Johan Tobias Sergel, the famous neoclassical sculptor, sometimes drew himself as an overweight drunkard. Portraits of him by others are scarce. Imagine my surprise when in a temporary exhibition I saw this charming portrait by his friend, Lorens Pasch the younger. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Sweden, owns it but keeps it normally hidden.
Have you ever, while travelling by air, seen something like in this picture? I always thought that in cloudy weather the clouds are rather low, and the aircraft goes above them in sunlight. Recently however, even at the highest level of the route there were clouds above us, but the ground was fairly visible from 29 000 ft. The photo is in colour allright, but in the scarce light, with frozen waters, it seems almost monochrome. What you see is a part of the Östergötland (Ostrogothia) province. Between Glan and Bråviken there is the city of Norrköping, but you hardly discern it because the time is 2.30 pm and no street lights are on.
January 1. A direct shoot from the TV screen while the programme was on. Two violinists, having rest, sit back and enjoy the harp solo.
… or so I thought. They don’t just sit back. They concentrate upon the moment when almost the whole orchestra will whistle a section of Carl Michael Ziehrer’s “Weaner Madl’n” with only the harp and French horns for accompaniment!
On New Year’s Day I watched on TV, like many years before, the famous concert of the Wiener Philharmoniker. First time I have heard them whistling!
I will say something about what use you can have of reading good fiction. This series of novels by Lawrence Durrell is great of course, I hardly need to tell you that. The story is about the life of a limited circle of people who all know each other more or less, during a few years when they all live in the same city. Even though the narrator is an “I”, all of them on occasions step forward, taking the lead. There are even lots of quotations from an earlier novel which was never really written, because its author himself is a fictional character! After the last page of the last volume, I had a similar feeling as I have got from other great reading experiences, be it “Dombey and Son” or “The Da Vinci Code”, an insight which is harder to get from philosophy or psychology: Nothing is exactly what it looks like. There is always the possibility of another aspect that you cannot think of right now, but later may appear as the solution you missed.