"You cannot use butterfly language to communicate with caterpillars."
"Pitch-black winter nights live in my bones."
Friedrich Nietzsche, from Selected Letters
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it."
xkcd, “Sticks and Stones”
Plate decorations and embroidery designs by Hans Thoma, from L’Art Décoratif, 1899.
Hans Thoma (German, 1839-1924), Self Portrait with Love and Death, 1875.
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany.
Hans Thoma (October 2, 1839 – November 7, 1924) was a German painter.
He was born in Bernau in the Black Forest, Germany. Having started life as a painter of clock-faces, he entered in 1859 the Karlsruhe academy, where he studied under Schirmer and Des Coudres. He subsequently studied and worked, with but indifferent success, in Düsseldorf, Paris, Italy, Munich and Frankfurt, until his reputation became firmly established as the result of an exhibition of some thirty of his paintings in Munich. He died in Karlsruhe in 1924 at the age of 85.
In spite of his studies under various masters, his art has little in common with modern ideas, and is formed partly by his early impressions of the simple idyllic life of his native district, partly by his sympathy with the early German masters, particularly with Altdorfer and Cranach. In his love of the details of nature, in his precise (though by no means faultless) drawing of outline, and in his predilection for local coloring, he has distinct affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites.
Many of his pictures have found their way into two private collections in Liverpool. A portrait of the artist, and two subject pictures, “The Guardian of the Valley” and “Spring Idyll,” are at the Dresden Gallery; “Eve in Paradise ” and “The Open Valley” at the Frankfort Museum. Other important pictures of his are “Paradise,” “Christ and Nicodemus,” “The Flight into Egypt,” “Charon,” “Pietà,” “Adam and Eve,” “Solitude,” “Tritons,” besides many landscapes and portraits. He has also produced numerous lithographs and pen drawings, and some decorative mural paintings, notably in a café at Frankfurt, and in the music room of the Pringsheimer house in Munich.
"Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be."
“Inspiration,” Vladimir Nabokov
The Boy and the Fairy Tale Birds. Hans Thoma, Jugend magazine, 1901.