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 ?
What 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…Two 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.
Mules 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).In 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.
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.I wonder what these sculptures inspire you ?
September 7, 2014
Jaun, a small village in the Gruyère area of the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. Its cemetery, known for the beautiful woodcarvings built on each grave, depicting the life of the deceased, adds to the charm of this mountain village. I believe, these sculptures may be unique in Europe. They were created on the initiative of Walter Cottier, a self taught resident who passed in 1995. Other village artists have continued creating this most unusual artwork. I was there last week with friends and took some pictures to share with you
Jaun’s church is surrounded by many wooden tombs, each as different as the villagers were.
Another person who was remembered in the cemetery was a hunter. Between other words on his tomb I read : “Arbeit war Dein ganze Leben/Work was your whole life”.
How could one forget the grocer ? The lady who sold all that was needed, as well as daily bread ?
Another sculpture was dedicated to a lorry driver, an important person in this mountain village. He would have transported wood beams, all kinds of goods, stones, and any heavy materials people needed.
Family members, friends who are still missed, who added their share to the life and history of the village and who now rest in peace in this lovely alpine setting. They are certainly honored in a beautiful way.
Inside the church, the late afternoon sun was shining softly on a stained glass window.
One can learn so much about the life of a village – or any place – while visiting such a cemetery. Like a book whose pages you would slowly turn with wonder and respect. My gratitude goes to the village artists who keep memory alive.
June 26, 2014
“For a June Photo Hunt, please show me whimsy!”, writes Karma at http://karmardav.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/in-want-of-whimsy/.
The deadline to submit your whimsy photos is Monday, June 30th if you wish to participate. I feel like sharing some pictures that may fit this definition of “whimsical” :
playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way. “a whimsical sense of humour” synonyms: fanciful, playful, mischievous, waggish, quaint, fantastic, unusual, curious, droll; eccentric, quirky, offbeat, idiosyncratic, unconventional, outlandish, peculiar, queer, bizarre, weird, odd, freakish;
Here they are, I hope you enjoy them.
Two sculptures by Dutch artist Hanneke Beaumont in the courtyard of an old castle in Gruyères, Switzerland. Not whimsical enough, are you saying ? Just wait for the next picture… The same characters are visited by tourists. Do you think they enjoyed this sudden familiarity with a photographer and his mischievous son ? 😉 I did enjoy it. How about this whimsical presentation of two pairs of red shoes ? No shop window here but the yard of a large farm. I like the surrealist look of this work created by the artist, Flaviano Salzani. “To affirm oneself” (or to assert oneself ?) is the title of this curious sculpture by Mathilda Raboud. A playful angel riding on a not so funny crocodile. Look at his eyes and teeth ! One of them certainly needs to affirm oneself 😉 Thanks, dear Karen, for your June photo hunt which is really fun. I look forward to seeing the other bloggers’ whimsy pictures.