From the Stacks 17

My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.

Q for Qi

“Everything in Life is Vibration”
– Albert Einstein

33I had a marvelous physics teacher once who so captured my imagination, he set the ground work for my interest in Reiki as well as for my magnum opus (scroll back to previous posts to learn more.) I remember him holding a glass of water and telling us there was very little difference between the container and what was inside. One was mostly made of silica (SiO2) the other (H2O) was made of hydrogen and oxygen, but chemistry was not what he was getting at.

In Physics, the big difference between the two was how the molecules moved. The molecules of the glass vibrated slowly, and because of that, the glass was hard. The water molecules were in high-speed motion and because of that, the water was fluid. If he had held a cup of steam, they’d be faster still. What was the force that moved water and glass at a molecular, atomic and sub-atomic level? We know it as molecular vibration. Living things also vibrate.

To those who study it, this vibration is referred to as life energy. Hippocrates, the well-known physician of Ancient Greece, called it the healing power of nature. The 16th-century alchemist Paracelsus called it Archaeus – the luminous, radiating healing energy that surrounds and permeates the body.

The concept of a life force has been around for thousands of years and spans the globe.
Here are a few examples:

The Lakota refer to this force as ni.
The Navajo call it nilch’i.
In Africa it’s known as Ashe.
Hawaiians call it Mana.
To the Egyptians, this was Sekem.
The Hindus refer to this life force as Prana.
The Ancient Greeks called it Pneuma or Thymos.

In China this is Chi, the life force strengthened by such focused activities as Tai Chi and Qigong. In Japan, it’s called Qi. Qi is life-force which animates the living forms of the world. What is it exactly? I suppose the best way to describe it is, it’s the vibratory phenomena that flows from, and surrounds all, living things.

To Luke Skywalker, this is the Force.   😀

Here’s an interesting clip from Bill Moyers.
It’s clear he doesn’t know what to think of Qi.

Here’s an interesting albeit simple explanation of Reiki


Q for Quadratura (And a little Trompe l’oeil, & Forced Perspective)

Since mankind first conceptualized his world on cave walls so many millennia ago, artists continue to convey emotion through artistic expression. It doesn’t matter the size, scope, medium, or subject. Man is driven to create art. I’ve wondered why that is since I was a girl strolling Chicago’s renown Art Institute. I do have my opinions. I believe it’s our self-awareness that drives us. We tap into something so much bigger than ourselves and art becomes meditation or prayer. I’m sure I’m not alone in making this observation. I’ve seen the divine concord in the brushstrokes of those masterpieces I grew up with. (I’ll share those thoughts in depth in my magnum opus –my enormous non-romance as-yet-unnamed work in progress.)

In my opinion as an art lover, there have been some stunning chapters in the sketchbook of mankind. I have a few favorites: The Classical era with its alabaster and marble sculpture so finely detailed you can see veils and curls. The Middle Ages with feats of artistic architecture. The Renaissance gave us light, and with it, keen perspective. The late Victorian era had the Belle Époque and light returned after a long hiatus. Add to this list the bold images of the Art Deco movement. Though there are many defining eras and ages before, after, and in-between, these art movements strike a chord in me.

Outside of specific eras where one or two styles were in vogue and everyone was trying their hand at them, there are some works of art that stood alone even in their time. A few I could get lost in. The nightmarish works of Hieronymus Bosch compel me to look for every demon and grim reaper hidden in the brushstrokes. Salvador Dali pulls at a point just between my eyes. I suppose the individual vignettes both artists fill their canvases with appeal to my ADD brain. lol And I’m sure were I to stare overlong at the works of M. C. Escher I might fall down that rabbit hole. Like I said, I could get lost in them. Some of my favorite artistic expressions have to do with tricking the eye. And that’s what today’s post is all about.

There’s a mode of painting called Quadratura. When you pronounce it it’s pretty straight forward until you get to the t. The t is pronounced ch.

Quadratura means to square. This has to do with painting walls and the angles involved. When I say that, I don’t mean painting the wall, I mean murals on the walls and ceilings. Illusions like these tricked the eye by visually extending the room’s actual architecture into an imaginary space beyond. The point was sotto in su meaning from below upwards.

Trompe l’oeil, meaning deceive the eye, is less about extending walls than it is about depth. It tricks the eye into seeing flat paintings in 3-D. The Quadratura techniques required an artist to have exceptional spatial skills and mastery of linear perspective. The amazing thing about this grand art style is the full impact of the scene is generally only visible from one vantage point.

One of the more interesting techniques of this visual trickery is Forced Perspective. Example: Were you to lay the Sistine Chapel’s paintings flat rather than going with the curved ceiling vaults it was painted on, you’d see disproportionate and contorted bodies. By painting within the constraints of arcs and keeping the sotto in su in mind, Michelangelo created a stunning masterpiece meant to be seen from below. My small blog doesn’t do the grand images justice. I recommend looking these beauties up online or at the library.

A few examples of Quadratura:

The Palace of Versailles ceiling
Guercino’s Aurora
Correggio’s The Assumption of the Virgin
Andrea Pozzo’s The Apotheosis of St Ignatius

A few examples of Trompe l’oeil:
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

Charles Willson Peale’s The Artist in His Museum
The ceiling in the Royal Palace of Madrid
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

The restoration of the Sistine Chapel
Seven things you may not know about the Sistine Chapel

Modern takes on Quadratura and Trompe L’oeil

An example of Forced Perspective in film


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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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