Horizon, Autumn 1967 – 2

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In ‘England’s Second Family; The Cecils’, Lacey Baldwin Smith (author of The Horizon Book of the Elizabethan World) writes about the descendants of David Cecil:

The history of the Cecils is the kind of success story that should warm the cockles of the heart of every bureaucrat who believes that “men of blood shall not live out half their days” and dreams that quiet attention to detail will be rewarded. The first great Cecil – William, Lord Burghley  – was stage manager to Elizabeth’s Regina, and it was said that “of all the men of genius he was the most a drudge; of all men of business the most a genius.” His son, Robert, first Earl of Salisbury, was the indispensable instrument by which James Stuart of Scotland became king of England, and it was early noted that young Sir Robert always had “his hands full of papers and his head full of matter.” In the nineteenth century the Cecilian bloom continued to be “petalled with patience,” and when the third marquis, three times prime minister of England, died in 1903, it was said that he had succeeded in being great “without much pomp or parade.”

 

Marble Hall at Hatfield House, home of the Salisbury Cecils, with portraits of Mary Queen of Scots ‘whom William Cecil helped put to death’, and Elizabeth I.

…For almost half a millennium they have possessed par excellence those qualities necessary to dynastic success: a tenacious grasp on land, an abundance of fat and healthy babies, and an unparalleled capacity for ferreting out the winning side in politics.

In ‘Reston’, Milton Viorst writes about Robert E. Simon’s ‘fief on the Potomac’:

Lake Anne Village Center is the heart of the first of seven communities that will ultimately make up Reston, a projected town of some seventy-five thousand inhabitants. If it recalls a European piazza, this is because Simon planned it that way…Simon’s goal is not to copy a successful city – which is manifestly impossible – but to make Reston the source of all the pleasant sensations that a successful city invites…

Lake Anne Village, now some two years old, is Simon’s test tube for the new city. Most of Reston’s first two thousand inhabitants live in the village and it is there that Simon has indulged his social theories and his recreational whims, his architectural preferences and his artistic tastes. Though he was warned he would never persuade apartment dwellers to move to Reston, he decided to build the high-rise – and he has had scarcely had a vacancy since it was completed. Though he was told that middle-class Americans would not live in commercial neighbourhoods, he built two floors of apartments above the shops in the village center – and they fill up faster than the garden apartments in the woods. Though he was told that art was a waste of money, he spent thousands on original sculpture – and both the kids who climb over it and the grownups who gaze at it take pleasure in its presence.

 

In ‘Rasputin Reconsidered’, E.M. Halliday describes the alleged ‘Mad Monk’ as ‘a strong and healthy peasant with strong and healthy appetites’, but:

Once the idea that he was sexually grotesque has been set aside, it is quite possible, as a matter of fact, to see Rasputin in a favorable light: he was really, in modern terms, a good guy. He was undeniably crude, but there is little evidence that he was cruel…

On more important questions, Rasputin comes off surprisingly well. He foresaw what World War I would mean for Russia and tried desperately to make Nicholas  see it, too, sending him telegrams and notes conveying his vision of the impending calamity…It was a very lonely and unpopular view to take at the start of the war, for Russia was caught up in the frenzied, romantic patriotism of 1914 as much as any of the participants…

There was another subject on which Rasputin took an unpopular stand, particularly for a Russian peasant. He was sure that all races and religions were equal in the sight of God, and he spoke out boldly against anti-Semitism whenever he thought it might do some good. Over a long period of time this had some effect on Nicholas and Alexandra, in whom the prejudice was deeply ingrained.

 

Nevertheless, Halliday argues that Rasputin contributed to the Russian Revolution of 1917 by encouraging Nicholas to go to the front and personally lead his troops in 1915: ‘It was farce that fooled almost nobody but Nicholas himself’. Back in St Petersburg and Tsarskoe Selo, Rasputin and Alexandra presided over ‘a governmental debacle’.

A portfolio of contemporary posters by Contributing Editor Walter Karp notes that once they were not meant to last. ‘Lately, however, posters are enjoying a longer life and certainly a great deal more attention.’ Selections include a long poster for the 46th Annual Art Directors Club Show, ‘personality posters’ of W.C. Fields and Mao Zedong (‘considered by some to stand with Fields as an enemy of respectability’), ‘art posters’ (often for gallery openings) such as Robert Indiana’s ‘Love’, and posters for rock concerts and consumer products. ‘[A] New York store known as The Poster Center now sells these and similar art posters for prices ranging from five to twenty-five dollars.’

 

 

Horizon, Autumn 1967 – 1

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This issue’s cover features Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, which had just been purchased by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, for a then-record $5 million. Contributing Editor Walter Karp writes about the painting’s history and its subject:

Also in this issue:

In ‘The Silk Road’ James (now Jan) Morris writes about the overland route from Rome to China:

The fortunes of this road have fluctuated down the centuries. Sometimes it followed this path, sometimes that; now it was blocked by wars, brigands or zealots; now secure beneath the protection of conquering empires – a road of many stages and legends, stretching from the frontiers of China at one end to the Mediterranean coast at the other. The trans-Asian route was the tenuous link between the two supreme civilizations of the earth, and there was a time when it seemed almost ready to unite them, East and West, in the marvellous richness of a common culture.

The powers at each end of the route knew nothing of one another. Each was only a rumor. The Chinese had heard whispers of cultivated nations far beyond the Asian steppes – possibly their first inkling that there existed any civilized people other than themselves. The Romans knew that somewhere far to the east, beyond India, there lived a powerful people to whom the Greeks had given the name “Seres”; but just where the country of the Seres was, and what kind of people they were, nobody knew. Nobody in the West had seen a Chinese. Nobody in the East had seen a European. Eratosthenes’ map of the world, drawn in 220 B.C., begins to peter out at the Tigris and ends altogether at the Ganges Delta, which is shown pouring into the unknown seas of the farthest East. Rome and China were like islands separated by an uncharted ocean.

Palmyra:

By the middle of the first century B.C. the gap was closing. The four empires along the route had given it a certain security. The Han emperors had subdued much of the wild country on the western marches of China, south of the Gobi, making the route safe against Huns and Tibetans. The Kushans firmly policed the eastern approaches to the Pamirs, the Parthians controlled the western. The armies of Rome, under the command of the proconsul Crassus, were vigorously at war with Parthia in eastern Syria. Only a single great impulse, of war or of commerce, was needed to pierce the veil that lay between the eastern and western civilizations.

Crassus led the Romans at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 B.C.:

As the Parthians moved in for the kill they suddenly unfurled some majestic battle standards, such as the Romans had never seen before – brilliantly dyed and made of a material unimaginably sumptuous. Tradition says it was the abrupt appearance of these arcane devices that finally broke the morale of the legions; certainly the banners lingered in the Roman memory, and in the and it was the fascination of that astonishing fabric, first glimpsed by the Romans upon the battlefield of Carrhae, that brought the trans-Asia route to life and established a thin and transient connection between Rome and China.

Bamiyan:

Horizon caption: ‘Afghanistan’s valley of Bamian was one of the most overpowering sights on the caravan road. Here, at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains, in the fourth century A.D., Buddhist missionaries from India carved a 175-foot-tall statue of their lord, around which they hewed out chapels for themselves in the sheer cliff. From these eyries they could watch the caravans arriving from Samarkand, Palmyra, the Khyber Pass. The huge statue (in the niche to the right of center), once painted in polychrome and gilded, is now weathered and partially defaced.’

Gibbon says it took two hundred and forty-three days to travel from China to the Syrian coast; if modern trade routes are anything to go by, many a bale lay for weeks at a time under a trader’s counter waiting for clearance, or a bill of lading or camel space – or simply forgotten. Still nobody knew the Silk Road from end to end, and no European had set eyes upon the inconceivable settlements of highest Asia beyond the Pamirs: Aqsu and Hotien, Qara Shahr and Kokand, or the remotest of all, Sera Metropolis, the silk capital, somewhere in the heart of China.

Eventually the secret of silk making leaked out of China, which withdrew behind its frontiers, and the route was abandoned and forgotten. Morris describes 1960s plans for the Pan-Asian Highway : ‘But even these Olympian enterprises stop short at the Chinese border, and the dotted lines of the projected routes shy warily south. The contact of the Silk Road has never fired; the void separating China from the West remains a hazard and a tragedy.’

In ‘Anatomy of a Masterpiece: The Burial of Count Orgaz’, Roy McMullen describes El Greco’s painting:

Anyone who doubts the transfiguring power of art should reflect on the genesis of The Burial of Count Orgaz. The central incident in El Greco’s painting…is a rather vulgar and morally pointless miracle. Most of the circumstances preceding and surrounding the execution of the work smell of money – literally to high heaven. Yet the result is a genuinely mystical masterpiece and, for us at least, a vivid image of several crises.

Here, refracted by the neurotic sensibility of a Cretan immigrant, is that discouraging moment in the history of European thought when one part of the Renaissance lost its rationalist nerve and turned back towards the Middle Ages. In terms of art history, here is one of the high points of the sixteenth century mannerist style, with its warping of a classical language into unclassical statements. At the level of national history, here are Spain’s nobly unteachable hidalgos, assembled for a class portrait two years before the Armada revealed their obsolescence.

In ‘E.T. Hall and the Human Space Bubble’, part of Horizon’s ‘Men of Ideas’ series, William Kloman interviews the anthropologist Edward T. Hall, who developed the study of proxemics, the human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction. His book The Hidden Dimension had been published the previous year:

“New York City may already be dead. We may not be able to bring it back. And if we lose New York it could be the death of the nation.”

The speaker was an anthropologist named Edward T. Hall; his audience a select gathering of scientists, city planners, architects, and environmental experts at the Smithsonian Institution last spring. A man who has made a career of probing the communications blocks that exist between cultures, Hall has developed ideas about men’s varying needs for space that could have important implications for the future of our urban centers. Recently appointed to a professorship in the study of intersocietal communications at Northwestern University, he is one of a growing number of scientists seeking ways of making our cities fit for human habitation…

Besides food, water, and shelter, Hall says, we need a certain amount of space in which to conduct our lives. Each organism, he has written, “no matter how simple or complex, has around it a sacred bubble of space, a bit of mobile territoriality which only a few other organisms are allowed to penetrate and then only for short periods of time.” The bubble varies in size, depending on such factors as the emotional state, immediate activity, position in a social hierarchy, and cultural background of the individual. What may be a comfortable living space for a Latin American who requires a certain amount of physical contact with his fellows, may be unbearably crowded to an Englishman, who requires a somewhat large bubble of space around him to feel at ease. Similarly, other unspoken needs – for variety, visual beauty, and quiet – differ from one culture to another.

We must begin to study these needs, recognizing that if we do not take them into consideration, life can become intolerable. Given the cosmopolitan nature of our cities, we must design dwellings, office buildings, and transportation systems in accordance with the diverse requirements of the people who must use them. The melting pot, Hall says, is an illusion.

Kloman concludes by sitting in on one of Hall’s classes at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (where he taught before moving to Northwestern):

Horizon, Spring 1971

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This issue’s cover features Lucas Cranach the Elder’s painting of Adam and Eve in the Cortauld Institute, London. It illustrates a section on ‘Liberated Women’, beginning with ‘The Feminine Utopia’ by Contributing Editor Walter Karp:

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The family…is not a natural or a biological institution. It…is a human contrivance and it invites the question, which the women’s movement asks, why has the family division of roles been drawn up the way it has? That women bear the children is a biological fact; that those who bear children must carry the chief burden of tending them is not a biological necessity. It is certainly ‘convenient’…but convenience is not necessity. There is even less reason for women to maintain the household simply because they are female. Among the Todas of southern India, where women may have more than one spouse, the men, interestingly enough, consider housekeeping too sacred for women.

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…many spokesmen [sic] for the women’s movement conclude that males have deliberately confined females to the domestic sphere in a concerted effort to maintain their dominance. Employing an analogy with racism, many today speak of the present system of human life as ‘sexism’– ‘the definition of and discrimination against half of the human species by the other half’, according to Robin Morgan, editor of a recent collection of women’s movement essays called The Sisterhood is Powerful. The most rigorous exponent of this view is Kate Millett, who has coined the term ‘sexual politics’ (in a well-known book of that title) to designate the ways in which males contrive to keep females subordinate under what she calls ‘patriarchal government.’

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Also in this issue:

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In ‘Odd Couples’, part of his ‘In the Light of the Past’ series, J.H. Plumb considers how the family has evolved:

Basically, the family has fulfilled three social functions – it has provided a labor force, transmitted property and educated and trained children, not only in accepted social patterns, but also in the work skills upon which their future depended…The unitary family was particularly good at coping with the small peasant holdings that covered most of the world’s fertile regions from China to Peru. In the primitive peasant world a child of five or six could begin to earn his keep in the fields, as he still can in India and Africa.

After the revolution in agriculture, property and its transmission lay at the very heart of social relations and possessed an actuality that we find hard to grasp…

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The family as the basic social group first began to fail, except in its property relations, among the aristocracy. The majority of the affluent of western Europe have always created for themselves a double standard, particularly as far as sex in concerned…The family as a unit of social organization was remarkably appropriate for a less complex world of agriculture and craftsmanship, but ever since industry and highly urbanized societies began to replace that world, the social functions of the family have steadily weakened. It is a process not likely to be halted.

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In ‘The Ashanti’ James (later Jan) Morris explores the history and culture of the West African people:

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…It was during the seventeenth century that the Ashanti entered history. They immediately began to display a talent for organization, both civic and military, altogether exceptional among West African peoples. Gradually they constructed a federation of Akan tribes whose separate customs were respected and whose ruling chiefs preserved their own stools, or thrones, but who were subject to the suzerainty of the king of Ashanti – the Asantahene.

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The Ashanti empire was never static or absolute, varying rather in its degree of central control and shading away from the pure Ashanti districts in the center to the less indoctrinated tribal areas on the perimeter. Nevertheless, the Asantahene became the most formidable indigenous ruler of West Africa, whose writ ran in one degree or another from the Black Volta to the sea.

The revelation of the Golden Stool consolidated this power by providing a supernatural focus for loyalty. Through its agency the Ashanti came nearer than any other West African people, except perhaps the people of Dahomey, to a concept of nationalism in the Western sense.

In ‘The Tempesta Puzzle’, Roy McMullen considers the many theories about Giorgione’s mysterious painting:

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…And then in 1939, modern science added a fresh note to the discord: beneath the figure of the dreaming young man an X-ray examination revealed a seated woman with her legs in the water. Had she once had a role in the narrative? Was it possible that Giorgione had never had a narrative in mind and had just improvised an inhabited landscape? Or did the hidden bather prove only that he had thriftily made use of an old canvas?

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In 1949 Kenneth Clark, meditating on the X ray and reflecting an opinion already widespread in Britain and America, decided that heavyweight Tempestry had demonstrated its futility. ‘The Tempesta,’ he wrote in his Landscape into Art, ‘is one of those works of art before which the scholar had best remain silent. No one knows what it represents…and I think there is little doubt that it is a free fantasy, a sort of Kublai Khan, which grew as Giorgione painted it…’ He added that if we cannot say what it means, still less can we say ‘how it achieves its magical power over our minds.’

 

Horizon, Summer 1967 – 2

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In ‘David: The Napoleon of French Painting’, John Canaday writes about Jacques-Louis David, the painter who was equally admired by Louis XVI, Robespierre and Napoleon: ‘His heroic style, suppressing passion beneath a hard, chilly surface, made him the artistic dictator of France.’

Though tradition has made him the archetype of the classicist who reduced antiquity to a kind of sterile purity, David is really only a pseudoclassicist whose variation of the formula was dominated by a combination of staggering realism and true romanticism. In his most frigid paintings an obsessive sensuality lies just beneath the surface. His nudes are at once adaptations of the idealized bodies of antique sculpture, carefully analysed anatomical studies, and declarations of the allure of human nakedness that on occasion can amount to a revelation of concupiscence. David must have been a lustful man beneath his aesthetic puritanism, but he never thought of his idealized forms as a transmutation of sensual experience, as the original forms were with the Greeks. Only in an occasional portrait of a member of his family or a very close friend does he allow himself even a confession of tenderness. But his portraits are brilliant renderings of surface that become by second nature revelations of the personality of the sitter.

Horizon caption – 'David again returned to Roman history in The Lictors Bringing to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (above), based on the story of the consul (seen brooding in the shadows, left) who sentenced his own sons to death for conspiring to restore the monarchy. The trio of grieving women in the detail opposite has the granitic quality of a classical bas-relief, with only a discarded sewing basket to give a feeling of home life. The painting was exhibited in 1789, after the fall of the Bastille, and the message that it imparted was not lost on its viewers.'

Horizon caption – ‘David again returned to Roman history in The Lictors Bringing to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (above), based on the story of the consul (seen brooding in the shadows, left) who sentenced his own sons to death for conspiring to restore the monarchy. The trio of grieving women in the detail opposite has the granitic quality of a classical bas-relief, with only a discarded sewing basket to give a feeling of home life. The painting was exhibited in 1789, after the fall of the Bastille, and the message that it imparted was not lost on its viewers.’

Horizon caption: Marat Assassinated (1793) has become, in the words of one art historian, “The Pieta of the Revolution.” The dead Republican leader, murdered in his bathtub by a young woman named Charlotte Corday, is shown holding a letter from her in one hand and in the other, the quill pen that had been busy sentencing his political enemies to death.

Horizon caption: ‘Marat Assassinated (1793) has become, in the words of one art historian, “The Pieta of the Revolution.” The dead Republican leader, murdered in his bathtub by a young woman named Charlotte Corday, is shown holding a letter from her in one hand and in the other, the quill pen that had been busy sentencing his political enemies to death.’

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In ‘The Anarchy of Art’, part of his ‘In the Light of the Past’ series, J.H. Plumb looks at the state of visual arts in 1967 from the point of view of ‘a liberal-minded man of fifty.’ He remembers how in his youth, ‘we had our moment of excitement and protest. We were seized by bitter fury against the Establishment when the police seized D.H. Lawrence’s etiolated nudes. And how we laughed at the glossy horrors of Munnings…And what derision we felt for the heavy, momentous portraits of tycoons that littered the board rooms of London and New York.’ They ‘thronged’ to the Surrealists, ‘Picasso’s distorted females’ and Pollock’s ‘painting without language but decorative, memorable, at times haunting.’

But now, how does one find one’s way through the present anarchy of art, which ranges so widely from the meticulous studies of Wyeth to the cold remains of the postwar surrealism of Moore, to the near-abstractions of Sutherland, to the screaming, bleeding faces of Francis Bacon, to the cartoon horrors of Pop, to Bridget Riley’s literally painful Op, or to the junk and graffiti schools, the hard-edge types, or those anti-art artists who just paint shapeless boards one color and leave them lying on the floor or propped up against a wall? Must one turn one’s back on this, denounce it as infantile, regressive, anarchic, or mad – neither decorative nor meaningful? Has art, after living within one broad context for centuries, shattered into fragments? Is there anywhere to go?

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…[A]bout most great ages of art there is a harmony between painting, sculpture, music, architecture and the decorative arts that is unmistakeable and clear….try as one might it is impossible to unite the elegance of the Seagram Building with the painted beds of Rauschenberg or the cacophonic horrors of musique concrète.

Looking back at the flowering of art in Renaissance Italy, seventeenth century Holland and Flanders, and nineteenth century France, he asks why it seems harder to find such genius in today’s ‘anarchy’:

One factor is time: each age makes it more difficult for the next. It was much easier to be Aristotle in fourth-century-BC Athens then it is in twentieth-century New York; easier to be Newton in seventeenth-century Cambridge than in twentieth-century Moscow…

And there is a further, more profound difficulty: originality is just as rare in painters and sculptors as in engineers or chess players. Yet the development of the past hundred years of art has been the creation of a cult of the artist as a wayward, misunderstood, yet dedicated genius – the man exiled from society by the originality of his ideas and techniques. Hence the endless pursuit of novelty in modern art. Much of its so-called originality, however, is flat-footed, dull, obvious, jejune…This kind of modern art is just as banal, just as empty of content, as the most tedious forms of salon painting.

…So one wanders, as along a seashore littered with debris; occasionally there are bits and pieces that delight the eye, more rarely a fragment of treasure, but the skies are gray, the wind coming in from the sea, very cold. There is nowhere to go but Coney Island.

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In ‘Saint Francis and the Ecologic Backlash’ the mediaeval historian Lynn White, Jr writes about how Christian theology led man to exploit nature, and that he needed to listen to the ‘great heretic’ St Francis of Assisi before he destroys his earthly home. After considering the ‘hypothesis that [man’s] fire-drive method of hunting created the world’s great grasslands and helped to exterminate the monster mammals of the Pleistocene from much of the globe’, as well as the banks of the Lower Nile being ‘an artefact’ for the last six milleniums, and the Dutch ‘pushing back the North Sea’, he argues:

People, then, have often been a dynamic element in their own environment, but in the present state of historical scholarship we usually do not know precisely when, where, or with what effects man-induced changes came. As we enter the last third of the twentieth century, however, concern for the problem of ecologic backlash is mounting feverishly. Natural science, conceived as the effort to understand the nature of things, had flourished in several eras and among several peoples. Similarly there had been an age-old accumulation of technical skills, sometimes growing rapidly, sometimes slowly. But…[the] emergence in widespread practice of the Baconian creed that scientific knowledge means technological power over nature can scarcely be dated before about 1850, except in the chemical industries, where it was anticipated in the eighteenth century.

…Our ecologic crisis is the product of an emerging, entirely novel, democratic culture. The issue is whether a democratized world can survive its own implications. Presumably it cannot unless we rethink our axioms.

He traces the beginning of Western technical and scientific world dominance to the Middle Ages: ‘we cannot understand their nature or their present impact upon ecology without examining fundamental mediaeval assumptions and developments.’ The development of ploughs for the wet and sticky soils of northern Europe which required eight oxen and ‘attacked the land with such violence’ led to ‘ruthlessness towards nature’ and an ‘exploitative attitude’. And belief in perpetual progress is ‘rooted in, and is indefensible apart from, Judeo-Christian teleology.’ God had planned all of creation ‘explicitly for man’s benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man’s purposes…Especially in its Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen…By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects.’

Possibly we should ponder the greatest radical in Christian history since Christ: Saint Francis of Assisi. The prime miracle of Saint Francis is the fact that he did not end at the stake, as many of his left-wing followers did. He was so clearly heretical that a general of the Franciscan order, Saint Bonaventure, a great and perceptive Christian, tried to suppress the early accounts of Franciscanism. The key to an understanding of Francis is his belief in the virtue of humility – not merely for the individual but for man as a species. Francis tried to depose man from his rule over creation and to set up a democracy of all God’s creatures.

…Since the roots of our trouble are so clearly religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not. We must rethink and refeel our nature and destiny. The profoundly religious, but heretical, sense of the primitive Franciscans for the spiritual autonomy of all parts of nature may point a direction. I propose Francis as a patron saint of ecologists.

This happened in 1979.

On the last page, a piece by William K. Zinsser comments on ’25 and Under’ being made Time magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’:

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Horizon, Summer 1967 – 1

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Another issue I’ve had to divide into two parts.

This issue’s cover shows a Stone Age pottery vessel in the shape of a double-headed female, found at Hacilar in southwest Turkey:

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It illustrates a letter from Editor Joseph J. Thorndike, ‘The Smugglers’ Trail’, and the article ‘The Strange Case of James Mellaart, or The Tale of the Missing Dorak Treasure’ by Kenneth Pearson and Patricia Connor of the London Sunday Times, whose book The Dorak Affair was published the same year.

Also in this issue:

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Thorndike describes Turkey as ‘the scene of the greatest archaeological looting job since Lord Elgin made off with the sculptures of the Parthenon. Because the Turkish government forbids the export of any ancient art objects, whatever comes out of that country must be smuggled out. And the smugglers’ trail, which begins in remote Anatolian villages, leads in the end, as often as not, to some of the world’s most famous museums.’

Mellaart – himself a Horizon contributor– was the archaeologist who discovered the Hacilar site.

At first glance no one seems less likely than Mellaart to be involved in any dishonorable dealings. His colleagues have commented on his imperiousness and lack of tact, but as the British ambassador to Ankara remarked, ‘He has a nose for a site that amounts almost to genius’…Mellaart [in the 1950s] had the knack of walking a site for hours, picking a spot to excavate, and striking it rich almost at once.

It isn’t luck. He reads signs like a Sherlock Holmes.

Controversy came when Mellaart claimed to have found relics of the Yortan culture, belonging to a neighbour state of Troy from the middle of the third millennium BC. He told a story of having met a woman called Anna Papastrati on a train to Izmir in 1958, who was wearing a solid gold bracelet of a type that had only been found at Troy. He came home with her, sketched the collection of antiquities she owned, and realised that what he had stumbled across was ‘real evidence of a large seafaring nation, ruled by a warrior aristocracy, immediately east of Troy.’ His report on the Dorak treasure was published in the Illustrated London News in 1959:

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The news shattered the Turkish authorities. Although an introduction to the article made clear its provenance, and special attention was drawn to the treasure’s imaginative reconstruction, there is no doubt that the Department of Antiquities thought a minor ‘Tutankhamen’ had slipped through its hands.

On July 18, 1960, Mellaart went over the details of his trip with the Turkish authorities. Though he included the name of ‘Anna Papastrati’ and her address, investigations in Izmir drew a blank. The Turks could not locate the woman or her house…The Dorak treasure had vanished.

Mellaart’s troubles were just beginning, because unfortunately it was only too logical for the Turkish authorities to assume that the treasure had been taken out of the country, either with the connivance of the archaeologist or without it…An increasing number of Turks are angered by the removal of their heritage by outsiders. This is the crux of the Dorak affair.

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Horizon caption: ‘The letter at right, written in the style of ten-cent thriller, is the only proof that Anna – or the treasure – ever existed.’

In ‘The Literary Road to Rome’, Norman Kotker chronicles the writers – Italian, French, German, British and American – who have come to Rome over the centuries ‘to seek inspiration among its ruins…Mourning has always seemed the appropriate attitude for writers to adopt in Rome. “Rome its own sad sepulchre appears,” declaimed Washington Irving as he entered the city for the first time. “…death seems to have been born in Rome,” Chateaubriand mused as he walked along the Appian Way.’ The writers include Petrarch, Dante, Tasso, Gibbon, Henry Adams, Hawthorne, Machiavelli, Goethe, Keats, Shelley, Stendahl, Dickens and the Brownings.

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Horizon caption: ‘”A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The first line of “Endymion” is barely visible at upper left in a framed manuscript of the poem that hangs in the Keats memorial in Rome. Buildings of the Piazza di Spagna and a fresh rose are reflected in the glass.’

He concludes that tourists no longer have to come to Rome:

As the film replaces the written word, Rome in all its decadence can come to them. Now, thanks to the work of such latter-day Roman journalists as Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, the city is apparently even more fallen than Gibbon’s Rome, more wicked than Stendahl’s, more malignant than Hawthorne’s – all of which may explain why the parade of writers shows not the least sign of slackening.

In ‘Breuer: The Last “Modern” Architect’, Cranston Jones looks at the career of the Hungarian-born and Bauhaus-trained architect who had been practising in the US since the 1930s, and whose Whitney Museum of American Art had just opened in New York:
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The first impression…was discouraging. With its massive, raw cantilevers, the building loomed out of a sunken, moat-like sculpture garden; curious, trapezoidal windows were punched in the façade; concrete blinder-walls went up at either side, cutting off the adjacent apartment houses…

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Horizon caption: ‘A 1936 project for a “Civic Center of the Future” forecast Breuer’s later designs, with its acoustically formed theatre, trifoil pavilions, Y-shaped office buildings, and its shopping center with set-back ramps.’

What the opening night guests had discovered was that while the building seemed aggressive on the outside, the architectural style of the interior had been carefully planned to accommodate the basic function of the museum – the creation of an ideal display space for art. Spaces are well lighted and inviting. The ceiling is an open grid that allows the movable partitions to be arranged in a variety of ways at the same time that it incorporates air-conditioning and elaborate lighting…His use of surfaces gives the whole museum a hand-crafted feeling which, in an age when architecture increasingly looks as if it could be turned out by the mile, is in itself a source of pleasure.

6703 - Breuer detailsIn ‘The Holy Terrors of Munster’, Edmund Stillman describes the Anabaptists of 16th century Germany:

In the long record of man’s savagery to man, there can be no more brutal episode than the drama of the Anabaptist revolution played out in the small city of Münster in northwest Germany in 1534-35. There, as the medieval world was dying and the modern age dawning, as an ancient social order disintegrated and a new proletariat was born, starving and desperate men conceived a utopian kingdom of eternal goodness and eternal peace – and ended by creating a forerunner of the modern totalitarian state.

Anticipating the French Revolution by more than two hundred and fifty years, and the Nazis and the Communists by nearly four hundred, the Anabaptist revolution in Münster was striking in its modernities of class warfare, thought control, communal farms, an elite military corps, and a proto-Gestapo…

6703 - Munster

Horizon caption: ‘Besieged in their “holy city” of Münster (at right, surrounded by a moat), the Anabaptists fought the mounting forces of much of the old Holy Roman Empire for sixteen months…The sketch at right, and those on the following two pages, were done by Erhard Schoen, an artist of the time.’

Outside the city gathered all the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, Catholic and Protestant alike. Acting to protect privilege and what they conceived to be God’s true order, they buried their doctrinal differences in a counterrevolutionary alliance and pledged to extirpate the Holy City of the Anabaptists by death and fire. In the end they succeeded, but not until they had matched atrocity for atrocity in the sixteen-month siege of Münster.

Horizon, Summer 1971 – 2

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Part 2 of this issue:

In ‘How Not to Win a War’ the eminent British historian Correlli Barnett writes about the book that was a key influence on him, and which he says could help explain what he calls ‘the American defeat in Vietnam‘, though the end of the war was still four years away:

General Karl Maria von Clausewitz was the first man to make conceptual sense of war as a social and political activity and to deduce its governing principles. Clausewitz is the starting point of all later theorizing about war, and often the finishing point as well. He significantly influenced the German and French general staffs before 1914; he is the fountainhead of present-day Communist thinking about war; and he ought to be a part of every Western young man’s education. His great work On War (Vom Kriege), casts more light than any other single book on all the facets of collective human rivalry…

…Clausewitz’s philosophy of war has been garbled into dogma, with regrettable results.

Horizon caption: 'Who would have won the honors if Clausewitz had taught a seminar on war? In Edward Sorel's reunion portrait, the bright students sit up front below their master.' Front row, L-R: Marx, Mao, Frederick the Great, Bismarck. Second row, L-R: Elizabeth I, Lenin. 'Dunces' in the rear, L-R: Napoleon, Eisenhower, F.D. Roosevelt, Churchill, Wilson, Marshall.

Horizon caption: ‘Who would have won the honors if Clausewitz had taught a seminar on war? In Edward Sorel’s reunion portrait, the bright students sit up front below their master.’ Front row, L-R: Marx, Mao, Frederick the Great, Bismarck. Second row, L-R: Elizabeth I, Lenin. ‘Dunces’ in the rear, L-R: Napoleon, Eisenhower, F.D. Roosevelt, Churchill, Wilson, Marshall.

War for Clausewitz was no meaningless episode of violence, nor was it absolutely distinct and separate from peace. War, on the contrary,

‘belongs…to the province of social life. It is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others. It would be better…to liken it to business competition, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities; and it is still more like State policy, which again…may be looked upon as a kind of business competition on a grand scale.’

This simple proposition is Clausewitz’s greatest and most illuminating insight. In the words of his most quoted aphorism, “War is only a continuation of policy by other means.” Clausewitz returns again and again to this theme of the continuity of international relations, from peace via war to peace again, speaking of a diplomacy that (in war) employs battles instead of notes. It follows that the conduct of war ought to be constantly governed by political considerations.

In Clausewitz’s view, it is absurd to try to “win” wars by military means alone, because, as he says, no major plan of war can be made without political understanding and insight. The political setting not only determines the aims and decisions of war strategy but also colors the whole character of the war…

It was not the nature of nineteenth-century warfare that made the American Civil War so long and bloody but the irreconcilable political and social issues of secession and union, slavery and emancipation. And it is political, not military, considerations that have prevented the United States from using nuclear weapons in Vietnam – on the contrary, nothing would so economically and efficiently block the Vietcong supply routes.

In his study of Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Roy McMullen explores the hostile response to it:

Nervousness and defensiveness are, of course, unprovable, but they become at least a faint, mischievous possibility when we remember that viewers in 1886 were still uncowed by avant-garde art and were without our modern emphasis on the formal and abstract elements in painting, and were therefore more sensitive than we are likely to be to the figurative message – the moral, to use a nineteenth-century term – of La Grande Jatte.

Seurat 1Seurat 2

For there actually is such a message, or moral, in the picture, however much it is ignored by art historians intent on optical effects and spatial organization or by ordinary appreciators engrossed in summertime and bustles. And a similar message can be detected nearly everywhere in Seurat’s mature achievement, rising like a slightly corrosive odor from his characteristic mixture of loveliness, banality, delicacy, and pedantry.

Seurat 3

A whiff could have made a boulevardier at the Maison Dorée feel obscurely menaced. Consider, as an example, the pipe-smoking boater and his two elegant neighbors in the left foreground of La Grande Jatte…At first glance these impressively monumental figures – naked, the boater could be an antique river deity – seem drenched in the sedative bliss of a sunlit holiday; at second glance the bliss drains away. One of today’s veristic film directors could scarcely ask for more eloquent images of urban man’s loneliness in a crowd and his inability to communicate with his fellow men.

The same solitude seems to shroud, with a few doubtful exceptions, everyone in the picture, including the mysteriously motivated hornblower in the tropical helmet and even the “superb cocotte” despite her decorative pet and her evidently affluent protector.

‘The World of Samuel Pepys’ is a lavishly illustrated look at the life of the Restoration diarist:

Pepys 1

Pepys 2Pepys 3

Also included with this issue is a supplement: an eight-page panorama of London in 1647.

Horizon, Summer 1971 – 1

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A bumper issue, in two parts.

This issue’s cover shows a detail from Georges Seurat’s  A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte:

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It illustrates an article on the painting by Roy McMullen.

Also in this issue:

7103 - Contents

In an introductory letter, ‘Arab and Jew’, Contributing Editor Walter Karp writes about the special section on The Middle East:

Writings about Arabs and Jews these days strike a common note. The sound like the claims and counterclaims of litigants in a protracted lawsuit, the suit, of course, being the Arab-Israeli conflict. As in most protracted lawsuits, the rights and wrongs at issue have grown increasingly obscure. This being so, we thought it useful to step back from the contemporary fray and look at matters from a different standpoint. Instead of airing the dispute between the contending parties, we asked two authors to help us identify the contenders. What is an Arab? What is a Jew? What kind of history, what fundamental experiences, have made these two peoples what they are and brought them to their present impasse?

In ‘What is an Arab?’, James (later Jan) Morris gives a brief history of the Arabs and Islam, then sums up the position in 1971, reflecting on moves for Arab unity, before the rise of Islamism both in and beyond Arab countries in the wake of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution:

Oil also gave the Arabs new confidence. They discovered, through no merit of their own, a new importance in themselves. They were not born to be poor after all, but to be immensely rich. They did not inhabit a backwater, but rode the mainstream of world affairs. The possession of oil gave the Arabs a tremendously powerful instrument of persuasion – or blackmail.

Horizon Caption: 'an Arab version of Virgo - the red dots represent the individual stars - adorns a Treatise on the Fixed Stars, written in 1009. By then, Arab universities thrived in Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, antedating Europe's by two centuries.'

Horizon Caption: ‘an Arab version of Virgo – the red dots represent the individual stars – adorns a Treatise on the Fixed Stars, written in 1009. By then, Arab universities thrived in Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba, antedating Europe’s by two centuries.’

Two more developments gave a new vitality to the Arabs. The first was the emergence, in the 1950s, of a remarkable young leader, the first Arab statesman of world importance since Saladin resisted the Crusades: Gamal Abdel Nasser, who made Egypt the epicentre of Arab progress and gave to all the Arab peoples, not prosperity, nor even serenity, but a new pride. The second was the existence of Israel, an alien body planted on the shores of the Arab world by the intervention of the West, which acted as a catalyst to the energies of the Arabs, spurring them on to a common cause and intermittently reviving their sense of camaraderie.

Horizon caption: 'Palestinian refugee children undergo guerilla training. They are the "lion cubs" of Fatah, the Arab paramilitary force dedicated to the destruction of Israel.'

Horizon caption: ‘Palestinian refugee children undergo guerilla training. They are the “lion cubs” of Fatah, the Arab paramilitary force dedicated to the destruction of Israel.’

All these factors have combined to bring the Arabs nearer to political unity than they have been since the heyday of their empire. The dream of unity is vivid and inescapable: it enters every Arab declaration and is a sine qua non of political respectability…

Somehow, it never works. Arab co-operation, let alone unity, remains fitful and unreliable. The leaders of the Arab world seldom trust each other – and not surprisingly, for each country’s leadership shifts from figure to figure, ideology to ideology, incessantly down the years.

In ‘What is a Jew?’, David Daiches considers ‘the criterion of Jewishness’:

If the Jews are, as is sometimes maintained, a “socio-religious group,” then neither Freud nor Marx could be considered Jews – nor could Spinoza after his expulsion from the Jewish community. One cannot solve the problem by arguing that Jewish identity is cultural rather than biological: there is a far greater cultural difference between an American Jewish businessman living in Westchester County and a Yemenite Jew then between an American Jew and a non-Jewish American. There is today no cultural unity among the Jews of the world, or even among the Jews of America: The Lubavitcher Rebbe and (shall I say?) Leslie Fiedler have no common language. To be Jewish does not necessarily involve membership in a specific race, a specific religion, or a specific culture. Yet a Jew remains a Jew until generations of assimilation have removed the memory of his origins.

 

Horizon caption: 'before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a youth in ritual shawl takes part in the ancient bar mitzvah ceremony initiating him into manhood. All that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans, the wall was taken by the Israeli army during the 1967 war with the Arabs: after 1900 years, it belings to the Jews once again.'

Horizon caption: ‘before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a youth in ritual shawl takes part in the ancient bar mitzvah ceremony initiating him into manhood. All that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans, the wall was taken by the Israeli army during the 1967 war with the Arabs: after 1900 years, it belongs to the Jews once again.’

He looks at the origins of current Jewish identity:

At the time of the rebellion against Rome, there were two main ideological groups in Judea, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The former were conservative and priestly, concerned with temple worship, and the latter were concerned with the interpretation of the Law and its application to daily life. The Sadducees mostly perished with the destruction of the Temple; in a way this was fortunate for Jewish survival, for it meant that the Pharisaic interpretation of Judaism, which was in any case the more popular, became dominant. More than a mere profession of faith or a pattern of ritual was needed to maintain the identity of the Jewish people. But the Pharisees made the Law adaptable to circumstances widely different from those that had prevailed in earlier periods of Jewish history. It was their insistence on knowledge of the Law and in interpreting it far beyond its literal meaning that enabled Judaism to survive as a way of life in all parts of the world. From now on the rabbi – the scholar and interpreter of the Law – and not the priest, determined the nature of Jewish religious life.

 

Horizon caption: 'the frontispiece of a thirteenth-century Hebrew Bible is decorated with scenes from the Pentateuch, or first five books. In the center are the opening words of Genesis: "In the beginning..."'

Horizon caption: ‘the frontispiece of a thirteenth-century Hebrew Bible is decorated with scenes from the Pentateuch, or first five books. In the center are the opening words of Genesis: “In the beginning…”‘

Horizon, Summer 1965

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This issue’s cover shows a triple portrait of Cardinal Richlieu  by Philippe de Champaigne:

6503 - Cover

 

It illustrates an article on Richelieu by C.V. Wedgewood: ‘…the political power he built for France was ephemeral. His greater glory was that he laid the foundations for her intellectual and aesthetic leadership.’

Also in this issue:

6503 - Contents

In ‘Dante’s Pilgrimage’ (1965 was the 700th anniversary of Dante’s birth)  Morris Bishop writes about the Divine Comedy:

Suppose an ex-Senator in disgrace should write a giant book examining theories of government and  proposing a new national policy; suppose he should reveal Washington’s public and private scandals, exalting his friends and condemning evildoers to everlasting punishment; suppose he should establish a moral system for the purgation and perfection of the human soul; suppose his thought should lead him to theological science fiction, taking off into space to traverse the infinite universe, attaining to the very presence of God; suppose he should intersperse in his work profound comments on philosophy, science, language, music, art; suppose all this and you will have a modern parallel for Dante and his achievement.

 

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Horizon caption: ‘This frontispiece of a late fourteenth-century manuscript pictures Dante, in a red robe, guided by Virgil, in blue, exploring the successive circles of Hell as described in the Divine Comedy.’

…Dante’s purpose was to save the world. He would display to men – particularly to Italians, and particularly to Florentines – all their burden of evil. He would reveal the reasons for the perversion of virtue, and he would demonstrate how the individual, and mankind, could trample evil underfoot and restore the operation of divine law on earth; and he would offer a heavenly vision of man’s possible, ultimate bliss. He presented a revelation, but a serviceable revelation, an attainable ideal for all times.

More art inspired by Dante:

6503 - Dante 2

‘A Way of Seeing’ combines a selection of photographs taken by Helen Levitt on the streets of New York’s Spanish Harlem in the 1940s with quotes from a ‘poetic essay’ by the critic and novelist James Agee, intended for a book which remained unpublished until 1965, ten years after Agee’s death:

It is clear enough by now to most people that ‘the camera never lies’ is a foolish saying. Yet it is doubtful whether most people realize how extraordinarily slippery a liar the camera is. The camera is just a machine, which records with impressive and, as a rule, very cruel faithfulness precisely what is in the eye, mind, spirit, and skill of its operators.

It is, in fact, very hard to get the camera to tell the truth; yet it can be made to, in many ways and on many levels.

6503 - Levitt Agee 1

…Helen Levitt’s photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know…Most of the photographs reproduced here come as close to the pure spontaneity of true folk art as the artist, aware of himself as such, can come[.]

6503 - Levitt Agee 2

In ‘The Future as a Way of Life’, Alvin Toffler writes about ‘Future Shock’. He would later expand this article into his 1970 book. He bases the term on ‘culture shock’, the disorientation experienced by people who travel abroad:

Yet culture shock is relatively mild in comparison with a much more serious malady that might be called ‘future shock’. Future shock is the dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future. It may well be the most important disease of tomorrow.

…I believe that the malaise, mass neurosis, irrationality, and free-floating violence already apparent in contemporary life are merely a foretaste of what may lie ahead unless we come to understand and treat this psychological disease.

…The human ‘body’ in the future will often consist of a mixture of organic and machine components…How will it ‘feel’ to be part protoplasm, part transistor?…Such fusions of man and machine – called ‘cyborgs’ – are closer than most people suspect.

…Individuals now train for a profession and look forward to remaining in that profession for the entire period of their working life. Yet within a generation the notion of serving in a single occupation for one’s entire life may seem quaintly antique. Individuals may need to be trained to serve successively in three, four, or half a dozen different professions in the course of a career. The job will no longer serve as a man’s anchor and organizing principle.

 

In ‘Giotto and Duccio’, John Canaday explores the work of two revolutionary artists whose work gave birth to the renaissance:

There was nothing that Giotto would not try, nothing that he would not dare. He abandoned the safe conventions of a limited catalogue of formulas for drawing and cast his figures in the dramatic compositions that revolutionized not only techniques but the whole spirit of painting.

6503 - Giotto

…The brilliance of [Duccio’s] accomplishment seems less revolutionary than Giotto’s, for Duccio made his innovations within the limits of the medieval style. Yet he was the fountainhead of a school of late medieval painting – graceful and elegant, aristocratic and sometimes sophisticated, often intense to the point of neurasthenia – that flourished in Siena while Giotto’s revolution was spreading around it. And by way of later Sienese painters, echoes of Duccio’s influence carried northward to affect an international style that in turn contributed to the final miracle of medieval art – Flemish painting of the fifteenth century.

6503 - Duccio

…Duccio represents a refinement within the boundaries of tradition and Giotto represents a climactic explosion that bursts these boundaries. Giotto’s power and Duccio’s finesse are mutually intensified by juxtaposition; but Giotto’s humanistic clarity and Duccio’s mystical tenderness are seen to be shared, each by the other, to a degree not at first apparent. Each of the two painters achieved an expression so complete in itself that if one of them had never existed, or if none of his work had survived, it would have seemed to us that the other, whether Duccio or Giotto, had been the natural, the inevitable, the only possible and unapproachable master for that particular moment – a thought that could be a bit chastening to the art historian.

Horizon, Winter 1968

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This issue’s cover shows in a detail from Henri Rousseau’s  1910 painting The Dream

6801- Cover

It illustrates ‘The Toll Collector’s Riddles’, Robert Cowley‘s article on the artist who said ‘I have been told that my work is not of this century.’ Commonly known as Le Douanier (the customs inspector), he had in fact been a gabelou, or toll collector, ‘a far less exalted position in the French bureaucratic hierarchy,’ before giving up regular employment to paint without success for more than a decade:

At last even the Indépendants debated excluding Rousseau, and it was Toulouse-Lautrec who successfully defended him. The avant-garde were beginning to pay attention to his work. This association is the singular fact of his last years; it is through the artists and writers who came to know him that he begins to emerge from the shadows. The farceur Alfred Jarry, who was also born in Laval, was the first to recognize his extraordinary talent. Barely twenty, Jarry had just arrived in Paris, and he briefly lived near Rousseau in 1893; one supposes that their common background and Rousseau’s local notoriety brought them together. Jarry, the image of the bohemian poet with his shoulder-length hair and drooping mustache, publicised the old gabelou’s work, most notably War, and introduced him into Paris intellectual society.

From now on it is impossible not to name-drop. Rousseau is seen at the Sunday gatherings at Gauguin’s studio, playing a short concert on his fiddle or informing Degas that he will help him with his ‘artistic connections.’ Anecdotes about Rousseau’s naiveté began to multiply as the years went by; even in his life time a considerable legend had formed around the Douanier – the title conferred on him by his new friends was part of it. Rousseau was a natural victim; the pranks played on him were much celebrated. Once, a group of art students sent a man made up to look like the renowned academic painter Puvis de Chavannes to visit him. Rousseau never thought twice about the identity of his guest: ‘I was expecting you,’ he said.

More and more, the Douanier would have the last laugh. Malraux puts it so movingly: ‘Those…who thought they were making of him a figure of fun were to hear long after his death, sounding in their ears, the waltzes played to them by the ghost of one they could never forget…It was only in the manner of Dostoevski’s “Idiot” that the name fitted this man of genius. “There is a terrible power in humility.”

A gravure portfolio of Rousseau’s works includes the rest of The Dream:

6801 - Rousseau

Also in this issue:

 

6801 - Contents

In ‘The Tower of London’, Francis Leary writes about its history from its building under William the Conqueror, though its many noble and royal prisoners, and its executions up to the Earl of Essex. It is illustrated by Rowland Emett, with the ghost of Henry VIII  hovering over many legendary events that took place there:

Tower of London 1Tower of London 2

In ‘Joseph Needham and the Science of China’, the historian of science Derek J. de Solla Price writes about Needham and his multi-volume Science and Civilisation in China

Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China, though only half complete, has become a definitive classic for our age, one of the exquisitely rare points of confluence that provides a radiant of departure for all new work.

Needham has set out to relate in seven giant volumes the whole story of the history of science and technology in China in all its social and cultural setting, from the earliest times through the coming of the Jesuits. He is engineering a transmission from one civilisation to another, the like of which has never been attempted. Not even for Western science and technology do we have such a comprehensive account, even though we live in a generation that has begun to realise that global history is dominated by that science and technology, among the most potent productive forces of man, and not just effete, if noble, cultural decorations.

…Never before has a culture other than our own been so meticulously exposed on the dissecting board of history, and never has a teacher been so keen to make us perceive the comparisons and the contrasts in underlying structure.

6801 - Needham 1

6801 - Needham 2

In ‘The Last Waltz in Vienna’, S.C. Burchell looks at the culture of the city in the decades leading up to World War I, where an outward appearance of ‘gaiety and charm and elegance’ hid a far darker reality, experienced by Trotsky ‘in the cafes’, Hitler ‘in the slums’ and Freud ‘by the couch’.

The events at Mayerling [when Crown Prince Rudolf shot his mistress and then himself] did not grow out of love but out of desperation – and neurosis. That Sigmund Freud was a product of the Vienna of this period shows, as few things can, the uncertain mood of the times…The surface of life, in Freud’s view, counted for little; what lay concealed meant everything. It is surely no accident that the discoverer of the unconscious was a Viennese, for where else in the world did the glittering surface conceal so many dark unmanageable forces?

Vienna 1
Horizon caption: ‘A gold-braided captain of hussars spins his partner through the intricate steps of a Viennese waltz at the Hofball, a gala dance given annually at the court by Franz Josef.’

Another aspect of pre-WW1 Vienna that would have future repercussions:

It was in Vienna that the impoverished Hitler discovered the political appeal of anti-Semitism. On one hand, the city in the late nineteenth century was a hospitable haven for Jews, who drew comfort from the knowledge that Vienna’s upper classes looked with disdain on the vulgarity of anti-Semitism. On the other hand, Karl Lueger, the city’s mayor from 1897 to 1910, had built his power on blatant anti-Semitic appeals to the Viennese lower classes – the people who, after all, took little part in the graces and pleasures of the visible Vienna. In later years Hitler would praise Lueger for his ‘correct estimate of social forces’ and for understanding that the ‘political fighting power of the upper classes is quite insignificant.’

Vienna2

Horizon, Winter 1973

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This issue’s cover shows a detail from Thomas Gainsborough’s 1748 painting Mr and Mrs Andrews:
7301 - Cover
It illustrates ‘Lordly Pleasures’, J.H. Plumb’s article describing the way of life of the 18th century English landed gentry. Including vignettes about such individualists as Charles James Fox, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Lord Rokeby, and Sir John Lade, he concludes:

But their most important legacy, perhaps, was what they prized most – their freedom to be themselves. Few societies until modern times have given such freedom to individuals. The old feudal concepts of the role of aristocracy had broken down in the revolutionary years of seventeenth-century England, and by the time aristocracy re-established its social status, it had freed itself from traditional patterns of behaviour. True, it still possessed power, still regarded itself as the natural companion of royalty, still retained a patriarchal attitude to the tenants of its estates, but there was no fixed image of itself. Individualism – the hallmark of a bourgeois society – combined with aristocratic confidence, allowed every variety of human temperament to flourish untrammelled. What they desired they sought, and fortunately, they were literary, scholarly, artistic, and scientific as well as frivolous. Their passion for a well-groomed countryside changed the face of England; their love of building adorned it with an extraordinary architectural heritage; their mania for collecting endowed England with an incomparable artistic heritage; their addiction to sport enriched the world. And of all societies until our own, the aristocracy of eighteenth century England was the most permissive. Theirs was the pursuit of happiness.

7301 - Fulham

Horizon caption: ‘On a floating pleasure barge, the numerous kinsmen of William Sharp (topmost figure), surgeon to George III, hold a musical party on the Thames opposite Fulham, now an unfashionable London neighbourhood.’

7301 - Stubbs 1 7301 - Stubbs 2

Also in this issue:

7301 - Contents

‘An Inquiry into Bigness’ is a special section dealing with the American belief that ‘Bigger is Better’. Anthony Lewis writes that:

Most of us have been brought up to believe that bigness brings efficiency in business and government. The result is that most of us in advanced societies are, in the words of Dr Michael Young, a British sociologist, ‘surrounded and controlled by impersonal, remote bodies – giant states, giant trade unions, giant corporations.’

But now the belief in bigness is being challenged on all sides. Too many ordinary people…have suffered the frustration of trying to correct the mistakes of some huge anonymous body, a company or a government. Or they have assumed that large organizations are needed to run the infrastructure of society and then found, as New Yorkers have, that the telephone system does not work and the electricity goes off.

What could be called a philosophical school of smallness is developing…

Some examples of bigness:

7301 - Bigness

In ‘The Raft of the Medusa’, Frederic V. Grunfeld writes about Théodore Gericault‘s  most famous painting:

When the picture was first exhibited, the catalog, in deference to the censor, listed it simply as a Shipwreck Scene. But no-one had to be told who these men were, or of what disaster the victims. The shipwreck of the frigate Medusa had precipitated a great political scandal, which the government of Louis XVIII had vainly tried to suppress. People saw it as far more than just a maritime disaster: it was symptomatic of everything that was wrong with the Bourbon Restoration and the émigré officials who flocked back to France after the fall of Napoleon.

7301 - Medusa 1

In the end it was the artist who triumphed over the documentarian. His central problem was the ancient and perpetually novel one of how to transform reality into art…

After many experiments he fixed on the critical moment that describes the horror and at the same time offers the promise of salvation (There are, for that matter, a great many allusions to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as the baroque painters envisaged them.) This is the psychological instant when hope and despair are evenly balanced; it is almost as though he had wanted to illustrate, not the iron law of Darwin, but Das Prinzip Hoffnung, the ‘Hope principle,’ which the philosopher Ernst Bloch  has identified as one of the great themes of nineteenth-century social thought.

7301 - Medusa 2

In ‘Leptis Magna’ (an excerpt from his 1972 book Cities in the Sand) Aubrey Menen writes about one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman sites:

Theatre of Leptis Magna

Theatre of Leptis Magna

I would recommend that any student of the past save up Leptis Magna to the last. As a sight, as an experience, there is nothing to equal it: it satisfies completely. The Parthenon is very fine, but coming back to it, time and again over the years, I find its very perfection boring. After twenty years of looking at the ruins of Rome, I have come to agree with the most ignorant tourist – they are sadly battered. Leptis Magna is perfect. It has splendour; it is as complete as any reasonable man could wish for; the restorers have been happily hampered by political convulsions and lack of funds; and above all, you can walk in its ruins for days on end, as I have done, and see nobody. I say this now, and I am only too aware that, in a decade, I could sound ridiculous.

Leptis Magna mosaics showing gladiatorial combat.

Leptis Magna mosaics showing gladiatorial combat.

As it turned out Libya would remain isolated for many years.