Archive for April 14, 2017

A Good Friday’s Cricket 

Posted in Cricket with tags on April 14, 2017 by telescoper

Some time ago I decided to become a member at Glamorgan County Cricket Club for this season, the price of which includes admission to all County Championship, One Day and Twenty20 games for the season. Since the SWALEC Stadium at Sophia Gardens is only ten minutes’ walk from my house, I hope to catch a fair amount of cricket this summer.

And so it came to pass that this morning I found myself watching the first County Championship game of the season in Cardiff, between Glamorgan and Worcestershire. Glamorgan lost their first match of the season (away against Northamptonshire) inside two days, by an innings and 22 runs, so the home fans were hoping for a stronger performance in this match.

The ground was fairly sparsely populated, as per usual for County Cricket, but there were enough people there to create an atmosphere and not so many to cause long queues at the bar.

In overcast and rather chilly conditions, Worcestershire used the uncontested toss to invite Glamorgan to bat first. As they had done against Northamptonshire, Glamorgan’s batsmen struggled, losing eight wickets for 105  in the first session. Another thrashing looked inevitable.

After lunch, however, the situation improved as Lloyd, in partnership first with Carey and then with Hogan, added over a hundred at about eight an over. Glamorgan were eventually all out for 207. Lloyd was last out, for 88.

Worcestershire lost both openers with just one run on the board, but Fell and Clarke added 79 runs before both got out in quick succession. At 80 for 4 a collapse looked on the cards, but Kohler-Cadmore and wicket-keeper Cox put together a century partnership before bad light brought play to an early close.

Worcestershire at 180 for 4 definitely have the upper hand, but with 387 runs having been scored and 14 wickets having fallen, it was a good day’s cricket.

Incidentally, this summer Glamorgan are celebrating 50 years of cricket at Sophia Gardens. Before 1967 they played their games on a cricket ground in Cardiff Arms Park, which was next to the famous rugby stadium. However this site is right next to the River Taff and suffered from very poor drainage. The sheer number of rugby games – both local and international – combined with the drainage problem meant the pitch was often in very poor condition, compared to the other home international rugby grounds. It was therefore decided to move the cricket ground and build a second rugby stadium. It’s quite a complicated story, but that is basically why nowadays there are two rugby stadiums side by side in central Cardiff, the huge  Millennium Stadium (now called the Principality Stadium) for internationals, and the much smaller Cardiff Arms Park, home to Cardiff Blues.

The cricket didn’t move far, however, as Sophia Gardens is just a short walk from the city centre and even closer to my house! I’ll be there tomorrow, to find out what Day 2 has to offer.

Lamentation over the Dead Christ – Sebastiano del Piombo 

Posted in Art with tags , , , on April 14, 2017 by telescoper

I came across this picture in this week’s Times Literary Supplement as part of an article describing an exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery in London. I thought I’d share it here because it’s such an extraordinarily powerful and mysterious image.

It was painted sometime around 1512-16 by Sebastiano del Piombo, a contemporary of Michelangelo. 

The Pietà (an image of the distraught Virgin Mary lamenting the death of her son, usually cradling his lifeless body) is a familiar subject in religious art, but this particular version is strikingly different.

For one thing, the Virgin Mary is not holding, or even looking at, the body of Christ. She seems instead  to be lost in prayer. 

For another, the figure of Mary towers over the corpse at her feet. Is it just me, or does she look rather masculine too? Assuming this is deliberate, are we seeing her somehow growing in stature, perhaps becoming divine herself?

It’s as if we catch her in the moment in which she is undergoing some form of transformation. In any case she’s not simply overcome with grief as in many depictions of this scene. What she is experiencing remains an enigma. This is not unusual for Renaissance art: paintings in particular often seem to contain secret messages.

The body of her son – brown and apparently without wounds – looks grotesquely stiff, incapable of being embraced. The background is a bleak landscape of ruined buildings and stunted trees, feebly lit by the distant moon.

It’s a stark, comfortless description of the dead Christ, but Mary embodies a sense of determination and hope. Above all, though, it’s a very dramatic painting.