Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

February 06, 2014


Set in a wooden frame. Circa 1860's.
As soon as I saw this gorgeous tapestry, I wanted to know more.  Because it was on the floor, near the desk of a museum guide, it was difficult to photograph properly.

The guide knew nothing about the tapestry, but that doesn't wash with the curious.  So I'll be writing, as I go along, an imaginative interpretation based on conjecture and a little research.

I think the men are French because the shirts they are wearing were first manufactured in France. The man on the right looks over his shoulder in a carefree pose. Reclining on plush (velvet) fabrics, or furs (sable ?) and dressed in fine embroidered breeches, complete with gold buckles at the knee and fancy shirt, points to wealth that may have been procured by "other means"--given the pistols and the dagger, and the gold medallion that are in full view in the ornate belt of the man, or they maybe the spoils of war. To the right, a cast off plumed military helmet.(?) The man's mauve cap resembles a revolutionary or liberty cap.  (Although his cap is not the customary red, nor is it tipped forward like the revolutionary cap of his companion.) Expensive to make, purple cloth symbolized royalty, wealth etc, so his cap may, in fact, point to new wealth, democratic freedom, and a stronger social status for the common "man" of the republic.

In the background, to the right, a large country estate with cultivated trees. ( The old rule?) The cultivated flowers fringed with a frill of grass and the ordinary trees, in the foreground, may point to less rigidity and a more relaxed equal, ordered state. Is that a hosta on the left, or a Rex begonia? Was a Rex begonia available then?  Might these plants symbolize new trade, etc.? ( Too much symbolic conjecture might be a dangerous thing!)

On the left, a servant (?) dressed in the revolutionary colours of red, white and blue. (He seems to be gathering up the blankets). The man on the right wears revolutionary colours too, but they are secondary.  In fact, he may have the French flag draped around his waist. I won't go further because the French symbol of liberty is a woman and she's an apt fit.

Before I began sleuthing, I knew nothing of the liberty cap, and, now, I think it might be fun to try and knit one.

I love the mens' shoes/sandals. They were fashionable and obviously worn for leisure.

 As you can see, I gathered up a few facts along the way that, of course, are not definitive. The man wearing the purple cap could symbolize the new relaxed hold of the monarchy/nobility, or the new republic. (Given the time line, I believe the scene fits with the second wave of the revolution.)  If you have any thoughts, other interpretations, ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment; I'd love to read them.

Enjoy the weekend...

September 05, 2013

Spotlight on Brodsky

 There are several great Russian poets, and although his life was short, Joseph Brodsky ranks among them. For many years, Brodsky lived under the scrutiny of the Soviet regime; a force that kept a keen eye on writers with a mind of their own, and although the regime did everything in their power to silence him, he would not be silent. Under the gun of public opinion, and in a final attempt to break his spirit, the regime expelled Brodsky from the country in 1972.

 One can only begin to imagine what it would be like to live under such intensive scrutiny, to be bullied, oppressed and jailed for your thoughts and words in the bleakest of environments and endure hard labour only to be expelled, at a later date, from home and country. What would it be like to be disenfranchised-- landless, like a great albatross always on the wing? What is left behind? What can be taken? These are not easy ideas or questions to ponder, but if you have read or are considering reading Brodsky's poetry and essays you know, or will soon discover, that much is given.
This series of essays was the beginning of my love affair with Joseph Brodsky. It has traveled with me across Canada a few times.
From the picture, you can sense Joseph Brodsky's resolve and strength of character. These collected poems [I'll read a few each night before turning out the light] are the candle that will, once again, light my way through a dark winter...
The book--blown glass in whose reflection the reader is given a glimpse of the man who wrote it, and, in no small way, the book also reflects the light and beauty of Venice.

It's interesting that I could only frame the book of poetry. The other two books bent out of shape when I tried to frame them much like Joseph Brodsky who refused to be manipulated, silenced, or suppressed, and who, subject to totalitarianism, continued to risk all to ignite the spark of justice. 

 "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." Joseph Brodsky

I wish I could speak Russian; it sounds, especially in  Brodsky's poetical voice, so beautiful....

Brodsky's English speaking voice also sings from the well of his soul.  In the following interview, Brodsky reads a few of his poems in English.

Enjoy the weekend...
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