One of my favorite books has been Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, published in 1946. It is available as an audio book as well, which means I can sometimes listen to it while working. While the planning stages of my work requires a great deal of rational thought, the execution is often very intuitive. This means that I can play opera or listen to an audio book as I spend the long hours it takes to finish my works. This book tells great stories from Yogananda’s life, and just listening to it is a tangible spiritual experience.
Yogananda’s book has since been translated into twenty-eight languages. In 1999, it was designated one of the “100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century”. Autobiography of a Yogi is the most popular of Yogananda’s books. It has sold more than four million copies and counting. Autobiography of a Yogi describes Yogananda’s spiritual search for enlightenment. The Autobiography has been an inspiration for many people including Steve Jobs (1955-2011), Co-Founder, former Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc. In the book Steve Jobs: A Biography the authors writes that in preparation for a trip, Mr. Jobs downloaded onto his iPad2, the Autobiography of a Yogi, “the guide to meditation and spirituality that he had first read as a teenager, then re-read in India and had read once a year ever since.”
Yogananda also wrote music and some of it was arranged and played by Brother Premamoy, a Serbian devotee and monk of the Self Realization Fellowship Order. Below is one work, The Land Beyond My Dreams:
In The Land Beyond My Dreams
There are many photographs of Yogananda as an adult but images are rare of him in his youth. I did this portrait of him in pastel as a fine art edition. It shows him as the young man that reveals himself in the book. It can be seen in the Andrea Smith Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. The address is below:
Andrea Smith Galleries
336 Hwy 179 Sedona AZ 86336
Their website is here: Andrea Smith Gallery Home.
My page is here: Kurt Wenner
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This is a byzantine style rendering of the figure of Christ inspired by the Christ Deesis mosaic in the great Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul. I have been fortunate enough to visit the church on several occasions- it is truly one of the wonders of the world.
The Hagia Sophia Church was dedicated to Christ as the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity. incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Sophia is the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom. “Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God”. It is particularly famous for its massive dome and remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years until the Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.The original mosaic shows a rather severe looking Christ. I did the image for my book, Asphalt Renaissance to show an early style of devotional image. I softened the features while keeping the formal and stately composition. The work is done on a very rough surface, which recalls pavement art, but also the texture of a mosaic.
The work is part of a series of sacred images that are available as print editions.
It can be seen at the Andrea Smith Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. The address is below:
Andrea Smith Galleries
336 Hwy 179 Sedona AZ 86336
My page on their website is here: Kurt Wenner
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