holiday:winter solstice

  • The Romantic Venus We Never Knew - Issue 43: Heroes

    On the day that I was born—winter solstice, 1959—a headline in Life magazine proclaimed “Target Venus: There May be Life There!” It told of how scientists rode a balloon to an altitude of 80,000 feet to make telescope observations of Venus’s atmosphere, and how their discovery of water raised hopes that there could be living things there. As a kid I thrilled to tales of undersea adventure with telepathic Venusian frogs in Isaac Asimov’s juvenile science-fiction novel Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus. In 1975, when I was 15, a family friend—a planetary scientist—gave me a picture of the first-ever photograph taken from the surface of another planet: Venus. The Soviet Venera 9 probe had sent back a black-and-white image of a landscape with angular rocks and fine-grained dirt. A bright patch (...)

  • Don’t Believe the Hype: Winter Does Not Begin Tonight - Facts So Romantic

    Tonight, at 11:48 PM Eastern Time, is the moment of the winter solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is pointed as far away from the Sun as it ever gets. It will be the longest night of the year, and tomorrow will be the day with the fewest hours of sunlight.Extreme cold froze parts of Turkey’s Muradiye Falls earlier this month.Getty ImagesAs most people know, this marks the official beginning of winter. It’s one of the familiar features of the end of the year, like reports of holiday sales and box-office receipts—a reliable news story for a time when many offices and schools are winding down and news tends to be in short supply. At first, the rationale for beginning winter tonight seems quite natural. What could be more reasonable than basing the season on an astronomical event that (...)

  • Artworks That Shine in New York Museums -

    La lumière dans l’art [enngénéral] ...

    With New Year’s hoopla behind us, we begin to turn a corner on the season of long nights and short days. But there’s still a good stretch of darkness ahead, and New York City museums have their lights on bright.

    Illumination has been a subject and condition of art since prehistoric painters at the Lascaux caves positioned their images to catch the rays of the sun at winter solstice. Great classical cultures across the globe spun visions of the universe around the presence of solar and lunar deities. To designers of stained-glass church windows in medieval Europe light was divine benevolence in sensible form. To the Muslim creators of lusterware in the Arab world radiance as a decorative property helped bind together the widely dispersed faithful.

    Painted dawns and sunsets carried spiritual, political and personal messages for Romantic landscape artists in America and Europe. Light was scientific data to the French Impressionists, the raw material of an optical sublime. In our own era, when art has no center or has centers everywhere, light as a medium has atomized into countless forms and meanings, from fluorescent tubes and video screens to glittering magpie-eye scraps and painted rainbows.

    #art #cartographie #design #lumière #contraste