Scott Prior

This guy is good at painting, right?  Am I crazy?

His “Nanny and Rose” used to hang in the lobby of the MFA and whenever I saw it as a kid I was like, oh that guy must be the best painter in the world.

But nobody ever talks about him.

Images from his website.


Theodosius Is Shown The Cave Of The Seven Sleepers

What?  You’ve never heard of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus?  Remember?  The persecutions of Decius?  Instead of submitting to his authority they went into a cave to pray?  Remember?  And they fell asleep?  Decius sealed the cave?  Then two centuries later Theodosius decides to open the cave, to use as a cattle pen?  They’re still alive?  One of them tries to spend his coins with the face of Decius?  When the sleepers see crosses they’re like, “oh? all of you worship Christ?  how wonderful the Lord has proved to be.” People lose it?  When the bishop heard about it he dropped dead?

Did you just, what, did you just sleep through CCD?

Oh, you’re Muslim?  NICE TRY STILL A BIG DEAL IN THE Q’URAN TOO!  They would’ve made pictures if the Q’uran didn’t also ban images of humans.

(photo from The Cloisters, great place to learn about a lot of “off center” medieval Christianity)


Look at this asshole

Anthony Van Dyck, Self-Portrait.

“Possibly 1620-1.”  Art historians, DO YOUR JOBS and get that “possibly” out of there.

“A precocious talent…” yeah I bet he was, The Met.


Fitzhugh Lane

Western shore

Fitz Hugh Lane:  When he was eighteen months old, in his father’s yard, Fitz Hugh Lane grabbed a handful of some kind of weed and put it in his mouth.  John J. Babson’s History of the Town of Gloucester (1860) says it was “apple-peru.”  It may have been jimsonweed.  No matter.  Fitzhugh “was so unfortunate as to lose the use of his lower limbs in consequence, owing to late and unskillful medical treatment.”  He was paralyzed.

Apprenticed to a printmaker in Boston, he soon became famous for his paintings of ships and sunsets.  He decided to go back home.  On a peninsula called Duncan’s Point in Gloucester, he designed and built his own home.  He didn’t like the name Fitz Hugh and with some difficulty had it changed legally to Fitz Henry.  So in catalogs or museum signs he’s sometimes called that.  He was well-known and loved in Gloucester.

Fitz Hugh had a very close friend, all his life, Joseph Stevens, who was from an old Gloucester family.  The story’s told that one day, when they were boys, Joseph Stevens rigged up a special contraption of ropes and pulleys to lift Fitz Hugh high up in the masts and rigging of a ship, so he could look out at the harbor.*  Fitz Hugh died in Joseph Stevens’ house, with Joseph Stevens at his bedside.

– from Crawley’s Lives of The Heroes Of Boston (1958), which I cannot recommend highly enough. Get yourself the reissued 1998 paperback for like a dollar on Amazon.

Once in winter I drove up to Gloucester to the Cape Ann Museum (got the top picture from their website) to view the Fitz Hugh Lanes.**  On the streets of Gloucester with the wind I was as cold as I can ever remember being.

Fitz Hugh Lanes: good name for a Gloucester bowling alley.

*Crawley notes here that he is citing John Wilmerding‘s book Fitz Hugh Lane.  Crawley always acknowledges, often at tedious length, that he has done no scholarship of his own and relies on the work of others.

** Much like the Scottish guy Indiana Jones pretends to be in “Last Crusade” drives up to the castle “to view the tapestries.”