nietzsche quickly wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morality.
1889 - On the 3rd of January, Nietzsche exhibited signs of a serious mental illness.
1900 - On the 25th of August, Nietzsche died after contracting pneumonia.
(s9.com)



PEASANT IMAGERY




Clipart image of Jules Breton
From Clipart ETC


Jules Breton (1827-1906)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Don Kurtz
From ARC


One idea at the core of nineteenth century painting is known as the Theory of Sacrifices. A poetic quality, it was believed, comes from the sacrifice of needless detail. As one writer put it: “Nature instills sentiments in the spectator through the selective sacrifice of details in order to improve the overall effect.”
Jules Adolphe Breton said: “Painters without experience often weaken the effect they wish to produce by a prodigality which multiplies uselessly the figures and accessories of a picture. It will not be long before they learn that, the greater the conciseness and simplicity with which a thought is interpreted, the more it gains in expressive force.”
(James Gurney at Gurney Journey)

Courtesy of the Don Kurtz
As one of the primary painters of peasant themes in the nineteenth century, and an artist strongly influenced by his own native traditions from northern France, Jules Breton’s reputation rivaled that of Eugène Delacroix or Jean-Dominique Ingres at the time of his death in 1906. Since then, after a long period of relative obscurity, Breton has returned to considerable favor; he is now regarded as a primary painter of daily life with an inherent and substantial understanding of the old masters form the Italian renaissance especially Raphael. The latter artists helped Breton fashion a highly idealist version of peasant beauty. By examining Breton’s background, it will be possible to understand how he evolved as an artist.
(Rehs Galleries, Inc)
Jules Adolphe Aimé Louis Breton was born on May 1, 1827 in Courrières, a small Pas-de-Calais village. His father, Marie-Louis Breton, supervised land for a wealthy landowner. His mother died when Jules was 4 and he was brought up by his father. Other family members who lived in the same house were his maternal grandmother and his uncle Boniface Breton. A respect for tradition, a love of the land and for his native region remained central to his art throughout his life and provided the artist with many scenes for his Salon compositions.
His first artistic training was not far from Courrières at the College St. Bertin near St. Omer. He met the painter Félix de Vigne in 1842 who, impressed by his youthful talent, persuaded his family to let him study art. Breton left for Ghent in 1843 where he continued to study art at the Academy of Fine Arts with de Vigne and the painter Hendrik Van der Haert. In 1846, Breton moved to Antwerp where he took lessons with Baron Gustaf Wappers and spent some time copying the works of Flemish masters. In 1847, he left for Paris where he hoped to perfect his artistic training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
In Paris he studied in the atelier of the Michel Martin Drolling. He met and became friends with several of the Realist painters, including François Bonvin and Gustave Brion and his early entries at the Paris Salon reflected their influence. His first efforts were in historical subjects: Saint Piat preaching in Gaul then, under the influence of the revolution of 1848, he represented Misery and Despair. The Salon displayed his painting Misery and Despair in 1849 and Hunger in 1850-51.
Both paintings have since been destroyed. After Hunger was successfully shown in Brussels and Ghent, Breton moved to Belgium where he met his future wife Elodie. Elodie was the daughter of his early teacher Félix de Vigne. In 1852, Breton returned to France. But he had discovered that he was not born to be a historical painter, and he returned to the memories of nature and of the country which were impressed on him in early youth. In 1853 he exhibited Return of the Reapers, the first of numerous rural peasant scenes influenced by the works of the Swiss painter Léopold Robert. Breton's interest in peasant imagery was well-established from then on and what he is best known for today.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Le Rappel des Glaneuses, 1859
The Recall of the Gleaners
From commons.wikimedia.org


Roberto Fabris' photostream at flickr


The Last Gleanings
Oil on canvas
Private collection
From MUSEUM SYNDICATE


Glaneuses
From le web pedagogique


He returned to Paris in 1859 and shared a studio at 53 rue Notre Dame des Champs with Delalleau. Perhaps his most important work of the 1850s, Le Rappel des Glaneuses (The Recall of the Gleaners) was awarded a first class medal at the 1859 Salon and was also sent to international exhibitions in Vienna and Luxembourg. This work was inspired by his sojourn in Marlotte on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau. In 1861 he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (promoted to Officer in 1867).
While many immediately recall Breton’s peasant figures when they think of the artist, this was not his only interest, nor did his interests remain unchanged throughout his artistic career. He wrote that:
"The too prolonged sight of the same objects in the end dulls the emotions. The mind constantly revolving in the same circle of observation loses its elasticity. The peasant no longer inspired me as formerly, and my imagination exhausted itself in chimerical dreams.”
(Reh GALLERIES, INC.)


Les Vendanges A Chateau-Lagrange
The Grape Harvest at the Chateau-Lagrange
Oil on canvas
Private collection
From ARC


The Vintage at Chateau Lagrange
Oil on canvas, 1864
Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha, Nebraska, United States)
From torredahistoriaiberica


Feeling without inspiration, he was invited by Count Duchâtel, one of Louis Phillipe’s former ministers, in 1862 to the Médoc region in southern France to paint a vintage at Château Lagrange (Les Vendages à Château-Lagrange - The Vintage at Chateau Lagrange was later exhibited at the 1864 Salon, a painting now in the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Nebraska). He had the opportunity to travel through southern France and found Arles a most remarkable city. Of this experience Breton wrote “What remained in my mind of all the keen emotions awakened in it by the scenery of the South? Nothing which I could profit by, as far as my art was concerned, but enough to make me admire anew, and more enthusiastically than before, the simple sylvan beauty that surrounded me.” From 1865 on, he also visited Brittany on several occasions, each time focusing his pictorial interest on the people working the land and local traditions such as the frequent religious pilgrimages. Works inspired by his time in Brittany – he often returned to Douarnenez during this period - form a large and important portion of Breton’s oeuvre. In 1867 he exhibited ten paintings at the Exposition Universelle and was given a first-place medal. Although he suggests that he was losing interest in depictions of peasant life, his work had come to be recognized as an idealized version of it, which appealed to the Second Empire public and government officials who wanted to reference the tranquil nature of these works which shifted attention away from the real issues that Paris faced. Increasingly, many of his paintings have overt and covert references to work from the Italian Renaissance, especially imagery by Raphael.
Breton’s work in the 1870s should be viewed against the backdrop of the Franco-Prussian war. In Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition (New York: The Arts Publisher, Inc: 1982, pg. 16), Hollister Sturges highlights the changes in Breton’s work in response to these influences:
"The rising importance of naturalism in French painting and the nationalist sentiment following the Franco-Prussian War were the most important external forces influencing the development of Breton’s work in the 1870s. While he continued to interpret rustic life with the blend of poetic sentiment, elevated style, and realistic observation that earned him so much acclaim during the Second Empire, two new, even opposing, tendencies can be seen in his work of this decade. He made his classicized peasants more monumental than those in even his most ambitious earlier works, and he painted them in a more naturalistic, vigorous, less controlled fashion."
(Reh GALLERIES, INC.)


The Reapers
Oil on canvas
Private collection
From ARC


The Song of the Lark
Oil on canvas, 1884
The Art Institute of Chicago
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Jules Breton's Song of the Lark has long been a popular artwork in the Art Institute's collection. This was particularly the case in the 1930s, when the painting was judged America's Best Loved Picture in a contest sponsored by the Chicago Daily News. When the contest winner was announced in 1934, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt unveiled the painting at a ceremony held at the museum.
(THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO)

The Solitary Reaper:
(William Wordsworth)
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?--
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;--
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
(A Poem for the Day - "The Solitary Reaper" By William Wordsworth, 1805 at lonebearimagesprose.blogspot)

Paper Bell said at lonebearimagesprose.blogspot:
"It is a lot of fun to stand in front of it and channel Thea Kronberg (from _Song of the Lark_): “That was her picture. She imagined that nobody cared for it but herself, and that it waited for her. That was a picture indeed. She even liked the name of it, ‘The Song of the Lark.’ The flat country, the early morning light, the wet fields, the look in the girl’s heavy face—well, they were all hers, anyhow, what-ever was there. She told herself that that picture was ‘right.’ Just what she meant by this, it would take a clever person to explain. But to her the word covered almost the boundless satisfaction she felt when she looked at the picture.”

The Song of the Lark:
(Jean Parkes)
From the rustic village pleasant
Came a sturdy working peasant
Now she stops to listen. Hark!
Hear the pretty warbling lark.
Now the lark is soaring high
Disappearing in the sky.
Peasant pictures he did paint
The artist thought them very quaint.
(By Jean Parkes at Book of short Stories)

Alex Jimenez said at RICHARD HARRISON VALLEY:
"Growing up in Chicago I had the opportunity to visit some of the world’s greatest museums – which included frequent visits to The Art Institute of Chicago. There are incredible works of art there, but one always caught my attention: The Song of the Lark by Jules Adolphe Breton. I didn’t realize what it was about the painting that fascinated me until college. In the background of the painting, there is an orange sun setting. When you take a macro look at the painting, the size of the sun is pretty insignificant. But, if you were to take it out, the painting wouldn’t be as effective in portraying the sadness on this woman’s face. It inspires me to know that one small, seemingly insignificant detail can convey an idea as grand as sadness."


Summer, 1891
From commons.wikimedia.org


Raccommodeuse de Filets
(Mending the Nets)
Oil on canvas
From DAPHNE ALAZRAKI FINE ART


Breton’s depiction of a woman mending a net offers a vision of rustic beauty that is serene, harmonious, and imbued with poetic sentiment. The peasant girl is expertly rendered in traditional clothing, as she goes about her chore in contemplative silence at the shoreline. As a highly regarded painter of peasant landscapes, Breton was one of the most celebrated artists of his generation. He was strongly influenced by Millet and the Barbizon School, but romanticized the peasants he painted and concentrated on idealized compositions.
(DAPHNE ALAZRAKI FINE ART)


Washerwomen of the Breton Coast
From goldenagepaintings.blogspot.com


Polly Sartori, Director of Sotheby's 19th Century Paintings, said, “We achieved a strong sale total of $10.8 million with a selective offering of important works. Collectors continue to be interested in high quality pictures, and we saw great interest leading up to the sale; however we did see caution among bidders and a higher unsold rate than usual. Four bidders competed for John Frederick Lewis’s The Kibab Shop, which sold for $3.4 million, the second highest price ever paid for a work by the artist and our highest price for a 19th Century painting in New York since spring of 2006. To sell a painting at this level in this new market is a wonderful accomplishment.”
Among the highlights were a number of recently rediscovered works by artists such as Giovanni Boldini, Ludwig Deutsch, and Jules Breton, including his Washerwomen of the Breton Coast, which had been lost since the 1890s (est. $400/600,000). The Washerwomen was one of the first major Breton pictures to enter an American collection, purchased most likely in the early 1870s by Edwin Denison Morgan, Governor of New York during the beginning of the Civil War, and trusted advisor to Abraham Lincoln. Morgan promoted Breton’s reputation in America (as well as his own as a major collector) by sharing his impressive art collection with friends in his Washington, D.C. and New York homes, where The Washerwomen was a visitors’ favorite. After Morgan’s death, the painting was sold in his estate sale to another wealthy New York financier. Despite the importance of the work to Breton’s early career, his American reputation, and the power of the men who first owned it, by the turn of the 20th Century the painting had disappeared from view and record – only to emerge recently in a private French collection. The Washerwomen of the Breton Coast’s exhibition at Sotheby’s New York was the first public viewing in the United States in over 130 years.
(Art Knowledge News)
Throughout his career, which spanned nearly sixty years, Breton painted with an idealistic vision of the beauty and harmony of the peasant laborer working the land. In tune with these thoughts, he lived a life of sober regularity - sure and balanced without serious conflict or great difficulty. His later years were spent balancing time between the busy energetic life of Paris and the tranquility and serenity of Courrières, where he worked in a garden studio at the family brewery. Breton died in Paris on July 4, 1906.
(DAPHNE ALAZRAKI FINE ART)


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

WE MUST BE FREE TO BECOME FREER



Understanding freedom is hard enough. What is much harder is to understand liberation, or how we become free. We may freely choose to become free. In some the paradox is stark enough to be a vicious circle: that we must be free in order to become free. On occasion we find the paradox so starkly that the unfree are criticized, blamed, or held responsible for their unfreedom, as if they were free to become free even when unfree. It seems paradoxical to expect the unfree to use the freedom they lack to liberate themselves. Isn't it unfair to demand that the unfree free themselves? Why isn't it like asking the unjustly imprisoned to release themselves? If we discover that liberation is a vicious circle, then we will have to conclude that freedom is unattainable (at least through liberation). If we discover that the circle is not vicious, then we will have learned more about the complexity of freedom —and of the means of acquiring it.
In Elbow Room, Daniel Dennett describes a kind of free will sufficient for moral responsibility, but entirely compatible with a naturalistic world-view, in which all things —except at the quantum level— are causally determined. Though we are determined, determinism does not negate control or self-control. Moreover, the control we can exert means that the past does not control us, that we can use our control to enhance our control, that our actions cannot be predicted, at least by ourselves, and that the future is (epistemologically if not metaphysically) open.
In rejecting Kant's dual-aspect theory in favor of a nuanced determinism in which we are among the determinants of our own conduct, Dennett concludes that our characters are partly the product of determination by environmental and genetic causes, and partly the product of our own skills in making plans, pursuing them, evaluating and changing ourselves, and seeking and avoiding certain situations. These skills in turn have the same dual explanation. While our deliberation about our options and plans plays an ineliminable role in determining which life we live, an element of luck cannot be denied either. Some are born with more opportunities, and some catch more lucky breaks during life. The element of luck, however, does not rule out moral responsibility.
We make ourselves and should be held responsible for the selves that we are as adults. But clearly luck helps some and hinders others in the task of making a moral self with a desirable measure of self-control and fellow feeling. How do we evaluate the case of a man who through bad luck and perhaps also bad will made himself more vicious than virtuous?
In On Liberty (1859), Mill shows that the paradox of liberation applies to political liberty as much as to individual freedom of will. For Mill a free society is one which has overcome both the tyranny of bad laws and the tyranny of public opinion. We must tolerate all forms of speech and expression except those which are equivalent to actions in the harm they cause. We must tolerate the free circulation of falsehood, advocacy of crime, and all sorts of corrupt and immoral ideas, partly because they might be true and justified and partly because the suppression of ideas known to be false or dangerous is worse than their circulation. We must also tolerate liberty in personal conduct. The benefit of all this toleration is greater likelihood that we will discover truth and correct error, reduced likelihood that hard-won truths will atrophy into "dead dogmas", diversity and the free development of individuality.
So how does a society achieve (further) liberation? How do we advance the next increment of toleration and liberty? Mill's answer is that the small-mindedness which criticizes individuality and difference, rather than tolerating them, slowly melts in the heat of vigorous public discussion. If many different standpoints are expressed, and many lifestyles are lived, then this form of public education will slowly overcome provincialism and its accompanying inclinations to censorship, intolerance, and paternalism. In short, liberty improves us.
Liberty, then, is the path to greater liberty. Our best chance for expanding the scope of toleration and liberty in the future is to practice toleration and liberty now. Since every individual is a source of potential tyranny (through opinion), every individual must be educated to wider toleration; but this is best done by exposure to a diversity of standpoints and examples. We must be free to become freer. The process is clearly circular. The only reason it is not vicious is that Mill does not call on the utterly unfree to exercise their freedom. We needn't be free before we are free. Instead, we must use the modicum of freedom we have to nurture the enlarged freedom we desire.
For the civilized, liberation lies through paradox, but the paradox is not strong. We use our freedom to enhance our freedom —and if we don't, then good riddance to us. Over time, the increase in liberty transforms human nature from intolerance to tolerance. People in his day are "but starved specimens of what nature can and will produce".
(Adapted from The Paradox of Liberation, Peter Suber, Philosophy Department, Earlham College at earlham.edu)


Friday, December 25, 2009

ONE PAINTS WITH FEELING




Selfportrait with glasses
Oil on canvas
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Visipix
From ARC


Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was born in the Paris artists' quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on November 2, 1699. As the oldest son of a master carpenter, who produced billiard tables for the king, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was obviously expected to take over the father's business and was therefore trained as a carpenter. Soon, however, it turned out, that his talent as a painter surmounted his skills as a craftsman.His father therefore sent Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin to Pierre-Jacques Craze's studio when he was 19 years old. He continued his education as an artist under Noël-Nicolas Coypel, who aroused his interest in still life. In spite of these apprentice years, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin remained largely an autodidact. In 1724 Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin became a master of the 'Sint Lucas Gilde'.
(ART directory)
Modest in scale and muted in palette, Chardin's still lifes of kitchen utensils and foodstuffs presented a naturalistic alternative to the more decorative Rococo aesthetic that prevailed in the early to mid eighteenth century. During the late 1720s and 1730s, Chardin painted a series of about thirty modest, small-scale still lifes of kitchen utensils and foodstuffs, in both horizontal and vertical formats. The compositions draw from a limited repertoire of everyday objects, and adduce no superfluous details or anecdotal references. They focus instead on the simple forms of the objects, the nature of their materials, and variable reflections of light. In the development of these works, Chardin's style gradually became more fluid and painterly, less minutely detailed than in his earlier still lifes.
(M. E. Wieseman at ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM)


Still Life with Pestle, Bowl, Copper Cauldron, Onions and a Knife
Oil on canvas
Musee Cognacq-Jay (Paris, France)
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard
From ARC


Still Life with Copper Cauldron and Eggs
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard
From ARC


The Fast Day Meal
Oil on copper
Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard.
From ARC


Still Life with Carafe, Silver Goblet and Fruit
Oil on canvas
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard
From ARC


The Silver Cup
Oil on canvas
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Visipix
From ARC


Still-Life with Pipe and Jug
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


Still-Life with Jar of Olives
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)
this image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


The Governess
Oil on canvas, 1739
National Museum (Stockholm, Sweden)
Source allartpainting.com
From Wikimedia Commons


Still Life with a Rib of Beef
Oil on canvas
Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin, Ohio, USA)
This image is courtesy of the Michael Talibard
From ARC


Still Life with a Rib of Beef (above) embodies perfectly the subtle, understated nature of these profoundly simple pictures. The muted, almost monochromatic palette is offset by the red flesh of the hanging meat and the white napkin draped over the table edge at left. Several of the objects represented in the painting--the copper cauldron and the earthenware jug, the long-handled skimmer--appear in other, similar compositions by the artist.
There are several versions known of Still Life with a Rib of Beef; indeed, many of Chardin's kitchen still lifes from the 1730s exist in multiple autograph versions (i.e., copies made by the artist himself). Chardin was evidently a slow and painstaking craftsman, keen on achieving the precise harmonies of light and texture that distinguish his work. The artist's contemporaries observed that his paintings resulted from a long, evolutionary process of meditation, decision, and revision, and collectors often became impatient waiting for the completion of their paintings. Chardin's decision to repeat certain compositions--sometimes incorporating very minor adjustments or alterations--took advantage of the effort invested in attaining a successful formula, and also efficiently handled the growing demand for his works.
A version of the Oberlin composition in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, signed and dated 1730 and thus among Chardin's earliest dated still lifes of kitchen utensils, is generally accepted as the primary version of this work. The Oberlin painting is regarded as an autograph replica of the Bordeaux painting, in which the somewhat hesitant brushwork and distracting highlights of the earlier version have been better resolved, and the overall execution is much neater and tighter. The Bordeaux Still Life with a Rib of Beef was probably originally paired with the Still Life with Ray and Basket of Onions, dated 1731, now in The North Carolina Museum of Art. The latter painting exists in as many as nine versions; none, however, have been specifically linked to the painting at Oberlin.
(M. E. Wieseman at ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM)


The Ray
Oil on canvas, 1728
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


His paintings are characterised by subdued colours and mellow lighting. He used thick, layered brush strokes and luminous glazes to create a realistic texture. His subjects have a feel of being captured in time. In Pierre Rosenberg's words: "The world that Chardin imposes on his figures is a closed world, a stopped world... a world at rest, a world of infinite duration."
He had many patrons, including King Louis XV, who gave him an apartment in Louvre and a pension. From 1734 to 1751, he painted scenes from everyday life before turning his attention to still life paintings. Between 1771 and 1775, due to failing eyesight he drew portraits in pastel crayons, which though not very popular then, are now considered the finest of their kind.
Chardin's passion for honesty in the face of the opulence of the time drew admiration from thinkers like Denis Diderot who wrote: "Welcome back, great magician, with your mute compositions! How eloquently they speak to the artist! How much they tell him about the representation of nature, the science of colour and harmony! How freely the air flows around these objects!"
(MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER at THE HINDU)


Die Morgentoilette
National Museum Stockholm
Source The Yorck Project
From Wikimedia Commons


The Draughtsman
Oil on wood, 1737
Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


The House of Cards
Oil on wood, 1736-1737
National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC, USA))
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


Girl Peeling Vegetables
Oil on canvas,
Alte Pinakothek (Munich, Bavaria, Germany)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


Return from the market
All images from artinthepicture.com


The Laundress
Oil on canvas, c1730-c1740
Hermitage (St Petersburg, Russian Federation)
This image is courtesy of the Michael Talibard
From ARC


The Young Schoolmistress
Oil on canvas, c1736
National Gallery (London, United Kingdom)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


The Soap Bubble
Oil on canvas, c1739
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Manhattan, New York, USA)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


The Prayer before Meal
Oil on canvas, 1744
Hermitage (St Petersburg, Russian Federation)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


Here we see the striking difference between Chardin and painters like Boucher. Chardin stresses deserving and hidden virtues, the contented life of duty, and clean and well-fitting humble dresses - not the coquetry of marquises, garden luncheons, and moonlit promenades.
A circle of figures look at one another and the shape is repeated in the tablecloth and the dishes, part of the circle of tenderness that is work's chief subject. The theme is an old one: a mother teaches her children to recite a prayer before the meal.
A work of simple composition and refined execution, treating a subject of deliberate banality, Grace was an immediate success. The moralization of the subject, exaltation of a simple family life, and palpable intimacy explain the philosopher Diderot's great enthusiasm for Chardin's genre scenes.
Exhibited at the Salon of 1740, this genre scene was purchased by Louis XV and remained in the royal collections until the French Revolution; it then entered the Muséum Central des Arts, which would later become the Louvre, in 1793. A replica of this work, with slight differences, was part of the Dominique Vivant-Denon Collection before being bequeathed to the Louvre in 1869 by Dr. Louis La Caze.
(LOUVRE)


Self-Portrait with an Eye-Shade
Pastel on blue paper, 1775
Louvre, Paris, France
From Olga's Gallery


Madame Chardin
Pastel on blue paper, 1775
Louvre, Paris, France
From ARTCHIVE


By general consent, Jean Siméon Chardin was one of the supreme artists of the eighteenth century and probably the greatest master of still life in the history of painting. Yet there has never been a full dress retrospective of his work, and to mark the 200th anniversary of his death, at the age of eighty in 1779, a huge Chardin show has opened in Paris [review dates from 1979]. Organized by Pierre Rosenberg of the Louvre, it is the kind of exhibit that assigns the Tuts and Pompeiis to the category of show biz trivia where they belong.
To see Chardin's work en masse, in the midst of a period stuffed with every kind of jerky innovation, narcissistic blurting and trashy "relevance," is to be reminded that lucidity, deliberation, probity and calm are still the chief virtues of the art of painting. Chardin has long been a painter's painter, studied and when his work was cheap, coIlected by other artists. He deeply affected at least three of the founders of modern art, Cezanne, Matisse and Braque. Van Gogh compared his depth to Rembrandt's. What seized them in his work was not the humility of his subject matter so much as its ambition as pure painting. The mediation between the eye and the world that Chardin's canvases propose is inexhaustible.
Were he judged merely as a social recorder, he would not have a special place in art history. One does not need to be a historian to know how narrow his field of social vision was. He ignored the public ostentation of his time, as well as the private misery. Most of his paintings are condensed sonnets in praise of the middle path, idealizing the sober life of the Parisian petite bourgeoisie as embodied in his own household. He is said to have had a chirpy sense of humor, and there is certainly a sly irony in his singeries, or monkey paintings, in which hairy little parodies of man play at being painters and connoisseurs.
He did not travel for nourishment. Apart from trips to Versailles, Chardin may not have left Paris once in his life. He was entirely a metropolitan man, and this fact seems oddly at variance with his paintings, since, as Pierre Rosenberg remarks, "one would like to imagine Chardin a solitary individual, a provincial."
(Robert Hughes, "Nothing If Not Critical" at ARTCHIVE)


Monday, December 21, 2009

THE MAN WHO SAW LIGHTNING



Olympic gold medalist and record-breaking track and field star Bob Beamon was born on August 29, 1946, in Jamaica, New York. When he was eight months old, his mother, Naomi Brown Beamon, died of tuberculosis. Because his stepfather was incarcerated, Beamon's maternal grandmother, Bessie, became his primary caregiver.
From elatleta.com
Beamon's childhood was set against a background of violence, gangs and drugs. During a fight at school, Beamon struck a teacher and was expelled. He was sent to a juvenile detention center and then an alternative school for delinquents in New York. At this school, he learned discipline and began to look away from street culture. Beamon used sports as a means to focus his attention and energy toward positive goals. He regularly broke track records at the local and state levels. After graduating from high school, Beamon attended North Carolina A&T to be close to his ill grandmother. When she died, he transferred to the University of Texas-El Paso, a school with a prominent track and field team.
In 1968, Beamon qualified for the Olympics in Mexico City. Four months before, he had been suspended from the University of Texas-El Paso track team for refusing to compete against Brigham Young University, a Mormon college with racist policies. This left Beamon without a coach. However, Olympian Ralph Boston began to coach him unofficially On October 18, 1968.
(Bob Beamon Biography - Sponsored by: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation at thehistorymakers.com)


Ralph Boston and Bob beamon
From elatleta.com


From AOL Sport
"I was lucky because my grandmother stepped up for me and said she would take responsibility for me. A compassionate juvenile judge took a chance and gave me one. They were getting ready to send me away to do real time, but they sent me instead to a juvenile alternative day school. And I guess that was the beginning of my turnaround."
What a turnaround it was. Bob Beamon would go from being a gang leader and adjudicated juvenile delinquent to performing what is considered one of the most spectacular athletic achievements ever.
(Juvenile Justice Bulletin, May 2000)




Images from elatleta.com


The greatest Olympic feats to date
World record-setting long jump of 8.90 m (29 feet, 2 1/2 inches)
Summer Olympics in Mexico City, October 18, 1968
Beamon out-leaped the former record by 55 cm, or 21 3/4 inches
From SI VAULT


olympics.sportinglife.com




Images from elatleta.com


By hermaxi at panoramio.com


Robert (Bob) Beamon became the first man to pass the 28 and 29 feet mark as he bettered the old record by 21.75 inches, or 55 centimetres. To put that into perspective, in the previous 33 years, the world record had been improved by just 22cm from Jesse Owen's 8.13m in 1935 to Igor Ter-Ovanesyan's 8.35m in 1967.
Beamon's 8.90m jump had to be measured manually as the technology on hand could not cope with such a distance. Detractors point to the fact that Beamon's jump was achieved at altitude where the thinner air helps athletes who compete in sprinting and jumping events and that he had a following wind of 2.0m per second, which is the maximum allowed for a world record to stand. It was just his day and it was one of those glorious moments in sport where everything clicks.
He never came close to matching his record, 8.22m being the furthest he achieved in the rest of his career, but his record lasted an incredible 23 years before compatriot Mike Powell eclipsed it.
Powell's leap of 8.95m came in one of the finest long jump competitions of all time at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo when he beat team-mate Carl Lewis, who had been undefeated in his previous 65 competitions spanning a decade.
(Peter Scrivener at BBC SPORT)
From elatleta.com
In what is widely considered the greatest individual physical feat in human competition, 24 year-old, New Yorker Bob Beamon obliterated an Olympic/World Record in the long jump by a mind-bending two feet. Fellow American, Ralph Boston established the record years before at 27 feet, 43/4 inches, and it was Boston who coached Beamon through his record leap after he had failed to even qualify for a gold metal in two previous jumps. As the Mexico City crowd watched in stunned awe, Beamon tossed his 6-foot-3, 160-pound 8.90 meters -- 29 feet, 21/2 inches for the most lopsided destruction of a world record ever; a record that stood until Mike Powell leaped 2 inches farther at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. Two inches, not two feet!
(jamescampion.com)
When Mexico City was awarded the 1968 Games, other countries immediately complained, citing concerns over the host country's high altitude and extreme climate. At the city's altitude of 2,300 metres, the air contains 30 per cent less oxygen than at sea level. Low-lying countries feared this would put them at a huge disadvantage, especially in distance and endurance events. Those fears had foundation. The winning time in the 5,000m was the slowest in 16 years, and the winning times in the 3,000m steeplechase and 10,000m were the slowest in 20 years. The world record holder in the 10,000m, Ron Clarke of Australia, finished sixth, collapsed and fell unconscious for several minutes.
It almost didn't happen at all - Beamon teetered dangerously close to getting himself eliminated in the qualifying round. The six-foot-three American fouled - something he was quite prone to doing - on his first two attempts. Eschewing the practice of making checkmarks to help his stride in the run-up to the board, he took off way beyond the board on his first attempt. His second was also declared a foul, leaving him with one last throw of the dice. The world-record holder, Ralph Boston of the U.S., advised Beamon to relax and take off from a spot centimetres from the board. He qualified with room to spare.
Beamon was marked down to go fourth in the 17-competitor final. With the first three competitors fouling, he stood at the end of the runway for 20 seconds, telling himself to make it a good one. Whatever he said, it surely worked because he executed a perfect take off, flying through the air and into the history books.
Ralph Boston reportedly turned to the reigning long jump Olympic champion, Lyn Davies, and said: "That's over 28 feet."
"With his first jump, no it can't be," Davies retorted incredulously.
(CBC Sports)





Images from elatleta.com

From bouhouche.blogspot.com
When the result was flashed up on the board for all the world to see, Beamon, suddenly conscious of what he had just done, collapsed to the ground suffering what was later diagnosed as a catapletic seizure, a paralyzing physical reaction following great emotion. Davies and the other competitors were too shaken up at the enormity of what had happened to perform properly. East German Klaus Beer taking second almost an entire sand pit behind. Beamon never again conjured up such magic, but then again, he surely didn't need to.
(CBC Sports)





Beamon took 19 running steps before leaping six feet into the air. Beamon said he felt like he was suspended for an hour before he finally landed. His 8.9-meter jump was so long that the official measuring device, which only reached 8.6 meters, wasn't even long enough to measure it. The jump had to be measured manually, and it took half an hour before Beamon knew just how far he had flown. Beamon wasn't able to convert his result, which was measured in meters, into feet and inches, so he had no idea how far he had jumped. When a teammate informed him, he was so astounded at what he had done. As he collapsed to the ground in tears, Beamon realized that he had jumped one foot, 10.5 inches farther than his personal best. He entered the competition as a relatively unknown long jumper from Jamaica, N.Y., and he left Mexico City as a glorified Olympic gold medalist and world record holder.
(Christie Succop at teamusa.org)




Images from elatleta.com


Naturally some people were skeptical. Critics said Beamon's jump was aided by the thin air in Mexico City, a fast runway, and a wind of two meters per second, which is the maximum allowable speed for a record. But those defending Beamon asked: If the conditions were so perfect, why was Beamon the only athlete to perform so well?
After making his gold-medal-winning jump at the Games, Beamon didn't have much time to celebrate. He had to get back to class at the University of Texas at El Paso. He had grown up in a rough neighborhood, and during his childhood, attending college seemed out of the question. It became important to him to obtain a college degree. He eventually graduated from Adelphi University in 1972 with a degree in sociology.
The Olympian retired from competition before the 1972 Games. He was inducted in 1977 into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. When the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame was established in 1983, he was one of the first athletes to be inducted. The Olympian returned to the Games in Beijing last year to honor the 40th anniversary of his jump.
Although Mike Powell beat Beamon's world record in 1991 at the world championships, the now 63-year-old Beamon still holds the Olympic record for the long jump. And Beamon will go down in history as the person who shattered the previous record by almost two feet.
(Christie Succop at teamusa.org)
Following his Olympic triumph, Beamon went on to graduate from Adelphi University and entered a career in public relations first at a bank, then coaching college track, and later running Parks and Recreation programs in Miami-Dade, Florida. He has lived and worked in Mexico and Spain and has remained active in the Olympic movement. Along with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, he organized the South Florida Inner-City Games for at-risk kids and is Chairman of the Bob Beamon United Way Golf Classic, which benefits youth-related programs of the United Way. He is a member of the New York Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Olympic Hall of Fame and is in the ESPN's list of the top 100 athletes of the 20th Century.
Beamon's story did not end with his athletic gifts and accomplishments. Indeed, he has gone on to pursue new dreams. He operates his own corporation, Bob Beamon Communications Inc., in Miami, Florida where he now lives with his wife and daughter. He is an exhibited artist, has designed and marketed a successful line of neckties and spends much of his time as an inspirational speaker and corporate spokesman. He has developed his own motivational program, The Champion in You, in which he describes how, "Champions are made by the things you accomplish and by the way you use your abilities in everyday life situations." His autobiography, The Man Who Could Fly: The Bob Beamon Story, has just been published. Most recently, Beamon accepted an appointment as the Director of Athletic Development at Florida Atlantic University.
Beamon emphasizes that "we must all do our part to make sure children are a priority in our society." He concentrates on working with troubled kids, "trying to give something back." Acknowledging that, while some kids today are involved in more serious crimes and appear to be less attached to society, he says that "kids are still basically the same; they have the same needs and problems; they are kids; they need our love and attention."
(Juvenile Justice Bulletin, May 2000)


Mr. and Mrs. Bob BEAMON
From turin2006.com


A gift from the United States Olympic Committee, 2008
40th anniversary of his historic jump
From iceman9294's photostream at flickr


Bob Beamon at the IAAF Golden League Gaz de France meeting
Stade de France on July 18, 2008 in Paris, France
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe


2009 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Olympian Bob Beamon and his wife Rhonda
McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, August 12, 2009
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images North America

Records Held:
World Record: Long Jump - 8.90 m (1968 - 1991)

Championships:
1968 Olympics: Long Jump - 8.90 m (1st)
1968 AAU: Long Jump (1st)
1968 Olympic Trials: Long Jump (1st)
1969 AAU: Long Jump (1st)

Education:
high school: Jamaica (Jamaica, New York), 1968
undergraduate: UTEP (El Paso, Texas)
undergraduate: Adelphi (Garden City, New York), 1972

Occupations:
Community and social worker