Wednesday, August 10, 2005
at 12:11 AM
Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.
Jacob and the Angel 1940-1
The Old Testament tells how Jacob tricked his father, Isaac, into giving him the birthright belonging to Esau, his elder brother. Later, at a crisis in his life, Jacob wrestles through the night with an unknown assailant, who restrains him by dislocating his thigh. Here, the angel is supporting Jacob, who has just collapsed. At this moment Jacob realises he has been fighting God. In the morning the angel blesses him for not giving up.
This scultpure has been seen as representing an artist struggling with his materials, as well as the struggles of European Jews during the Second World War.
(From the display caption February 2004) _______________________________________________________________
I got a postcard from my friend Elizabeth yesterday who is in Paris, France. She mentioned all the museums she was going to and how wonderful they were and that I might not appreciate that as much as she did. And she knows this first hand.
When Elizabeth, Malaryn, Kitty and I went to England this very week in 1998, there was some disagreement as to how long one should spend admiring art work. We were in Buckingham Palace and Malaryn and I whisked through it while Kitty and Elizabeth took forever at every picture. And there were thousands of them. Well, at least hundreds. By the time Elizabeth and Kitty came out, Malaryn and I had gone through the place twice, flirted with the guards and had tea with the queen. It was a great tour of the palace, but the artwork wasn't as interesting to me as it was to K and E.
We also went to the Tate Museum one day while we were in London. As we entered the building, which was amazing in itself, the sculpture pictured in today's blog was the first thing we encountered in the main lobby. It is a massive hulk of alabaster that is, I don't know, 12 feet tall? And it is breathtaking. I read the title: "Jacob and the Angel". That was the only thing I knew about the sculpture and it captivated me. I knew nothing of the story it depicted, but the way in which the Angel held Jacob in his arms brought tears to my eyes for some reason. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. That image has stuck with me for these past 7 years. How can one piece of stone evoke so much emotion in someone as uncultuhed as I am? I don't know the answer to that, but it did.
So, Elizabeth, I guess I have to admit I did actually enjoy that museum visit. But you will never get me to eat Portabello mushrooms!
Have a great day!