Monday, May 30, 2011

Everything old is new again

I have been sorely lacking inspiration for quite some time now. I've felt dumb, dull and petty. I've tried to read good books to get the brain in gear but just haven't felt up to it. Anything more than just amusing, diverting or (on spiritual matters) simply written and affirming my own beliefs sent me to places I didn't want to go. Despite a small but nice collection of art books, I haven't even indulged that love. As for music, I keep going back to the same old favorites. As wonderful as they are, they and everything else in my life have been too damn familiar. There's been nothing new, nothing intriguing, nothing that caught my mind and made it want to go wandering.

The itch to write tonight was strong, but the question as usual, was 'what do I have worth saying'. Then I thought about how I used to post paintings on my blog and how much I used to enjoy that. It was just fun, and it usually opened my eyes to seeing things in different ways. So tonight, I went to my old, reliable site for art, CGFA. I scrolled through classical paintings of scenes from mythology and the Bible, thinking that I was wasting my time. Then I found this little gem. It's called The Librarian, and when I saw it, my heart just felt lighter. I loved its whimsy and gentle mockery, and I thought it had to be early twentieth century, some surrealist contemporary of Magritte.

Was I ever surprised. The painting was done in 1566 by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. (That is just a wonderful name. You can almost taste it when you say it out loud. I want to describe it like one would a wine, round, full bodied but with notes of brightness.) This little gem was done nearly 460 years ago. It's so easy to think of people from that long ago in two dimensional terms. Even lover of history that I am, their lives seem as foreign to me as an undiscovered life form from a yet unknown planet. My mind shapes them in two dimensions -- flat pictures of people in odd clothing easily dismissed in this cynical, sarcastic, fast paced, information overloaded time.

They were more than that though. This delightfully twisted sensibility I'd felt had to be a hallmark of the recent past is actually ageless. As is humanity. As are all the feelings of despair, hopelessness and powerless I've felt for so long. As is the possibility of seeing something familiar in a new way and feeling a little bit more alive.


Blogger Robin said...

Love it!

Wonder if Giuseppe was a fellow who often felt out of place ?

May 31, 2011 6:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

It's so easy for us to forget that people of the past--100, 500, even thousands of years ago-- were essentially the same as we are now. If they weren't as off the wall creative as we often find ourselves, we never would have got to where we are.

May 31, 2011 10:42 AM  
Blogger Virginia said...

I am so glad you are writing again. I love to visit you through your blog.

June 01, 2011 7:05 PM  

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