National Arts and Humanities Month~ October 16

Isabella and the Pot of Basil by John White Alexander

Then in a silken scarf,—sweet with the dews
Of precious flowers pluck’d in Araby,
And divine liquids come with odorous ooze
Through the cold serpent pipe refreshfully,—
She wrapp’d it up; and for its tomb did choose
A garden-pot, wherein she laid it by,
And cover’d it with mould, and o’er it set
Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.
~https://www.bartleby.com/126/38.html

1897 / Oil on canvas / 75 5/8″x36 1/8″ / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Isabella, or The Pot of Basil was a poem written in 1820 by the English poet John Keats, who borrowed his narrative from the Italian Renaissance poet Giovanni Boccaccio. Isabella was a Florentine merchant’s beautiful daughter whose ambitious brothers disapproved of her romance with the handsome but humbly born Lorenzo, their father’s business manager. The brothers murdered Lorenzo and told their sister that he had traveled abroad. The distraught Isabella began to decline, wasting away from grief and sadness. She saw the crime in a dream and then went to find her lover’s body in the forest. Taking Lorenzo’s head, she bathed it with her tears and finally hid it in a pot in which she planted sweet basil, a plant associated with lovers.
~https://collections.mfa.org/objects/31098

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National Arts and Humanities Month~ October 14

Nee Nee in Braddock by Swoon

2014 / Eight-color screenprint on handmade, hand-painted paper
31″x22″ / Various collections, including Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio

“We know that works of art can enhance the patient environment when carefully chosen and thoughtfully curated. Artworks lend comfort, beauty and wit to the environment. They promote innovation by challenging our ways of seeing. Above all, they assert the strength of our humanity in the face of sickness and misfortune.”
~http://www.clevelandclinic.org/lp/power-of-art/

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