domingo, 4 de enero de 2015

Room for a genius

" A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?"

Albert Einstein

Francis Bacon, Henri Matisse, Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway

The English painter Francis Bacon may not have been the greatest artist in history, but he was certainly the messiest. His London studio is a bombed-out catastrophe of paint brushes jutting out of jars and cans, mouldering champagne boxes, books balanced precariously in irregular towers and photos lying on every surface. After his death in 1992, his entire studio -the walls, floorboards, boxes, drops of paint, dust, everything -was transplanted to an art gallery in Ireland. The studio itself had become a modernist masterpiece, a perfect example of the relationship between genius and chaos. Bacon once wrote that he couldn't paint in tidy rooms. Few would argue with that. It took a team of ten archaeologist and conservators three years to move and reassemble the mess. 

What types of work area do other creative genius need? Should the room be a spare, minimalist shell to allow space for the mind to wander? Or should it be cluttered with the objects of everyday life to spark off ideas and inspiration? Is big better than small? What of the light? Should the room be bursting with sunbeams or so dark and cramped that it forces the imagination to fly?

The French painter Henri Matisse worked in a famously opulent studio. The high ceilings led the eye down to his painting, which were perfectly arranged in the walls, and the room contained elaborated tapestries, vases, sculptures, potted plants, doves in a cage. 

His near-contemporany Pablo Picasso had an altogether different style. His studio was packed full of his own creations -little post and clay figures, scribbles and doodles, and all kinds of junk that would later assemble into masterpieces - lumps of iron, fragments of glass, animal bones. 

Another genius of Matisse's era, Albert Einstein, kept his office full of books and paper. His desk was spectacularly cluttered with no space for a typewriter or telephone. Behind his chair was a simple blackboard with mathematical equations scrawled in white chalk. 

Einstein once said, "A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?" The answer, judging by his office, is a pile of paper.

Ernest Hemngway's workspace in his Florida home was relatively humble: a few bookshelves, large windows to let in the light, and a tall desk made of dark wood. One thing looks wrong: the chair is too small for the table. The reason for this is that he didn't actually use the chair for working. For much of his life, Hemingway wrote standing up ( he ignored his own first "rule" for aspiring writers: "apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair"). Writing masterpieces while standing up might sound strange, but maybe not as odd as the working habits of Mark Twain, Marcel Proust and Woody Allen. All of them wrote in bed.


Adjectives to describe landscapes 

  • shabby, dilapidated, in a bad state, run-down
  • calm, quiet, peaceful, tranquil
  • stunning, breathtaking, magnificent
  • old, historic, ancient
  • unchanged, not altered by tourism, unspoilt
  • busy, full of people and noise, bustling
  • beautiful, lovely, pretty, attractive, pleasant, picturesque
  • empty, uninhabited, deserted
  • roomy, spacious
  • shady, cloudy
  • gloomy, dark, depressing
  • whirr, murmur
  • gaudy, ordinario
  • dreary, bouring
  • poky, very small 
  • chilly: helado
  • shady: sombreado
  • shadowy: perezoso

Adjectives to describe spaces

  • roomy: spacious
  • shady: sombreado
  • shabby: lamentable
  • gloomy: dark, depressing
  • whirr: noise of something moving on the ground
  • gaudy: chillón
  • dreary: boring
  • poky: very small
  • airy: aireado
  • airless
  • dreary: adorable
  • peaceful
  • spacious
  • comfortable
  • wondered
  • uninhabited
  • bustling: bullicioso
  • magnificent
  • stunning: maravilloso
  • breathtaking: sorprendente
  • damp: humidity
  • quiet chaotic
  • wonderful
  • lovely
  • vast: extremely large
  • overpopulated, 
  • secluded village: very private and quiet
  • awe-inspiring: extremely impressive in a way that makes you feel great respect
  • scenic: surrounded by views of beautiful countryside
  • sprawling: spreading over a great area in a untidy or unattractive way
  • quaint: unusual and attractive, specially in an old-fashioned way
  • ramshackle: in a bad condition and in need of repair
  • jokey: en broma


1A Read the article and match statements 1-14 with people a)-f)

1. His workplace was large
2. His desk was technology-free
3. He ignored his own advice
4. he worked in bed
5. He had livng creatures in his workspace
6. He worked with chaos around him
7. He made art out of things in his studio
8. His workpace was not especially exciting
9. His studio is on display
10 He displayed his work in his studio
11. There is something strange about the furniture in his room
12. He had expensive things in his workspace
13. He had a teaching tool in his workspace
14. His workpace was not dark

a) Francis Bacon
b) Henri Matisse
c) Pablo Picasso
d) Albert Einstein
e) Ernest Hemingway
f) Woody Allen

B. Circle the correct option

1. jutting (paragraph 1)
   a) Making bright colours          b) Sticking out
2. precariously (paragraph 1)
   a) beautifully          b) likely to fall
3. spare (paragraph 2)
   a) full of objects          b) basic, with nothing unnecessary
4. spark off (paragraph 2)
   a) cause          b) basic, with nothing unnecessary
5. opulent (paragraph 3)
   a) with expensive decoration       b) with a good smell
6. doodles (paragraph 3)
   a) large, completed paintings       b) unplanned drawings
7. scrawled (paragraph 4)
   a) written           b) written carelessly
8. humble (paragraph 5)
   a) modest          b) large

Vocabulary adjectives

2. Underline the correct alternative

1. It was a dark, poky/ jokey/ gaudy room with a broken door and no windows
2. This room is too gaudy/ chilly/ fiery for my taste. The colours are too bright
3. The house is really shady/ roomy / spacy. There0s lot of space
4. The town is very roomy/ weary/ dreary. All the buildings are grey and there's nothing to do
5. this flat is nice and poky/ chilly/ airy in here. Can you close the window, please?
6. Come and sit under this airy/ shadowy/ shady tree and talk to me. 
7. It's quite gaudy/ chilly airy in here. Can you close the window, please?
8. the weather's looking a bit roomy/ shady/ gloomy. I think it's going to rain.

                                                         "Speakout. Advanced" by Antonia Clare and JJ.Wilson


1b), 2d), 3e), 4f), 5b), 6a), 7c), 8e), 9a), 10b), 11e), 12b), 13d), 14e)

1b), 2b), 3B), 4a), 5a), 6b), 7b), 8a)

1 poky, 2 gaudy, 3 roomy, 4 dreary, 5 airy, 6 shady, 7 chilly, 8 gloomy

1a), 2b), 3c), 4b), 5c), 6c), 7a), 8a), 9c), 10a), 11b), 12b)

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