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June 28, 2022 | Rome, Italy

Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime

By | 2018-03-21T18:29:13+01:00 March 1st, 2008|Recent Reviews|

By Patricia Hampl

Harcourt, 2007. 224 pages.

We’ve all had such a moment in a Roman museum or gallery. You amble blithely down the aisle taking in a painting here or there until suddenly — inexplicably — you are frozen in your tracks. “Stendhalized” by the overwhelming beauty of an image conjured by a genius.

A gifted poet and memoirist, Hampl describes how even in a consumer-driven world of mass tourism, one can still be shocked into spiritual awareness by such an event. For her this small epiphany came when confronted with the Matisse painting “Woman Before an Aquarium,” at the Chicago Art Institute.

From here, the author takes us on a personal pilgrimage in search of a “secular saint,” and writes compellingly about how such a journey served to reconfirm her faith in God and of a benevolent (sublime) universe.

About the Author:

Patrick Burnson is a writer specializing in international trade and cultural dissonance, who earlier in his career, worked for The Rome Daily American and the International Herald Tribune. Most recently, he served as editor-in-chief of World Trade Magazine, where he bore witness to the catastrophic events of 9/11 and its aftermath. In “Flags of Convenience,” his first novel, he delivers a suspenseful literary work examining the dark underpinnings of globalization. He lives and works in San Francisco.

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