I'm not exactly sure what attracts me to this specific piece. Admittedly, I heart rats in a major way--having adopted several who were in need of homes--but there's something about them standing and holding hands--paws?--as if they're secretly plotting something sinister that appeals to me.
Or, they could simply be dancing. Possibly practicing for the May pole festivities. One would presume they are in the midst of a rousing game of "Ring Around the Roses," which according to widespread belief about the Plague, describing the symptoms and ending with all falling down--or dying. However, the idea the rhyme is associated with the Plague only came into being in the early 1900s so it is highly suspect.
Rats are wrongly branded scapegoats when it comes to the spreading of the plague, when in fact the plague was caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which is usually spread through the bite of an infected flea. The Great Plague of London killed nearly one-quarter of the city's population, an estimated 100,000 people.
The Scream 1895 pastel is in a private collection.
The Scream 1910 tempera in the Munch Museum in Oslo.
A few facts about this masterpiece:
--The German title given by Munch is Der Schrei der Natur or The Scream of Nature.
--In Norwegian it is Skrik, which, while it indeed translates to "scream," it's comparable in English to how we would use "shriek."
--Two of the versions of The Scream have been stolen and recovered.
--Munch himself has given at least two different descriptions of what inspired him to create The Scream. so take that as you will.
The 1910 lithograph of The Scream; several prints survive.
The next painting by Goya is the actual Witches' Sabbath of 1798. While many view this work as another dark painting, I see it in a more whimsical light. The garlanded goat gives me a chuckle.
Certainly, I don't wish to demean any dark intent. I see the skeletal remains depicted and the departed souls spiraling above the scene. The goat gets me. He has a saucy grin!
Although I am not clear on the actual meaning, it could be either the initiation of the baby or else, according to the legend at the time of devils eating babies, perhaps the child being proffered is intended to be a snack for the high priest goat. Who says it has to have a meaning?
A coven of what is referred to as disfigured witches at his feet, apparently the goat is the personification of their deity. But they could also just be some Goth people out for a proper picnic is a place they find quite lovely.
Who are we to judge, anyway?
Contrary to the opinion of some, this work is not one of the fourteen Black Paintings; perhaps the confusion comes from its confusion with the above work by Goya.
Whether or not it is a depiction of evil, it is still well done and I find it a splendid work of art! I'm sure that gives Goya a postmortem surge of pride.
Reptiles 1943: I think I could only enjoy this piece of art more if it were frogs instead of reptiles!
Scarabs 1935: Scarab beetles have always been a point of fascination for me and i love this.
Up and Down, 1947, is one of those it-can't-possibly-exist-but-there-it-is works I can keep looking at for an hour and I still cannot figure out how he did it.
Waterfall, 1961, another of Escher's impossible buildings, essentially a perpetual motion machine. A visual paradox is created by conflicting proportions. Notice how it could not be real because the water that supplies the waterfall seeming runs downhill and yet it feeds the falls.
I nearly forgot to include one of my all-time favorite pieces: Hobgoblin Hall, a drawing done in 1904 by Herbert Railton of William Wordsworth's house, Rydal Mount.
Fascinating and creepy, the intricacies in this drawing lives up to its name. Of particular interest to my eye is the crescent moon in the sky above.
My opinion is this work can be seen in two ways. The first is, it is a lovely old manor house lit by a young moon. The second is, it is the decaying ruins of a formerly fine old manor house illumed by the final phase of a dying moon.
Either way you see it, it's a romantic drawing, evoking feelings serenity--at least in me.
One can imagine hobgoblins right at home here, lurking about in the gardens, or what remains of them, playing in old fountains, and spiriting away into the shadows when someone encroaches upon their territory.
It's another work I will hopefully get around to framing and hanging in my house.
So many pieces of art and so little wall space!
On second thought, take a look at these two glorious works of art and see what you think!
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Into the Mirror Black
Angels of the Seventh Dawn
Angels of the Mourning Light
A Christmas Canticle
Keep your donations local and you will be able to see first-hand exactly how they are used.
If you can't donate money or supplies, how about giving of some of your time? An hour or two a week to play with kittens and cats or to walk a dog keeps the animals socialized, friendly, so they don't cower away from potential adoptive parents.
Maybe you could volunteer a couple hours here and there to be part of a transport to help an animal reach his or her forever home. If not, how about offering a transporter and an animal a place to stay for the night before they set out on the journey once more?
There are so many and different ways to help.
We can make a difference.
We can do some good.
We can save lives.