Girl reading (1927). Francisc Şirato (Romanian, 1877-1953). Oil on cardboard. National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest.
Şirato is skillful in the use of colours. His painting is lyrical, full of affectiveness. He has a warm, affectivate way of approaching the world. His work is varied, complex, and impressive in its emotional intensity.
Library of Alexandria [x]
The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. With collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens, the library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied. The library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC). As a symbol of the wealth and power of Egypt, it employed many scribes to borrow books from around the known world, copy them, and return them. Most of the books were kept as papyrus scrolls, and though it is unknown how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, their combined value was incalculable. The library is famous for having been burned, resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books, and has become a symbol of the destruction of cultural knowledge. Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, an attack by Aurelian in the 270s AD, the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in 391, and the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642. After the main library was fully destroyed, ancient scholars used a “daughter library” in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city.According to Socrates of Constantinople, Coptic Pope Theophilus destroyed the Serapeum in 391 AD. The library was but one part of the Musaeum of Alexandria, which functioned as a sort of research institute. In addition to the library the Musaeum included rooms for the study of astronomy, anatomy, and even a zoo of exotic animals. The classical thinkers who studied, wrote, and experimented at the Musaeum include the fathers of mathematics, engineering, physiology, geography, and medicine. These included notable thinkers such as Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes, Herophilus, Erasistratus, Hipparchus, Aedesia, Pappus, Theon, Hypatia, Aristarchus of Samos, and Saint Catherine. History - According to the earliest source of information, the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas composed between c180 and 145 BC, the library was initially organized by Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle, under the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (c.367 BC—c.283 BC). Other sources claim it was instead created under the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC). The Library was built in the Brucheion (Royal Quarter) in the style of Aristotle’s Lyceum, adjacent to and in service of the Musaeum (a Greek Temple or “House of Muses”, whence the term “museum”). The Library at Alexandria was in charge of collecting all the world’s knowledge, and most of the staff was occupied with the task of translating works onto papyrus paper. It did so through an aggressive and well-funded royal mandate involving trips to the book fairs of Rhodes and Athens. According to Galen, any books found on ships that came into port were taken to the library, and were listed as “books of the ships”. Official scribes then copied these writings; the originals were kept in the library, and the copies delivered to the owners. Other than collecting works from the past, the library served as home to a host of international scholars, well-patronized by the Ptolemaic dynasty with travel, lodging, and stipends for their whole families. According to Galen, Ptolemy III requested permission from the Athenians to borrow the original scripts of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, for which the Athenians demanded the enormous amount of fifteen talents (450 kg) of a precious metal as guarantee. Ptolemy III happily paid the fee but kept the original scripts for the library. This story may also be construed erroneously to show the power of Alexandria over Athens during the Ptolemaic dynasty. This detail is due to the fact that Alexandria was a man-made bidirectional port between the mainland and the Pharos island, welcoming trade from the East and West, and soon found itself to be an international hub for trade, the leading producer of papyrus and, soon enough, books. The editors at the Library of Alexandria are especially well known for their work on Homeric texts. The more famous editors generally also held the title of head librarian. These included Zenodotus, Apollonius of Rhodes, Eratosthenes, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and Aristarchus of Samothrace, among others. (While Callimachus—the first bibliographer and developer of the “Pinakes”, popularly considered to be the first library catalog—did his most famous work at the Library of Alexandria, he was never the head librarian there.) In the early 2nd century BC scholars began to abandon Alexandria for safer areas with more generous patronage, and in 145 BC Ptolemy VIII expelled all foreign scholars from Alexandria.
Patti Smith, Just Kids (acceptance speech at the 2010 National Book Awards)
Hole In The Floor by Raw Edges Design, 2010
"I like to flip through old books to see if I can find any handwritten notes. Once I found one with a love note from 1917."