The Art and Music of Russia


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Ilya Repin‘s “Horse”

The Art and Music of Russia

My page about Russia is incomplete, but it is under construction. I have named it the “Art and Music of Russia,” but we have also discussed, briefly, the history of Russia. Posts on the history of Russia will be listed separately. I also wrote posts on Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes. For the time being, I am not separating these posts from the “Music of Russia.” Igor Stravinsky, Sergey Prokoviev and other composers wrote the music for the ballets. Diaghilev’s ballets were produced by a team, including artists, one of whom was Pablo Picasso. The musician featured below is Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, one of “The Five” who wrote operas and music based on folktales.

I believe that Vladimir Putin started the war in Ukraine almost single-handedly. However, many Russians support him, and soldiers obey orders. I suspect he is opposed by countries that formerly comprised the USSR. Sadly, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor was killed in Kharkiv,

So, we will have a page on Russia. Although most of the posts recorded on that page are about artists and composers, one cannot avoid referring to Russian history.

Love to everyone 💕

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov‘s Procession of the Nobles
Cosaques sur la mer Noire (Cossacks on the Black Sea) by Ilya Repin

© Micheline Walker
22 March 2022

The Great Gate of Kiev


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“Pictures at an Exhibition: The Great Gate of Kiev (Kyiv),” by Modest Mussorgsky
Sketch of a gate in Kiev one of the Pictures at an Exhibition by Viktor Aleksandrovich Gartman (Hartman)

Not so long ago

Not so long ago, we explored the music of Russia. Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) was the leader of The Five. The Five were composers who attempted to write music that was distinctly Russian. Mussorgsky had befriended architect and artist Viktor Hartmann who died of an aneurysm when he was 39. It was a shock for Mussorgsky. According to critic Vladimir Stasov, Viktor Hartmann gave two pictures to Mussorgsky, one of which was a sketch of the “Great Gate of Kiev.” The two pictures inspired Modest Mussorgsky, who composed Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite of ten pieces for the piano divided by promenades and written in 1874. The tenth and final piece of the suite is based on Hartmann’s the “Great Gate of Kiev.” (Kiev is Kyiv)

Pictures at an Exhibition is Modest Mussorgsky’s most famous composition. We seldom hear the piano suite because it must be performed by a virtuoso pianist. Remember that the ringing of bells is a characteristic of the music of Russia and Ukraine. 

Vladimir Stasov’s portrait by Ilya Repin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Saint Petersburg governor at the Kremlin (Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Hartmann’s Kyiv is now being destroyed by Vladimir Putin; I cannot believe what I am seeing. This is madness on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if I could close the sky over Ukraine, I would. Vladimir Putin is the architect of this massacre. The flying zone is an open gate because Ukraine is not a member of NATO, which, ironically, gives Putin the freedom to destroy a country. As for the United States, it is burying Manifest Destiny

It could be that Putin remembers times that will never return. Russia was once so large that it was called “toutes les Russies,” all the Russias.  

At what cost will Ukraine survive this insane invasion? 


Victor Hartmann & Modest Mussorgsky (8 September 2012)
(a page will soon be available)

Love to everyone 💕

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a concert marking the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea
(Image: Getty Images)

© Micheline Walker
21 March 2022

Introducing “The Fox and the Goat”


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The Fox and Goat, The Æsop for Children, Milo Winter (1919)

I will soon post an article about La Fontaine’s Preface to his first collection (Recueil) of Fables. He uses The Fox and the Goat as an example, hence the picture above. The Goat should be in the well, not the Fox. The Fox and the Goat were on friendly terms, and both entered the well to quench their thirst. The Fox climbed out of the well using the Goat’s shoulders and horns. He then preached and left without helping the Goat, his companion, escape.

The War in Ukraine

But that Fox is Vladimir Putin who invaded Ukraine for reasons that cannot justify the deaths of Ukrainians and their flight out of their country to escape. Putin’s army is also destroying public and private quarters. It could be that we are seeing the natural face of Vladimir Putin, but something may have gone very wrong. I doubt very much that he will win this war. He is also silencing Russian citizens who oppose the war. He has too few, if any, supporters. We cannot afford a Third World War,



It has been a long illness, but I have started to feel better. The pain is less severe, so I will attempt to return to normal activities.

I do not regret being vaccinated against Covid, but I could not have imagined how painful and disabling Pericarditis could be. I am now medicated, but I have not been prescribed a pain killer, except briefly, in Magog. Moreover, this illness is in its 5th month, so I suspect Pericarditis will recur.

I have been in Magog for a week but will return to Sherbrooke on 17th March 2022. Sherbrooke is home, and work must be done to my bathroom. I was asked to remove the old whirlpool bathtub because it could leak. Replacing the whirlpool tub was extremely expensive. Moreover, I must fight the Domino effect. The faucets are different; a hand shower is included. The tub surround was wood, which will not do unless the wood is treated. I considered buying an oval shower rod. But my idea was not popular. I should also replace the large vanity, the shower, and everything else, to match the tub. I must resist.

La Fontaine’s Fables by Félix Lorioux (cover)

We are about to read the Preface to Jean de La Fontaine’s first collection of fables. The first collection (Recueil) consisted of six books published in 1668. The second collection, five books, was published ten years later, in 1678. In 1793, La Fontaine published his third collection, one book. He was born in 1621 and died in 1695, shortly after his third collection was published.

The apparently incoherent Preface validates Milo Winter’s illustration. Unfortunately, I have not found a picture of The Fox and the Goat by Félix Lorioux.

Milo Winter illustrated the Æsop for Children. In both Æsop’s fable and La Fontaine’s The Fox and the Goat (III.5), the Fox climbs out of the well using the shoulders and horns of the Goat. Therefore, the Goat should be inside the well.

Le Renard et le Bouc (La Fontaine)
The Fox and the Goat (La Fontaine)
The Fox and the Goat (Æsop)

The Æsopic moral of the fable is the ell knows: “Look before you leap.” La Fontaine’s is
« En toute chose il faut considérer la fin. » (“In every matter we should mind the end.”)

Love to everyone 💕

Prokofiev Romeo and Juliette, Kissin
Le Renard et le Bouc, d’après Gustave Doré
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
10 March 2022

A Few Words …


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Sappho par Charles Menguin, 1877

Dear friends,

I have yet to recover from pericarditis. It was diagnosed on 4 October 2021. Other problems were diagnosed later: an inflammation of the rib cage muscles and broken ribs. However, the initial diagnosis remains valid. It is pericarditis, and it is harrowing. I have undergone several tests, but I cannot say that I have been treated. Life in Magog is better than life in Sherbrooke. I have a friend who looks after me and is good company. If I can use my left arm – I am left-handed – we sit at the dining table and work at our computers. I can barely use my left hand. I am now in Sherbrooke looking after domestic matters. The co-owners of this building were told to get rid of their thirty-year-old whirlpool tubs because they could leak. I was not prepared for this.

Life goes on despite the pain. Canada is spending billions on its healthcare programme. I could choose my doctor in Canadian provinces other than Quebec, but one is lucky to have a doctor in Quebec. It could be that, by now, matters have also changed in the rest of Canada. At any rate, some people are going to private doctors. It may be my only recourse, which should not be the case.

Best regards to everyone. 💕

Marc-André Hamelin plays Paganini.
Afficher l’image source
Sappho, The Standford Daily

© Micheline Walker
15 February 2022

News, at last …


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The Ephiphany (detail), by Félix Lorioux (commulysse)

I am still unwell. I believe my illness is pericarditis, the first diagnosis. It may have been a reaction to a Covid vaccine. Vaccines may cause Pericarditis and Myocarditis, but it remains best to be vaccinated.

People suffering from pericarditis are usually prescribed colchicine. I was not. Colchicine may have been all I needed. I was prescribed corticosteroids and morphine in Magog. Pericarditis is extremely painful. So, this medication is appropriate temporarily.

Kind regards to all of you. 💕

Fables by La Fontaine (cover), by Félix Lorioux

© Micheline Walker
16 January 2022

Le Buffon des enfants / Buffon for Children


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Les Insectes de chez nous par Félix Lorioux / Our Insects
Les Oiseaux de chez nous par Félix Lorioux / Our Birds
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

Le Buffon des enfants

In his Buffon des enfants, Félix Lorioux followed in Buffon’s footpath. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, (1707-1788) was a scientist. He classified his animals, and so did Lorioux. However, our second image shows a winged creature. It is a rooster and it may well be the emblematic coq gaulois (as in Gallic), the rooster of France. In 1870, France, under the French Second Empire, attacked Prussia. Self-proclaimed French Emperor Napoléon III was taken prisoner at the Battle of Sedan. The Franco-Prussian War was a bitter defeat for France. When it signed the Treaty of Frankfurt, in 1871, France gave Germany billions of francs in war indemnity, as well as most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine. (See Franco-Prussian War, Wikipedia.) I suspect, therefore, a soupçon of nationalism in Lorioux’s Les Oiseaux de chez nous (Our Birds) and Les Insectes de chez nous (Our Insects). France was again declared a republic, the French Third Republic, which lasted until 1940.

Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes
Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes
Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes


Lorioux’s insects are not only French; they are also anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise. Our insect musician, just above, has a dressed insect audience. Also, look at the image below this paragraph. It also has an audience. If they are dressed like human beings, animals are closer to children. Taming his animals reflects Lorioux’s insight into the nature of children. Here, Lorioux exemplifies a child’s need to identify with the animals of illustrations. One also senses that Lorioux was influenced by the very talented and numerous English illustrators of his age or nearly so.

Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes


The Internet has a limited number of illustrations by Loriaux. I will have to purchase books Lorioux published. Le Buffon des enfants was Lorioux’ finest achievement. Consequently, Le Buffon des enfants is a good example of Lorioux’s immense talent. The main, if not the only, source of Loriaux’s pictures featuring birds and insects is:
It is an admirable site. Lorioux’s use of pink is most fortunate. What insects are seeking in blushing flowers is their nectar.

About Illustrator Félix Lorioux (8 December 2021)
Forthcoming: Félix Lorioux (1 December 2021)
The Nineteenth Century in France (28 July 2018)
The Golden Age of Illustration in Britain (30 October 2015)

Love to everyone 💕

My favourite …
Felix Lorioux
Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes

© Micheline Walker
4 January 2022

Could it be the war on opioids?


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Sandro Botticelli


Two nights ago, I was in such pain that I thought no law should prevent a doctor from prescribing medication that soothes a patient’s pain. I phoned a friend and my nephew to tell them that I may have to enter a hospital. However, after I took a muscle relaxant, prescribed, and several tablets of Tylenol the pain was more tolerable. However, this morning, the pain had returned.

I can understand that a government would “crackdown” on opioids. There are dealers making a fortune selling opioids and young people who use opioids for recreational purposes. In fact, it kills. But it is difficult to accept that the sick should pay the price for the criminal and abusive use of opioids. There are times when a painkiller is necessary, just as there are times when a doctor must be at liberty to perform an abortion.

The last time I was in the Emergency Room, the doctor spoke to me aggressively. I left with a prescription for medication that could not alleviate the pain I experienced. So it could be that doctors are afraid. Given the fight against opioids, they hesitate to prescribe them. However, having to suffer needlessly at this stage in my life seems an offence. In the past, I have taken codeine to relieve the pain of migraines, but codeine will no longer be prescribed to me by my new doctor. He had negative comments about codeine. A few days from now, I will know whether my illness is a degenerative musculoskeletal condition, which it may not be. But if it is, and the pain is not constant, i. e. every minute of the day, I will not qualify for genuine relief.

Moreover, a good relationship with my new doctor has now been jeopardized. How can I trust a man who has already shown indifference to the pain I was experiencing. He told me to buy Voltaren and to pay for the services of a physiotherapist. He claimed that my neck was the problem. However, the X-rays did not show damage to the neck. In Magog, I was prescribed Prednizone (cortisone) and morphine, a short course of each medication. That kind of prescription could not be renewed, but it had helped me. Besides, the problem was first diagnosed as pericarditis.

I hope that my next test does not reveal a degenerative musculoskeletal disease. What would I do?

Grief has affected my health adversely, … I was talked into selling my home in Antigonish, and my family bought an apartment in Sherbrooke. I had seen the apartment. It was large, and it had an office. They refused to have the condo inspected, which is a mistake, and, although I hired a notary fearing my father may not read the documentation about the building, I learned, too late, that the apartment could not be sold to a person who needed a mortgage. I could not sell that apartment. So, I lost my equity. Nearly all that my career had earned me. Besides, I was selling the Antigonish house on the condition that my application for disability benefits was approved. I was told that it had been approved, but it hadn’t. The person who bought my house died, but I did not have the money to repurchase it. Colleagues had already fooled me into relinquishing my tenure, but I would have liked to return to my home. What had I done?

It is all incredible. I often wonder why I have retained a youthful face and figure. It seems a lie.

It appears I suffer from a musculoskeletal condition. The pain is genuine, but which condition is it?

My smartphone just informed me that a curfew is effective now. No one can leave home between 10 in the evening and 5 in the morning, which means that New Year’s celebrations had to be cancelled.

But let us hope for the best. Covid hasn’t ended, but a new year brings promise. Life starts anew. It has always done so.

Love to everyone and a Happy New Year 💕

Claude Debussy La Fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair)
Résultat d’images pour Sandro Botticelli Paintings
Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli

© Micheline Walker
31 December 2021

Happy Holidays


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Livre d’images de madame Marie Hainaut, vers 1285-1290 Paris, BnF, Naf 16251, fol. 22v. La naissance du Christ est annoncée aux bergers, aux humbles. “Et voici qu’un ange du seigneur leur apparut [.] Ils furent saisis d’une grande frayeur. Mais l’ange leur dit : “Ne craignez point, car je vous annonce une bonne nouvelle[.](The Birth of Christ announced to the Shepherds) (Photo credit: the National Library of France [BnF])

This image is delightful. The animals resemble speaking animals. One is seeking the attention of a shepherd in the same way a domestic cat or dog tries to attract the attention of its humans. It is not an anthropomorphic animal or a human in disguise. As for the angels, they look like human beings, but they have wings. They are zoomorphic. Zoomorphic beings combine the features of a human being with the features of an animal. In fact, they may combine the features of many animals. Zoomorphic creatures may be anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise, but I have yet to find a proper classification for Angels, except zoomorphism. They may be zootheistic, but they are not gods.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ. Jesus never founded a religion, but the Christian religion was founded in his name at the first council of Nicaea, by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325/CE 325. The Christian Church is the second Abrahamic religion. The first is Judaism and the third, Islam. The three Abrahamic religions overlap. The story begins with the fall of Man. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Forbidden Tree (the Tree of Knowledge) in Paradise. They were led out of Paradise. Christ is the Redeemer in the Christian Church. He was transubstantiated, or made into flesh, and died on the Cross redeeming Mankind. Islam chose Arab leader Muhammad (c. 570 – 8 June 632 CE) as its prophet, but Islam reveres Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew. (See Jesus, Wikipedia.)

The Winter Solstice

Christmas is also the feast celebrating the winter solstice, the day of the longest night. In this regard, Paganism entered Christianity very discreetly. In Ancient Rome, the longest night was celebrated by upending reality. During Saturnalia, the master was a slave. The world was upside down.

Ancient Greece had a god of festivity, named Comus or Komus. The Winter Solstice, the longest night, authorised drunken and disorderly festivities. In earlier times, an old King was killed and a young King, crowned. Comedy is associated with the Comus. The young couple overcomes the heavy father opposing their marriage, which is the basic plot of all comedies. In order to rehabilitate society, a pharmākos (scapegoat) was ousted. (See 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Comus). I wrote my PhD thesis on the pharmākos in Molière’s theatre. In Tartuffe, Tartuffe, a character, is a pharmākos, he is “neither innocent nor guilty” (See Northrop Frye‘s Anatomy of Criticism).[1] His relationship with Orgon, the father, is nearly symbiotic, but as the curtain falls on a comedy, it should include a family in its entirety.


Attached to Christmas is a wealth of information. The above is brief. More information can be found on a page entitled Feasts and Liturgy. My illness has turned into episodes of intense pain. My heart feels as though it will fail me (psasms and convulsions). Doctors suspect a musculoskeletal illness that could be related to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I will undergo a test on 6 January. 

[1] I am in Magog, where my friend John is looking after me. My copy of Anatomy of Criticism is in Sherbrooke. I cannot indicate the page containing this quotation. If I recover from my current illness and obtain some financial support, I will update and publish my thesis. I may write a summary in English.


Wishing all of you Happy Holidays 🎄💕

The end of this post differs from the end of the post I first published. Something went wrong. Apologies.
“The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel‘s Messiah
Evelyn De Morgan, Flora, 1894

© Micheline Walker
25 December 2021

Do not Blame the Vaccine


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La Messe de Minuit par Clarence Gagnon, 1933 (


My last post may have confused certain readers, which is very sad. I was fully vaccinated but, during a visit to an emergency room, I was diagnosed with Pericarditis. Pericarditis and Myocarditis may be caused by a vaccine, including the vaccine protecting us from Covid-19. I would like to make it very clear that I was vaccinated against Covid-19 too early for the vaccine to be associated with the onset of Pericarditis or Myocarditis. Moreover, my diagnosis was not clear. Therefore, my illness was not associated with the vaccine against the Covid-19 virus.

During two visits to an emergency room in Sherbrooke and Magog, I was diagnosed with inflamed muscles in the rib cage and with a degree of deterioration of my left shoulder. The pain goes from the shoulder to the wrist. Doctors now suspect a musculoskeletal condition. I caught the H1N1 virus 46 years ago and never recovered. It caused Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Although my heart still feels as though it was squeezed by a powerful hand, I suspect a mere continuation of ME/CFS.

In short, the vaccine did not cause Pericarditis.

Please listen to Dr Fauci, the CDC, the WHO, and top doctors in various countries. Since the beginning of this crisis, the words of politicians have been deemed truer than the words of experts.


Above, we see Clarence Gagnon’s depiction of Midnight Mass. Traditionally, Quebecers used mass as the weekly get-together. Christmas was no exception. They then walked home for the réveillon.

Kindest regards to everyone 💕

Clarence Gagnon Intermezzi Brahms
Laurentian Village by Clarence Gagnon (

© Micheline Walker
23 December 2021

On Pain: Mid-December


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Lawren S. Harris (Pinterest) Group of Seven, Canada


Winter has come. There is very little snow, but it is cold. Storms devastated many American states. I grieve for those who have lost a loved one and their home.

Medical Tests

I went for tests on the 14th and 16th of December. On the 14th, I was in considerable pain when I arrived for the tests. So, afterward, I returned to the Emergency Room. The doctor who looked after me told me, somewhat aggressively, to dismiss all previous diagnoses. She also stated that we did not have a firm diagnosis concerning my illness and that she would not prescribe medication. If my memory serves me well, my doctor also said that she was a young emergency-room doctor and that she did not have the authority to prescribe medication. Other emergency-room doctors had prescribed medication.

But we did have a diagnosis. I had been diagnosed with pericarditis, inflamed muscles in the rib cage, a deteriorating left shoulder, and arm, etc. In rare cases, the vaccine can cause pericarditis and/or myocarditis. However, Covid-19 is the greater evil. Therefore, one gets vaccinated.

However, after my heart was examined and tests performed, this doctor wanted to send me home unmedicated. Pain may sound the alarm, but it can grow into a medical issue. I told her that I could not tolerate this level of pain and needed medical help. I could not understand what had happened to me.

Another doctor walked by and asked, jokingly, if I was the lady with the sick shoulder. How did he know? I said that I was indeed the lady with the sick shoulder and told him that the pain had become so intense that it was crippling. Something had to be done. He said he would look at the papers. In the end, the doctors, or my doctor, phoned the pharmacy to prescribe barely effective painkillers, but painkillers.

However, I still wonder why I was not prescribed effective medication. I am small, but I am not a child. The doctor also said that the pain I felt was not always constant. It could stop for a few minutes and then recur. Therefore, it did not warrant medication. My friend Paulina arrived, caught a few words, and said that for the last few weeks, I had not been the same. I was not at my computer.

One is asked to provide a number from one to ten to describe the intensity of one’s pain, but that is very difficult. I was not being burned alive, yet I was experiencing considerable pain.

Reality has changed, but has it changed to the point where taking a few tablets of codeine is considered harmful? Moreover, although Covid-19 has exerted an influence on everyone, the medical use of morphine for a few days is still acceptable. In rare cases, Covid-19 vaccines can trigger pericarditis and myocarditis which in no way lessens the benefits of the vaccine. This may have led my doctor to a degree of analysis paralysis.

This little post is not under “Medicine in Quebec.” But I am worried. Will I be left to age and die in pain as though I were the epitome of nothingness? It comforts me to think that if there is a God, and there is a God, God knows me.


This is the month of Christmas and the day of the longest night. The Winter solstice, is very near in this hemisphere.

We are going back to Félix Loriaux. Would that I could find more pictures of his Buffon pour les enfants, One site does show illustrations of the Buffon pour les enfants, but are short of images. So, I may have to order the relevant books, if they are affordable. As you know. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a naturalist. The animals he discussed were animals, not animals in disguise.

Below the video, you will find a page from an illuminated manuscript belonging to madame Marie Hainaut (1285). I love this naive depiction of an angel telling the shepherds that Christ is born.

A picture on our video features anthropomorphic humans, humans disguised as animals.

As for the related articles, they are the story of a Czech gentleman, John Amos Comenius, who may well have been the first educator to state that illustrations helped students to remember. A picture is worth a thousand words.


Bardcore/Modern Medieval Christmas Editon | Medieval Instrumental Music Compilation
Livre d’images de madame Marie Hainaut, vers 1285-1290 Paris, BnF, Naf 16251, fol. 22v. La naissance du Christ est annoncée aux bergers, aux humbles. “Et voici qu’un ange du seigneur leur apparut [.]. Ils furent saisis d’une grande frayeur. Mais l’ange leur dit : “Ne craignez point, car je vous annonce une bonne nouvelle [.]” (The Birth of Christ announced to the Shepherds) (Photo credit: the National Library of France [BnF])

© Micheline Walker
18 December 2021
revised 19 December 2021