Monday Morning Musings:
“To wrestle with the angel—Art.
–Herman Melville, “Art”
“So come the storms of winter and then
The birds in spring again
I have no fear of time
For who knows how my love grows?
And who know where the time goes?”
I wonder how I’d explain a museum to someone from another world
the whys of collecting, the how, and the who
and what they thought they knew
about this technique or about this blue
(see, the artist mixed it here with red instead)
how tastes and trends change over time.
The Old Masters painted their world as they saw it
mastering techniques, adding some wit,
(perhaps even a bit of spit)
brushstrokes broad or fine, celebrating less the ordinary,
and more the sublime
wondering about fate and time
and posing a patron though it’d cost him dear
as wise and good, a god among men
with bright façade and a gilded veneer.
Curating and restoration reveal meanings
what the artist really meant or thought
(perhaps different from when the painting was bought)
Here we see a painting thought to be about frivolity
but skilled work shows it true intention–
a work about consequences and mortality
and the artist herself overlooked
when past her time
the same old story again and again–
her paintings are attributed to well-known men.
We wander through the museum’s Great Hall
Diana is illuminated for the season, and all
(at least this part)
see here, she’s positively glowing
and the Calder mobile across from her is blowing,
or perhaps I imagine it so,
as Diana breathes a winter sigh
and sends the mobile flying high.
We leave the museum,
walk down the steps, now immortalized by a fictional boxer
though I prefer to simply admire them as they are
(a part of the whole, and not the star)
walk down the Parkway, heading toward the river
the air is fine for winter, Mother Nature delivers
a perfect day to walk and talk
on so, on to the Rodin Museum
we stand before the Gates of Hell
and the Burghers of Calais, and a shade
was he afraid
of ghosts and spirits,
the sculptor wrestling with demons, wrestling with art
depicting emotion with single body parts.
We walk on, the day still warm
the storms of winter, not yet come,
pass buildings and monuments-
people, places, and events—
and books and art, the contents
of our history and culture
still standing, still valued, sometimes revered
though the purveyors of ignorance and hate, have feared
the spread of truth and beauty,
and are more willing to incarcerate
roads well-travelled through time and space
yet still I hope we can erase
the fear and hate
to wrestle with the angel art
because our time is brief
and who know where it goes?
We close our eyes,
and on it flows
carrying the monuments and the art
like Oyzymandias, nothing will remain
but while we can,
we carry it in our minds and heart
in the sound of the birds and laughter,
and museum art–
we take these moments
to watch the people and drink some wine
to glory in this, yes, unexpected sunshine.
As past, present, and future conflate
for a moment, here in this urban landscape,
this Christmas fete
from behind us the music, and skaters skate
round and round and figures eight
and I remember and contemplate
a memory of my sister and me
from a hotel window high above, we
watch skaters there from long ago–
I wonder, where did they go?
Later that night, I watch the moon, bright and full
and hear the geese honk to friends and mates
it’s time to go
I wonder, do they ponder about their fates
or simply accept what is, not what might be
do they see how time flows and goes?
And as for me, I circle round through time, through art,
through dreams and memories held closely in my heart
I’ll wait for the storms of winter
and for the birds in spring again
I’ll wonder where time goes
why it’s sometimes fast, but sometimes slows
but know only that on it flows
and like light and hope, drifts through the cracks,
and somehow, circles back.
This is a dreamy one, geese, painted colours, and the circle, round and back. Love it 🙂
Thank you very much, Jane! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂
I’ve been caught in copyediting hell most of the day, so I’m just getting to posts now.
It’s good to decompress 🙂
It’s nice to think of the the geese, and their migration as a ritual heralded by their calls – a farewell to be repeated, again and again.
Thank you, Ken. Yes, I like that way of thinking about it. I had just stepped outside to look at the moon and heard the honk, like the goose was saying “hi.” 🙂
Always a Monday treat! Thank you 😊
Thank you, dear Damien! 🙂
My favorite art museum (the Philadelphia Museum of Art). The building itself is a work of art. I haven’t been to the Rodin Museum (we’ve talked about going but somehow never get there). I love those hands. They speak volumes.
Beautiful musings, Merril. 🙂
Thank you very much, Robin. I also love those hands. The Rodin Museum is small, but in the spring/summer the garden is very pretty. It is on the Parkway, not a very far walk from PMA, and the Barnes Museum is not far either. (Also the Franklin Institute across the Parkway.)
I love the Old Masters too. Also, like you, I am entranced by Rodin’s The Cathedral perhaps because the form invites the eye to circle the image again and again. Contemplative.
We bought a Christmas tree today. It’s standing in water now propped against the garage. Soon I hope we have the energy to decorate it. Such has been my weekend.
Thank you, Marian. I hadn’t thought about the hands quite that way, but perhaps. Too me, they just seem so alive and full of motion (and emotion).
It seems like you had a busy–but happy, I think?–weekend. Good luck with your tree!
This post reminds me of Jane’s geese migrating prompt painting…was it called Northward? or maybe that’s what I called my poem. But the feeling of being suspended and yet in motion seems the same to me.
And I love that a glass of wine always makes an appearance! (K)
Oh, I will have to look back for that prompt.
I like that idea of being suspended and in motion. I suppose that could be a metaphor for life.
I really do not drink wine all the time, even though it seems like it in my posts. But this was special mulled wine! 🙂
It’s all special!
Thank for the reminder and the link. It’s fun to go back and revisit. 🙂
We never see
Though perhaps equally revealing
What is not considered worthy
Sometimes we need to look harder.
Yes. And slow down!
I love to wander the streets of phill with you and Doug, even if only virtually from time to time. When did they add a holocaust museum?
Thank you, Janet. It’s a memorial, not a museum. They are going to add more to it: https://philly.curbed.com/2017/11/29/16710366/philly-holocaust-memorial-plaza-groundbreaking
I enjoyed your musings about art and the cheery photo of you with your mug!
Thank you, Rose! 🙂
Time is so relative when I think of how it creeps along. . . then, speeds ahead.
I am glad you featured a female artist who was not given credit at times. Frida Kahlo was one who I thought was every bit as creative as her husband. The sculptor Rodin (I believe) may have actually taken credit for his female assistant’s sculptures. There’s an awesome movie. . . I’ll come back after I check on the internet what the name is of young woman. I once wrote a post about her and the film. . .
Thanks, Robin. I think you mean Camille Claudel. I never saw the movie. There is some of her work at the Rodin Museum, too. I particularly love The Waltz.
I’m so glad you knew this and I was talking to someone when your reply got posted. Looks like you knew the story!
Auguste Rodin had a few assistants (proteges), as Dale Chihuly has to have help with such huge (heavy) detailed glass pieces.
“Camille Claudel” is a beautiful French film made in1988, Gerard Depardieux plays Rodin and a young woman plays Camille. It is a brutal movie, so much intense work (labour) from such a lover, only to be not given her due. It is a gorgeous capture of love taken advantage of and one which both my friend and I wept during it. If I remember correctly there may have been subtitles.