This is a photo of me at the Rodin Museum in Paris in December of 1997, and, more importantly, a photo where I extracted the background and left the beautiful Fallen caryatid without a distracting background (or me:).
I first fell in love with this statue when I read “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein in the 60’s. The following quote is from that book:
“This poor little caryatid has fallen under the load. She’s a good girl—look at her face. Serious, unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone, not even the gods . . . and still trying to shoulder her load, after she’s crumpled under it. But she’s more than good art denouncing bad art; she’s a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women—this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under their loads. It’s courage, Ben, and victory.” “ ‘Victory’?” “Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn’t give up, Ben; she’s still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her. She’s a father working while cancer eats away his insides, to bring home one more pay check. She’s a twelve-year-old trying to mother her brothers and sisters because mama had to go to Heaven. She’s a switchboard operator sticking to her post while smoke chokes her and fire cuts off her escape. She’s all the unsung heroes who couldn’t make it but never quit. Come. Salute as you pass…”
Rodin on Faded Beauty and a Faded Daisy
I’ve just finished my first month of recovery after having had open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. Not easy. I’m like a faded flower hoping to bloom again, soon. They say it takes 2 to 3 months to fully recover, but I’m impatient and want it sooner! 🙂
Faded flowers fascinate me! Is the beauty of the flower that once was gone? I don’t thinks so! This is a new stage of beauty, a wiser stage, even more true of faded human beauty.
One of my favorite books is Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” He made me revise my thoughts of beauty 45 years ago when he describes the following statue:
She who used to be the beautiful heaulmière
“You know I wouldn’t be rude to the old woman who posed for that. What I can’t understand is a so-called artist having the gall to pose somebody’s great grandmother in her skin . . . and you having the bad taste to want it around . . . ”
“Anyone can see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be. A great artist can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is . . . and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be . . . more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo see that this lovely young girl is still alive, prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart . . . no matter what the merciless hours have done. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me—but it does to them. Look at her!” Quote from Stranger in a Strange Land
Below are photos of a faded daisy that I took on my first semi-long walk after my aortic valve replacement. I was feeling as faded as this Daisy! They are all versions of the same photograph.
I attended Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Mindfulness Workshop in France from October 9-16, 2015. It was an amazing, life altering experience, and and I will have several posts about that healing, mindful, experience.
Walking among the sunlit, cool Fall mornings, with their rustling yellow Fall leaves, I had the pleasure of reflecting on, and reflecting into photographs, the peace-full beauty of 3 outdoor Buddha statues at Lower Plum village and upper Plum Village.
Just as an aside, words are powerful! Usual words for photography include words like “taking a picture” “capturing an image” “shooting a picture.” My photos below are “reflections into photographs.” They were not “captured”, “shot”, or “taken.”
Every morning for nine days I got up about 4-6 AM to walk early, watch the sunrise, and avoid 100-106° heat and humidity that would come later in the day in Irving Texas. But even this early, the temperature was in the 80s and it was Muggy. The walk around the artificial lake is 1.3 miles and I would walk it three times, often as the stars twinkled out and the sun rose. I loved how the sweet scent of flowers greeting the morning sky. I liked all the artificial beauty, the lines, perfectly spaced trees, perfectly spaced light posts all in a row. I loved the statue of the dancers, people walking their dogs, people absorbed in their headphones, the sound of birds. I loved how good it felt to walk!
Click on any of the photos to see the caption and the slideshow.
Claudel: Young Girl with a Sheaf
Claudel was a very talented sculptor with a tragic relationship and life after Rodin. I was pleased to find this statue in the Phillips Collection.
Dan Travels: Saint Peters Basilica MIchelangelo’s Pieta 2010
The Pieta. Such an amazing and moving statue by Michelangelo. Such beauty, sadness, love, sacrifice. This is not a good photo. The statue was protected because it had been attacked before, and the lighting was poor. But I wanted to share this most beautiful and moving of statues.
Dan Travel: Statues of the Vatican and St. Peters 2010
Click on any of the pictures above to see the full sized and captioned photos. May take awhile. These are large files. Enjoy.
Rodin’s Lovers Bathed in Afternoon Light
I’ve always loved Rodin, ever since I first read about his “Fallen Caryatid” in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (a great book!).
This is a photo I took at the Rodin Museum in Paris,a great museum in a former hotel with a park behind and a wonderful place to visit. I have several others I will post later hopefully!
Moment and Light. The sun was pouring in from a window providing magical lighting for this statue of lovers. I’ve provided 3 versions of the same photo. How such beauty can be carved from stone, and how lighting can add to such exquisite beauty is beyond my understanding. I simply wallow in the beauty of it all and am so grateful to have memorialized this moment.