Saturday, October 04, 2008

I started putting this post together last night as Saturday's post but I was so tired from our two day football trip that I gave up and I'm finishing it today. So, just something fast and I'll try to do another post tonight.

This is a sampling of eerie or haunting images from the photographs I took of paintings at the Musee D'Orsay on a couple of different occasions, some taken with my new camera, some with my old less sophisticated camera under difficult lighting situations. I've said this before but it bears (bares?) repeating, trying to experience a painting by sharing a photo of of it dilutes the experience to such a degree that it's like trying to eat a fine meal after having novocaine, or perhaps trying to enjoy a massage with your clothes still on, or appreciate a book by only reading the Cliff Notes. And it's even worse when the photos are lousy and the photographer doesn't bother (cough, cough) to make note of the name of the painting or the artist. But still, it's a peek.

But, moving on...

This was a rather large painting that hung in one of the galleries for Symbolists work. At first it appears horrifying, obviously the woman is being visited by the angel of death. I don't know if she herself is dying, or if she's being warned of a death of someone she knows. But if you look closely (these photos are all in a larger format so you can click to view greater detail), there is a lot of compassion on the angel's face. Perhaps it is the end of a lot of suffering and pain.

There's a trilogy, the first book is called The Pillars of the World, written by Anne Bishop. One of the main characters is an old woman, the morag, who helps the dead make safe passage to the other side. She's a very compassionate and wonderful character who does an important and thankless job.

And of course there's Death, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Several of the books in the series deal with the question of what would happen if Death didn't do his job, or messed it up in some way. He, too, is a very sympathetic character. I remember one scene where he defends himself by pointing out that he himself does not do the killing, he only arrives on the scene afterward to help those that find themselves in a corporeally challenged situation.

This was in the same gallery and I have no idea what the intent of the painter was, but it seems to me as if this is a priest of some sort offering a ritual or blessing or message . The branch in his hand, standing on the edge of the water beneath a starry sky, it's not a scary image, but it does make one wonder what's gonna happen next.

I believe this painting was called something like "the sorceress". This painting, and the two that follow, were all in a very dark room under unusual lighting. I'm not sure if it was done for mood or if was in some way important to preserve the paintings. Too, the paintings were all under glass, an almost impossible situation for a photo taking.

I don't know if there's anything inherently spooky about this photo except for being in the same dark moody room. But it's odd - the dark colors, the silhouette view, the hand gesture. What is she saying? Maybe she's doing puppet shadow theatre. "And this is a bunny rabbit." Or singing Little Bunny Foo Foo to her children. Maybe she's signing a "V" for Victory or "Peace, man. Groovy." Maybe it's a blessing or a curse. Or perhaps she's sharing a recipe with a friend - "You just want a pinch of cinnamon. Not too much."

I can't remember if this was a pastel or a water color but I just adored how the artist captured the misty light of everything illuminated under a city street light. It didn't strike me as spooky so much as magical. I wanted to jump into this painting like a Mary Poppins sidewalk chalk painting.

Here's an artist I can identify, Van Gogh of course. I included it because there's a definite haunted house look to the building. The woman is in sunlight and yet the sky looms dark and the shadows of the church reach out towards her.

This sampling isn't even the best examples of spooky art, it's just the photos I happened to have handy. I love art of all kinds - happy and joyful, peaceful and serene, pastoral, religious, even just pretty - but I admit to having a fascination with the haunting and macabre. I could do more, share links, but this is supposed to be a short post so I can get on with other things today, so this will have to do, except to share that I recently bought a piece of spooky real art for my very own. It just arrived by mail and I'm thrilled with it. I'll be sharing a photo as soon as I can find the right frame and get it matted and framed.

What is some of your favorite spooky art?

1 comment:

Connie Carpenter Macko said...

wow. there is so much more out there than one can ever hope to see! (and I'm betting on rabbit foo foo myself!)