What would they say ?

November 19, 2016

Or “If sculptures could speak”.  What  would those beautiful Caryatids say ? A stately demeanor, indecipherable  expressions on their sculpted faces. Would they talk about the endless flow of visitors coming and going around them in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens ? Or comment on the heavy burden they have been carrying on their head for so long ? Exchanging about their use as decorative supports in Greece and the ancient Near East ?

dsc02173_2What could those men in their elegant toga be discussing about ?  Would they talk about philosophy ? Would one of them be teaching the others ? Or were they engaged in a more private conversation ? In any case they will remain anonymous…dsc02176Two worlds meet in this picture. Modern buildings behind a vision of other times. In those past decades when women, mothers had to travel on the back  of a mule while taking their children with them as they went working in the fields.

dsc03079Mules were equipped with two strong sacks (jute or leather) on each side of their flanks. Inside them and well protected, mothers would put a baby or a small child. Usually, the slow and regular mule’s step would bring the children to sleep.  Maybe the little girl standing behind the mule would ask : “Mom, let me sit on the mule, please, I feel tired”. The track to the alpine village or to the pasture could be long. (Sculpture by Edouard Sandoz for the association of “The Mule”s Friends”, or  Les Amis du Mulet, Sion, Switzerland).DSC03078.JPGIn an open air museum of the village of Etroubles,  Aosta Valley/Italy, close to the Swiss border, I stopped and observed this three-dimensional sculpture by Andrea Granchi, a Florentine artist. It was entitled : “Viaggiatore sedentario incontra il  Grande”. I tried to imagine what the sculptor expressed in this particular art work. Maybe the  great (grande) man on the wall would say to the traveller (viaggiatore) : “Here you come, bumping into (incontra) other travelers like you who  try – or tried – to cross this mountain pass !” It is just my interpretation of this amazing sculpture.dsc01371

Greece, Naxos Island. On the  metallic entrance door opening to a wild garden, someone had written : “This is paradise”. After a few minutes’ walk uphill, amidst bushes and trees of all sorts, we stopped in front of a dry stone wall. At the bottom of it and protected by a fence, a huge statue  of a man, more than 17 feet,   seemed lost in a long sleep. It was the “Flerio Kouros”, built  in 570 BC in Naxian marble. What would the Kouros (young man) have said at that time ? Maybe he advised the stonecutters to be very careful when they would transport him to another site for the final touches. Apparently they weren’t enough or their artwork broke before ?  The statue remains unfinished, its leg broken, the marble has turned grey/brown in time and the mystery is unsolved.dsc02430I wonder what these  sculptures inspire you ?

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12 Responses to “What would they say ?”

  1. Oh my, Isa these are “eye opening.” I like the woman riding side saddle on the donkey. To me, that is a depiction of real life and I suppose I am most fond of the here and now. But of course I know that one was done years ago but none the less it is the most recent. And it does have an animal as a large portion of the sculpture.

    All the pics are marvelous.

    • “Riding side saddle” is the expression I was looking for… and did not find. So, thank you, dear Yvonne. I also like the bronze sculpture of the woman on the mule. It is part of my grandmother and mother’s part of the family.When you live in those high mountain villages, mules were most precious for all the tasks they accomplished for the people. Wishing you a pleasant Sunday.

      • I’m glad I could help you learn “side saddle.” So sorry to have called the mule a donkey. I did not mean to write donkey but donkey was on my mind. My dad farmed with four mules. I can still see them as plain as day. They were so shiny and actually docile.

    • No problem, dear Yvonne. There are donkeys in our pastures too but nowadays they are living quiet days with the families who adopted them. Nice and peaceful creatures.

  2. So good to see you back Isa.
    Oh, I’d like to visit both Italy and Greece again soon.
    Thanks for the tour.

    • Hello Carsten and thank you for your visit. I am sure Italy and Greece would bring you much sun and blue sky. Has Winter arrived in Denmark yet ? Time for “hygge” as I read in a paper lately 🙂

      • Carsten said

        Father Winter paid us a short visit in the beginning of November. Now it seems that temperatures are falling again. But just a few degrees below freezing point, and only at night.
        We do not need winter for “hygge”. What about sitting around a fire with good friends in the light summernights. Talking about whatever comes to our mind? Thats my preferred summer-hygge.
        Sunday we had all the grandchildren – and their parents – for “hygge” with glögg and “æbleskiver”.

      • Carsten, I am all for “glögg” (vin chaud or warm wine with spices) at this Season. “Aebleskiver”, I do not know but looked at the recipe, sounds good too. In the article I read about “hygge”, they mentioned warm woolen socks 😉 so I imagined Winter would be the best time. As you say, sitting around a fire with good friends is great at any time. Wishing you happy times with family and friends.

  3. shoreacres said

    I rather like the broken statue, Isa. I’m not sure why, but it seems very appealing, and approachable. I think the wall next to it adds to the lovely effect. Who knows what we’ll find in our gardens!

    Mules have a bit of a reputation here for stubbornness, but they also are dependable and hard-working animals. My mother told me that her grandfather had a pair who helped with the farming. She wasn’t an animal lover, but she clearly had some affection for those mules.

    I had to smile at the name of the village: Etroubles. I read it as E-troubles. We certainly do have our share of E troubles these days: perhaps those people depicted by the sculptor are looking for a dependable wifi connection!

    • Thanks for visiting, Linda. Finding this broken statue in a wild and deserted garden was quite an experience. Although we knew it was well worth traveling over hills and forests to reach the site.
      Our mules are also hard headed sometimes but, as you wrote, they are dependable and robust.
      You make me laugh with your interpretation of the name Etroubles 🙂 I would never have seen it like this and I wonder what the artist’s reaction would be ? Maybe the water of the stream flowing near the village was kind of “troubled” ? I am curious now and will see if I find some explanation to this name. Thanks Linda.

  4. Sybil Nunn said

    They make me want to visit Greece … again. Thanks for bringing back lovely memories.

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