Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir, 12th Century

Its stone walls stood sentinel on the tall embankment overlooking the Klyazma River, which wended its way sluggishly through an ocean of marshy green meadows. One end of the building swelled away from them toward the sunrise like an overripe fruit ready to burst. The other walls stood erect and prim, a musical rhythm in … Continue reading Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir, 12th Century

Giuseppe Pellizza, Il Sole, 1904

Forty days, they told me—quaranta giorni—but I think it was more. Sixty? Seventy-five? No matter. It's over now. During my solitude, my bedroom quickly became a dark, fusty, unwelcoming place, so I slept on my balcony most nights, in spite of the cold, my down comforter and flannel pajamas wrapped tightly around me, the slender … Continue reading Giuseppe Pellizza, Il Sole, 1904

Pyotr Konchalovsky, First Snow. Blue Dacha, 1938

My parents' country house was built nearly a century ago, and though it's a country house, it has many of the trappings of an upscale city dwelling. There are formal spaces with slick, polished wood floors, large glass windows with delicate carving around the moldings, and rich fabrics with tulips and rosettes adorning the floors … Continue reading Pyotr Konchalovsky, First Snow. Blue Dacha, 1938

Pieter Breugel the Elder, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565

Everyone told her it would be cold, but she thought perhaps the snow and ice might wait a while. At least give her a chance to settle in before greeting her. But that, of course, was not to be. Their caravan had been on the move for months now, and she felt that she had … Continue reading Pieter Breugel the Elder, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565

Winged Victory of Samothrace, 220–185 BCE

I am hard stone pulled from the earth. For millennia I was pressed and squeezed and heated. My universe was dark and compact. I was limestone, and then as the earth roiled and shifted around me, year after year, millennium after century after epoch, I became what you now see. A "metamorphic rock," a stunning … Continue reading Winged Victory of Samothrace, 220–185 BCE