Thursday, September 18, 2008

National Gallery

Erasmus and his labors. He was a humanist, a Cambridge professor, an advocate to reform the Catholic church. The book he holds looks to be written in Greek. Or is it Latin? I am not a classicist, so I couldn't tell you. It's not English, that's for sure. My guess is Greek, simply because Erasmus WAS a humanist. The Labours of Hercules of Erasmus of Rotterdam. It fits, I guess. Never had to kill a hydra, but I hear going against the Catholic Church and advocating a new way of learning is tough stuff.

Holbein also painted The Ambassadors. A few thousand academic papers could be written about the all of the symbolism mixed in with this painting; I'll keep it simple here, more so because I'm not an art guy (I appreciate it, see it, but, for the life of me, mostly never understand the "correct" interpretation). Katie R noticed a broken string on the lute. That could only mean one thing. Those ambassadors need another string (ba dum chhh). Ok. Seriously. It probably reflects the discord of the times. As I move to the right hand of the painting, I see a skull appear on the bottom of the work. The skull often represent man's mortality. We're gonna die. We are going to die. If you look up, though, with the natural movement of your eye, you will notice a silver crucifix in the left hand corner of the painting. Hmmm….death but. But what? Well, salvation. Christianity. God's kingdom. Perhaps this portrait reflects fideism and the plea to trust in God.

1 comment:

Nellie said...

I think "What about Bob" was written from the inspiration of this portrait. We are going to die!