The Music of “The Mother”, Mira Alfassa (1878) – Founder of Auroville

I thought i’d give you something totally different today and introduce you to the music (and art) of Mira Alfassa. She played and painted and was known to her followers as “The Mother”. She was the partner of Sri Aurobindo and settled, from France in India in 1914. She was born in Paris in 1878.

They founded a commune, which still exists today called “Auroville“. It has a population of around 2350. Their stated belief system was

Auroville should be at the service of Truth, beyond all social, political and religious conviction. Auroville is the effort towards peace, in sincerity and Truth

I came upon a piece of music that she played which is a round 20 minutes long. It is haunting! It’s one of those pieces that if you just listen to a for a few moments, you will surely totally miss the point. You want to focus 100%, turn off the lights and just listen completely.

She would play whilst meditating and also painted occult impressionist style art, which you can see in the video above.

If you want to listen to the piece and are ready for it, click HERE

Daughter of the President of the United States

By the way, if you think this is a joke then listen to this! The President of the United States’s daughter, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, travelled to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India in 1940 (approx). She chose to live there for the rest of her life and became a Hindu nun. She was given the new name ‘Nistha’ and chose to die in India, right there. She would write letters back saying how happy she was. Not something they tend to teach in history lessons or encourage too much, I guess! She wrote in a letter to her friend Lois,in 1939: “Since seeing Sri Aurobindo and the Mother together, I have been surer than ever that their way is my way – that my soul brought me here where it belongs”.

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By Anthony King (c)

La Gare Saint-Lazare by Claude Monet, 1877, Musée d’Orsay, PARIS – ANALYSIS – PODCAST

The StLazare Station by Claude MonetToday’s podcast was recorded live inside the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

You can listen to it by pressing “play” on the above video and watching the slideshow (it’s suggested that you watch/listen in “HD”).

The subject is a series of paintings by Claude Monet and specifically a version called “La Gare Saint-Lazare” (“The Saint-Lazare Station”).

It’s a beautiful painting and differs from my favourite version which is located in London at the National Gallery. The National Gallery version is much darker and quite a lot smaller.

Musee d OrsayMonet painted 12 in this series and it’s my understanding that 4 still survive today
(However, who really knows!?).

I have located a version in a 1970’s art book which is held in a private collection in the United States and we will take a closer look at this, as best as we can, in a future part of this podcast series.

The most famous, or at least, for me, the most famous and one that I visit at least a few times a month is called “The Gare St-Lazare“, In fact they’re all basically the same station during different seasons and on different days, all with totally different energy, different feel and different aesthetics.

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The immortal Erik Satie at 150, celebrating the eccentric genius

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of French eccentric and musicians birth. Erik Satie is a one of a kind. I say “is” because within the small community of people that love Satie, his spirit and attitude will never die. He will live on through his music. He was a character indeed. In fact his music is the theme music to this blog and podcast!

I recently visited his Montmartre home at Rue Cortot Nº 6, which you can see in the photograph I took, below. In fact I did the whole podcast treatment to somebody I have so much admiration and respect but you will have to wait for that in a soon to come post!

Erik Satie House

Erik Satie is most famous for his solo piano works the “Gymnopédies” and “Gnossiennes”. You can take a listen to the “Gymnopédies” below:

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Starry Night Over The Rhone by Vincent van Gogh, Musée d’Orsay, Paris – Analysis – PODCAST

Today we’re visiting the world famous Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France, to take a look at Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Starry night over the Rhone”. It is a very special piece of art because it is totally different in real life, looking at it with your own eyes, than any reproduction or photograph. Van Gogh’s “Starry night over the Rhone” has a spirit and a powerful energy that absorbs the viewer.

Starry Night Over The Rhone

Dutch Painter: Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

Van Gogh was born on the 30th March 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands. He died very young, at the age of only 37 (He’s the guy that cut his ear off!). Vincent van Gogh suffered from mental illness and was actually committed (actually self-admitted) to an asylum. “Starry night over the Rhone” was one of his last paintings before we entered the Asylum and was painted in September 1888. The river Rhone flows through the south of France, through the city of Arles. Van Gogh rented a house a short walk from the river and decided to paint the scene.

Starry Night Over The Rhone, Paris

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Arts et Métiers, Paris Métro, France. The Jules Verne Submarine Steampunk station!


Today we’re going to visit the metro station, Arts et Métiers in Paris, France. It’s a very special station with a very unique design, inspired by the fictional submarine “The Nautilus”, from the work of Jules Verne. Jules Verne was born in France on 8 February 1828 and died on 24 March 1905. He is most famous for his adventure novels including, “Journey to the centre of the Earth”, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, and “Around the World in Eighty Days”.

Arts et Métiers (Paris Métro) (3)

“The Nautilus” is the submarine, captained by “Nemo”, from “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and “The Mysterious Island” (1870 and 1874). Jules Verne had a huge influence on science fiction and if you remember the “Back to the future” series, “Doctor Emmett Brown” was inspired by the work of Jules Verne and named his children after him, in the third instalment of the world famous Hollywood franchise.

Arts et Métiers (Paris Métro) (2)

Arts et Métiers, Paris Métro

“Arts et Métiers” is the location of the arts and craft museum, “Musée des Arts et Métiers”. It is on Line 3 and Line 11 (the weird green line and the brown coloured line) and has two very different platforms. One is a quite traditional looking metro line and the other takes you “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” inside “The Nautilus” submarine! The original station opened on the 19th October 1904 and the second platform (or third and forth, depending how you look at it!), line 11, opened on the 28th April 1935.

Arts et Métiers (Paris Métro)

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The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin – Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster, London – PODCAST

Today we visit Victoria Tower Gardens next to The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, to take a look at a bronze sculpture by the French artist August Rodin.

The Burghers of Calais, Rodin, London

The piece is called “The Burghers of Calais” and it has been placed within the shadow of Victoria Tower, which creates a very powerful juxtaposition indeed.

In today’s audio broadcast from Westminster we take an in depth look into the history of the sculpture, the location and the story which inspired Rodin to create this powerful work.

Make yourself a nice cup of tea and press play on the video above! The video includes a slideshow of various photographs taken by myself at the location as well as a great photograph of Victoria Gardens being constructed in the 1870s.

French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840–1917)

Victoria Tower Gardens, London 1870s

Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor born in Paris on November 12, 1840. His realistic bronze, plaster and stone creations had a big impact on 20th century sculpture, modern art in general and his influence is still seen around the world through his famous pieces to this day.

Rodin died in 1917 and left his work to the French government. You can read more about him on Wikipedia HERE and his official museum in Paris HERE.

Rodin is most famous for “The Thinker,” “The Kiss” and “The Gates of Hell”. In fact some of these individual works are inspired directly from his previous work “The Gates of Hell”. We will investigate this later in depth whilst looking at each individual piece, on location. The 3 works that I have mentioned (especially “The Thinker”) are probably some of the most famous recognisable sculptures ever.

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