Way Back to Bartolomeo

Madonna in Glory with Saints - Fra BartolomeoRemember two days ago when I wrote, Just Good Enough: Richard Dawkins? Those were the glory days! March 28 sucks, but let’s get it over with.

Marlin Perkins was people you could count on when the Sunday TV’s rough (when I was a kid). And if you don’t get that reference: Perkins was the host of Animal Kingdom. I read this on Wikipedia: “Because Walt Disney had fabricated footage of a mass suicide of lemmings in its film White Wilderness, then CBC journalist Bob McKeown asked Marlin Perkins if he had done the same. Perkins, then in his seventies, ‘firmly asked for the camera to be turned off, then punched a shocked McKeown in the face.'” That story makes his birthday post worth while.

Mike Newell is 71 today. He’s a pretty good director—having directed the only Harry Potter film I’ve been able to watch the whole way through. Strangely, until this day, I always thought that Mike Newell was Mike Nichols. But they aren’t even born on the same day. Conchata Ferrell is 70. She was in Mystic Pizza and Frankenweenie—I’m not even going to mention that show. Basketball player from my childhood (and having the same name as my colleague at The Reaction) Rick Barry is 69. Ken Howard, lately of 30 Rock, is also 69. Dianne Wiest is 65, so she won’t be making anymore movies. And funnyman Nick Frost is 41.

In order to find a birthday really worth celebrating, I had to go all the way back to 1472, because the great Italian painter Fra Bartolomeo was born on this day back then. Actually, I’m not a huge fan, but I will allow that he is insanely great. The problem is that the pre-perspective paintings were so wild and exciting. Perspective came in and really brought the hammer down on the design elements of art, and it took a good 400 years to fully recover. Look at Madonna in Glory with Saints above: I see nothing so much as constraint, although inside that framework, it is lovely. BTW: I love the inclusion of Saint Sebastian. There’s nothing like a good martyr to spice up a painting!

Happy birthday Fra Bartolomeo! You’ve added more to my life than Marlin Perkins, and that’s saying something!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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