"I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course."
- Mark Twain
"One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state. They were the earlier works of Mark Twain and to them might have been due the miraculous recovery which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears."
― Nikola Tesla
"When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved."
- The Prince and the Pauper, 1881
We are chameleons, and our partialities and prejudices change places with an easy and blessed facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it. We do not regret our old, yellow fangs and tushes after we have worn nice fresh uniform store teeth a while.
- Speech, 9/19/1906
The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
- Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
- Notebook, 1898
...when they used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile word upon -- they little knew how trivial and valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it!
- letter to Joseph Twichell, 19 Dec 1870
"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."
- Letter to Emeline Beach, 10 Feb 1868
All pictures found in the internet.
Ivan Bilibin was born in 1876 in Tarkhovka, a suburb of St. Petersburg. As the son of a military doctor, he attended the Faculty of Law at St. Petersburg University. After graduating in May 1900, he went to Munich, where he was trained by the Slovene painter Anton Ažbe (who also taught Wassily Kandinsky, Dmitry Kardovsky and Alexej von Jawlensky, just to name a few). Bilibin continued his art studies under the guidance of Ilja Repin, who is considered the most important Russian realist, at the Academy of Art in St. Petersburg. After the formation of the Russian Mir Iskusstwa (meaning ‘World of Art) artists' association in 1899, he got a commission for designing their magazine, and soon became an active member. He contributed several essays on Russian folk art.
Bilibin gained renown in 1899, when he released his illustrations of the Russian fairy tales The Tale of Ivan the Tsar's Son, The Firebird and the Grey Wolf, Vassilisa the Beautiful and The Frog Princess. Several more illustrations followed in the years after, both of folk and fairy tales from Russia as of a couple of Pushkin’s stories. He also painted stage sets, for example for Ruslan and Ludmila or Nikolai Rimsky-Korkasovs The Golden Cockerel.
After the October Revolution in 1917, Bilibin left Russia for a while. He moved to Egypt and painted landscapes, stayed in Cairo and Alexandria and subsequently settled in Paris, France. In the 1920s and 30s, he designed orthodox churches, private residencies and the Soviet embassy in the French capital. He also illustrated books that were published in French, though many of them were either of oriental (e.g. Le Tapis Volant) or Russian origin (e.g. Contes de L’Isba).
In 1936, he returned to his home country, where he worked on illustrations for Tolstoy and mythology and history books. He died during the German Siege of Leningrad in 1942, starving within the city when he refused to leave.