Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Power of a Word

And so I'll try to explain...

It was a couple of years ago when I bought that painting in a local consignment shop. I was browsing through the pictures when it caught my eye. The colours in the landscape were a perfect fit with the shades I had just painted in the TV room. I think I paid about 5 or 10 euros for it, took it home and sat it on the floor by the fireplace.

Several weeks later, I finally got around to hanging it up. Clumsily I nailed a hook to the wall and then grabbed the painting. As I fumbled with the cord on the back, I realized there was something written up in the corner. A small word, written in capital letters.


Suddenly, this landscape painting that I liked became almost toxic to touch. The plumes that I took for trees, I now saw as bomb blasts. The white clouds were really smoke from the canons. The reds, blood and earth. And the faces, I see two now, watching from behind it all.

That one small little word changed everything about the picture.

I asked you what you thought about this painting because I, myself, am not sure what to do with it.

It scares me to look at it for too long. I start hearing the sounds of war and when I think about the people who have lost their lives in battles like these and unlike these, my heart aches and I feel that there will be no end to any tears I shed.

Living where we are, it's possible this was painted by someone who actually lived through the bombings of WWII. Perhaps even someone who saw first hand the combat, the death, the pain that that war caused. It's possible they used this canvas to get those images out of their head, to release the chaos going on in there. For this reason alone, perhaps I should keep it hanging up.

So tell me, I need to know, is it still beautiful, this painting?


Diane said...

I refer you to my original comments. I never thought it was beautiful.
Might be worth millions you could donate to the survivors of the holocaust or something.

Kirsten said...

I would find out, first, if it's actually THE Hitler's work. As a matter of fact, the guy who sold me this phone has Hitler for a first name -- nice guy, great service -- just a name. It doesn't mean anything until it means that guy. Then sell it and donate the cash if it doesn't belong in the house.

I still like the colors.

Dig said...

I'm fairly confident it's not done by the infamous one of that name.

And I agree, Kirsten. It's doesn't mean anything until it means that guy. Perhaps the artist of this painting needed to focus on Hitler, use him as his muse or something...

I still like the colours too.

Sue said...

Tough one...I'd probably still hang it. It is still colorful despite the ugly word (and not everyone will notice it). It could represnt the mere fact that his name doesn't change the colors of the world around. The sky is still crystal blue with white puffy clouds. They are the primary focus of the painting anyway.

hubster dave said...

funny how a word seems to change everyone's interpretation of things... the picture hasn't changed, you've all just decided to look at it without an open mind...