“This is the city of losses. It would be nice to level it. To plant again thick Finnish forests, introduce bears, elk, deer: let them graze around the moss-covered Kremlin ruins, let perches swim in its rivers and lakes returned to life, let wild bees focus on storing honey in the deepest fragrant tree cavities. This land needs a rest from its criminal capital. Perhaps then it will be capable of something good. Since it can’t go on forever poisoning the world with the bacilli of evil, oppression, and aggressive dumb destruction!” – Yuri Andrukhovych, The Moscoviad

Albrecht, Adam. Napoleon in burning Moscow. 1841.Albrecht, Adam. Napoleon in burning Moscow. 1841.

The identity of a people and of a civilization is reflected and concentrated in what has been created by the mind—in what is known as “culture.” If this identity is threatened with extinction, cultural life grows correspondingly more intense, more important, until culture itself becomes the living value around which all people rally. – Milan Kundera, “The Tragedy of Central Europe.” New York Review of Books.

Raphael. The Parnassus. 1511. Fresco.
Raphael. The Parnassus. 1511. Fresco.

“Love is an attempt to penetrate another being, but it can only be realized if the surrender is mutual. It is always difficult to give oneself up; few persons anywhere ever succed in doing so, and even fewer transcend the possessive stage to know love for what it actually is: a perpetual discovery, an immersion in the waters of reality, and an unending re-creation.” – Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude

Gauguin, Paul. When Will You Marry? 1892. Oil on canvas..jpg
Gauguin, Paul. When Will You Marry? 1892. Oil on canvas.

“But look,” Marta interrupted him, “how many lights there are in front of us. Everywhere there is light there is love. However different people are, however serious, they all fall in love. It may be hard to believe, but they are in love. Everywhere, in the streets, theaters, lectures, you will see people in love.”
“You don’t see straight. Or rather, you see only one side of things. You don’t notice work which is everywhere too.”
“I can see everything. But you don’t understand me, Yuri. You look at everything in an old-fashioned way, if you don’t mind my saying so. Perhaps you are right. But I want to be naive and beautiful and a little blind. I want to see everything better than it is, to believe in happiness, in something new. I want to wake up in the morning and sing. To go to bed and dream. I want this so much, Yuri. We mustn’t think about it too much. All of those people over there are in love without thinking and they feel well. But you told me to start thinking.”
– Valerian Pidmohylny, A Little Touch of Drama

Matisse, Henri. Woman Reading. 1894. Oil on canvas.
Matisse, Henri. Woman Reading. 1894. Oil on canvas.