Friday 20 November 2015

The Birth of Venus

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
25 May 2015 | From Nicol of Netherlands

The Birth of Venus is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous and appreciated works of art. I actually even have a cross-stitch version of it I made years ago. The Birth of Venus is probably Botticelli's most famous painting. Painted between 1482 and 1485, it has become a landmark of XV century Italian painting, so rich in meaning and allegorical references to antiquity. The picture hung in the country villa of the Medici along with "Primavera", indicating that the work was commissioned by the Medici family.

The theme comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a very important oeuvre of the Latin literature. Venus is portrayed naked on a shell on the seashore. Venus rises from the sea, looking like a classical statue and floating on a seashell, in what is surely one of the most recognisable images in art history. On Venus' right is Zephyrus, God of Winds, he carries with him the gentle breeze Aura and together they blow the Goddess of Love ashore. The Horae, Goddess of the Seasons, waits to receive Venus and spreads out a flower covered robe in readiness for the Love Goddess' arrival.

White Tiger

The White Bengal Tiger
25 May 2015 | From Anna of Russia

The white tiger is a pigmentation variant of the Bengal tiger, which is reported in the wild from time to time in the Indian states of Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Sunderbans and especially in the former State of Rewa. Although the range of the White Tiger is historically very large, these animals are incredibly rare as their colouration is dependent on a defective, recessive gene that is passed on from their parents.

Today, the White Tiger can still be found in a handful of zoos and animal sanctuaries around the world with these large and beautiful felines often being the star attraction. Along with the Bengal Tiger, the White Tiger is considered to be the second largest species of Tiger in the world after the Siberian Tiger.

Pathway through the heart

To Find the Heart
25 May 2015 | From Irene of Netherlands

Since I'm no good with love, and at some point I don't even believe in love - this is something I am having a hard time writing about. I always say that love is just a game played upon us mere mortals. As George R.R. Martin puts it, 'Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.'

So let me just share to you something I have found several years ago - written on a pages of a book I have borrowed on our local school library. I don't know who wrote it. What drove him or her to write such words...  but somehow it caught me...

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. you build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, No different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life. You give them a piece of you. they didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. it eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness. So simple a phrase like 'maybe we should just be friends' or 'how very perspective' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul hurt, a body hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.

Sites and scenes: Helsinki

The Daughter of the Baltic
25 May 2015 | From Leila of Finland

As the capital and largest city of Finland, Helsinki is Finland's major political, educational, financial, cultural, and research center as well as one of northern Europe's major cities. In 2009, Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, narrowly beating Eindhoven for the title. In 2011, the Monocle magazine ranked Helsinki the most liveable city in the world in its "Liveable Cities Index 2011". In the Economist Intelligence Unit's August 2015 Liveability survey, assessing the best and worst cities to live in globally, Helsinki placed among the world's top ten cities.

Helsinki is a vibrant seaside city of beautiful islands and great green parks. The city’s rhythm is laid back yet at the same time refreshingly active in terms of both the number and quality of restaurants and nightclubs. It is a compact city easily explored on foot. Design, architecture, culture and shopping are all great exploration angles and large park areas, forests, lakes, and the coastline with numerous islands sprinkled off it make certain there’s no shortage of natural presence. Needless to say, there’s something going on in Helsinki every day of the year.

Source: Visit Finland

How the Finns call their country

25 May 2015 | From Petra of Finland

Suomi is Finland, The land of alcohol, trees, polar bears and metal. Suomi means "Finland" in Finnish language. The name Suomi (Finnish for "Finland") has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish (the Finnic languages), this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word *gʰm-on "man" (cf. Gothic guma, Latin homo) has been suggested, being borrowed as *ćoma. The word originally referred only to the province of Finland Proper, and later to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa (fen land) or suoniemi (fen cape), and parallels between saame (Sami, a Finno-Ugric people in Lapland), and Häme (a province in the inland) were drawn, but these theories are now considered outdated.

Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. Finland is part of the geographic region of Fennoscandia, which also includes Scandinavia and parts of Russia.

Finland's Oldest City

Turku Åbo
25 May 2015 | From Ansku of Finland

Turku (Swedish: Åbo) is a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River, in the region of Southwest Finland. Turku, as a town, was settled during the 13th century and founded most likely at the end of the 13th century, making it the oldest city in Finland. It quickly became the most important city in Finland, a status it retained for hundreds of years.

Because of its long history, it has been the site of many important events, and has extensively influenced Finnish history. Along with Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, Turku was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2011. In 1996, it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland. 

My 1000th postcard!

Sunflower and butterfly
25 May 2015 | From Ritva of Finland

May 25th, 2015 - I received my 1000th postcard, and it came all the way from Finland. There is also an interesting story behind this postcard. Ritva, a kind lady of 60 years old, sent me a random message from Postcrossing telling me that she just wanted to send me a postcard, and asked for my address. I gave her a reply along with my address and asked for hers in return. She did reply weeks after and gave me her address. I don't know if she did receive my postcard as I never heard from her again. Hi, Ritva, thank you again for the postcard. I appreciate your kindness. Hope you're well and in good health. Wishing you more beautiful postcards!

This postcard somehow reminds me of Spring ~ although we do not have Spring here, or any of the four seasons so to speak. I love how she used a matching stamp, and wrote such warm words - telling me that this postcard represents 'sun, light, and joy of my life.' Spring is always reminds us of new beginnings. Thus begins my quest for a thousand more postcards :)