Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Message of Hope ?

The human form in decorative arts has always offered the possibility of transmitting a message to future generations. Some of the earliest sculptures known depict a pregnant mother - fertility goddess, sending a message of hope by evoking the ancient rites of procreation. I'd be curious to hear your take on messages being sent by any or all of the below figures. . .
.
This first photo was taken in eastern France near the lovely town of Ornans. If you recall from your Art History classes, a famous painting by Gustave Courbet is named "L'Enterrement à Ornans" or "Burial at Ornans". In the background of that painting are white cliffs like the ones visible here. . . seeing that painting first on a slide projected in a college art class, then finding it in the flesh on a wall in the Gare d'Orsay Museum, Paris, was what inspired me to travel to Ornans to see those white cliffs. . . And there are ancient footpaths that allow one to climb up to the cliffs, and through crevices up to the plateaus beyond . . .
.
































I'm drawing a total blank as to where I took this next picture, but it was on the same 1993 trip to eastern France. A scene from "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" ?
.
































A few earlier posts have shown other work by Jerome Mesnager, a well known graffiti artist, whose "Homme Blanc / White Man" figures have a worldwide reputation. This one was in Paris. . . .




























.
.

21 comments:

JoMo said...

First off, it's a bit freaky to be commenting on a post for Wednesday July 22...it being Tuesday where I am...but hey, time travel is my hobby.
Gorgeous photos & hello from both past and future JoMo.

Cynthia said...

Wonderful contrast between the three images, Owen, all brought together my the color and photography style. I adore the middle one ... the lightness of the toes contrasted with the weight of the material is so curiously impacting.<3

Fin said...

Really love the second one. Meg

Steve said...

The statue in the first photo is deinitely checking windspeed and direction... possibly about to take a free-kick.

Lydia said...

Can't do better than Steve on the interpretation of the first one.

I, too, am partial to the middle shot. All this excitement for it is surely to joggle your memory as to where it was! She is such a happy little flirt, I think.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Interesting series. The third one does nothing for me at all. The middle one is like a gothic dance of the macabre. It appears to celebrate the sensual side of life and is about enjoyment of the material whilst death is still surrounding us. The first one offers the most classic sign of hope and religious feeling to me. xx

Lille Diane said...

It is good to see the world through your lens, Owen. You bring us so much. I liked the 2nd pic, too. The first one does exude a peacefulness, and you captured it well.

Dedene said...

The first statue is an impatient drinker in a French bistro waiting for the surly waiter to come serve him a pastis.
The second is definitely a French tart, maybe Nana?
The third is great! I've never seen this graffiti but he's got a nice butt.
Now I want to go visit Ormans.

Bill Evertson said...

Nice series. I'm partial to the second; perhaps because my wife has been watching a show called "so you think you can dance" Despite reclining with a cigarette and glass of wine, I'm sure this is how she envisions herself :)

louciao said...

Obviously the first sculpture depicts an Evangelist trying to hail a taxi cab; the second is a Rococo rendering of the way a female member of the French bourgeoisie should fart; and the third image results from hurling a frog, coated with white paint, at a wall and then adding a suggestion of human characteristics to the imprinted image, such as hands and head. (The frogs are then rinsed off and used in haute cuisine).

Marguerite said...

Bonjour, Owen! I liked the 2nd pic. Kinda reminds me of me; always dancing. :)

Alberto Oliver said...

Well, the first pic is my favorite one. For me it resembles an Andrea Mantegna, it only need some traces of any classical ruins for become complete.

robert said...

'Liaisons Dangereuses' can only be overcome by Hope of becoming 'white' again...moving into a new house might be such a sign of hope. Thanking you for this entry of yours.
Allow me to wish you already tonight a nice weekend.

Owen said...

JoMo, you have just experienced the wonders of time travel... for more on this subject, see Umberto Eco's "The Island of the Day Before"... (if you haven't already)
:-)
============================

Hi Cynthia, thanks ! Looking forward to seeing some of you views of Old San Juan...

============================

Hey Meg... she's popular alright...

============================

Steve, you've been watching too much football ! No, somehow I doubt you watch too much football, that would be incompatible with the writing you do... :-D

============================

Hi Lydia, that is exactly why I liked her, I would love to have the chance to flirt with a woman who lived two or three centuries ago... although I imagine it wouldn't be easy... nor she...

=============================

Hey Josephine... ahh, you've come a long way today to look at these pictures, it amazes me still that I can squeeze them through a wire onto my screen here in France, and then you can see them milliseconds later in Australia... now if that isn't incredible... thanks for stopping by !

Owen said...

Hi Lille ! Looks like the lady in the middle is getting the most votes...

=============================

Ahh Dedene, what a vision you have, yes, the guy holding up his finger to get the waiter's attention was also holding up a cross to symbolize that lovely French expression : "C'est la croix et la bannière de..." in this case to get a drink...

Otherwise, a tart for sure, and if you like the third one's butt, click on "Jerome Mesnager" in the index list in sidebar, there are other examples of his work in previous posts... :-D

============================

Bill, be careful, if you show her this, she's going to be wanting a dress like this one, and the matching shoes to go with it... :-)

============================

Lynne ! Lynne ! in my comment box of all places ! oh dear ! oh my ! Hailing a taxi cab ? One can see you've just been in NYC... and oh how daintily she breaks wind (that is the correct and proper term I think :-D ) And holy flattened frogs batman, only you could have imagined throwing them at the wall, then scraping them off into a frying pan ! You get a gold star ... LOL or LSHIAPMP ...

===========================

Marguerite, keep on dancing !!! Maybe to a bit of zydeco ???

===========================

Alberto, well, I guess I could have photoshopped in some traces of old castles or distant cities... yeah, I see what you mean... in deep blues and dark greens... might look nice with the black and white.

===========================

Hi Robert... innocence lost, an inexhaustible theme... thank you, I'm ready for the weekend already... :-D

The Sagittarian said...

Am still spluttering over Louciao's comments...couldn't have put it better myself and if I hadn't been so lazy and been doing some work today I would have put it there first, in your comment box, of all places!
I am a sucker for black and white photos so I like them all!

Not Waving but Drowning said...

I'd never heard of Jerome Mesnager until you did your post about him.

I've become a fan, merci,

GG

Margaret Pangert said...

1) If Joseph Lambert is one of the really wealthy Lamberts from the French chemical firm, I would say he warrants in death a majestic marker, finger and cross pointing skyward. Vey stark against the sky.
2) a French danseuse dancing the minuet or perhaps a step in ballet? plie? Jete? And is that a 17th century monkey on her shoulder looking out over her head?
3) He looks like an insect, complete with 6 parts.

Owen said...

Oh dear me, what am I coming to ? A working fool... and I missed these latest 3 comments.....

Dear Amanda, I'll bet you would not have restrained yourself had not Lynne gotten there first... but you could always do a New Zealand variant... for example, you could show this delicate manoeuvre to the sheep in New Zealand, I've heard they have problems with wind as well ?!? Now if you could just get them into dresses and shoes like these, that would really dress up the countryside a bit ... :-)

==========================

Hi GG, if you enjoyed Jerome Mesnager as much as I do, he has a website which is worth a look, and also if you go down my sidebar to the index, and click on his name, blogger nicely will pull up a few previous posts of photos of his work... hope all is well with you !

==========================

Bonjour Margaret, a humanoid insect indeed, or like Lynne said above, a frog thrown at a wall... Couldn't say what Lambert family he was from, but he got quite a respectable send off apparently...

Ponderer said...

Ze lady is beautiful! You have such an eye Owen. Your blog is always a wonderous adventure :)

Q. said...

I've seen these Homme Blanc all over Paris recently! Glad to know what they are and who they're by. Thanks!

Q.

http://quinntessentialstyle.blogspot.com