The great Italian Mannerist painter Jacopo Carucci (generally know simply as “Pontormo,” I guess because he was from Pontorme) was born on this day in 1494. His religious work generally involved crowed, but beautifully composed scenes. His portraits similarly have an other world quality to them. All of his work, while realistic in its details creates an abstract feeling that is hard to describe. (Click over and look at some of his work.) He was also the teacher of Il Bronzino, who paints just like Pontormo, although (I think) better.
German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was born on this day in 1686. Guess what temperature scale he’s known for. Queen Victoria was born in 1819. She was Queen of England for almost 64 years, which makes her the longest reigning monarch in British history. But Elizabeth II is gaining fast, and in all likelihood will overtake her in two and a half years. The phrase, “We are not amused” is associated with Queen Victoria, but she maintained that she had never said it. People close to her said that she she had a hardy and easy laugh. I’d like to think so. Here’s a song just for her:
Inventor of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, H. B. Reese was born on this day back in 1879. He was not, thankfully, responsible for those terrible “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” commercials in the 1970s. Like people walk around with jars of peanut butter, eating it with their fingers. I think that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the best mass-produced candy in the world. So all we need is a commercial that says, “Remember: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are delicious!” It also has the advantage that it is true.
And finally, relatively minor but incredibly compelling sculptor Sylvia Daoust was born on this day in 1902. She primarily did religious work. But the sculpture on the right My Head from 1930 is typical of the kind of stuff I admire. Her religious sculpture is less artistic, more purely representational, although I’m sure it was good for paying the bills.
The great French actor Michael Lonsdale is 82 today. Comedian Tommy Chong is 75. Liberal linguist George Lakoff is 72. Radar from MASH, Gary Burghoff is 70. Patti LaBelle is 69. Guitarist Waddy Wachtel is 66 and his hair is still perfect. Rosanne Cash is 58. And actor Kristin Scott Thomas is 53.
There are a lot of fine birthdays today, but still, this day was not even close. It belongs to the great Robert Allen Zimmerman, also known as Bob Dylan, who is 72 today. What can I say about Bob Dylan? Do I need to say anything about him? He made, I don’t know, about ten of my very favorite albums. I still listen to him every week. The albums that I never tire of are The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, and Blood on the Tracks. Here he is doing “Tangled Up in Blue”:
Happy birthday Bob Dylan!
Here is what Loudon Wainwright did for Bob Dylan’s birthday 22 years ago: