Almost since the beginning of my blogging career, I have been thinking I should explain the image on my “About” page:
It is called “The Inspiration of the Poet” and was painted by a Frenchman named Nicolas Poussin in the 1600s. It hangs in the Louvre where I first saw it and fell inappropriately and blindly in love. The “blind” part has to do with the fact that I interpret the picture in my own idiosyncratic way and no one can tell me I am wrong – like quite a few college professors tried to do when they didn’t agree with my interpretation of a poem or a novel. “Hey – communication is a two way street. It needs an encoder and a decoder and so if that is the way I read it, then that is what it says,” I didn’t reply to a single one of them. In the case of this painting, I decode several subliminal messages. No matter what Wikipedia says, this is NOT Apollo about to have one of his Cupid babies crown a 17th century poet with laurels, because:
- Apollo looks tired and bored.
- The poet has a stupid look on his face and a blank page in front of him. He is looking up into the sky at the place where OneTrueGod might be instead of the thing in front of his face.
- Flying Cupid is trying to figure out what the poet is looking at and hesitating with the laurels.
- Muse girlfriend looks irritated. She’s been waiting for quite a while. Notice the crossed legs.
Years ago, my husband heard me talking about this painting with my sister. At the time, her hobby was printing paintings like this on cloth and then embroidering over them. The results were little masterpieces and I was hoping to convince her to do this one for me. I should have been suspicious when my husband showed so much interest – even asking me how the name “Poussin” was spelled . . .
The following Christmas Eve he presented me my own copy. He had found a company that does copies of any classic painting on canvas. Apparently, they actually go to the museum where the original is hanging and digitally photograph it first – so I’m guessing it wasn’t cheap. But it was the thoughtfulness of the present that really bowled me over.
So now it is hanging in my living room and my love for it has remained deep and true. What I have come to like best is the look on people’s faces the first time they see it. These expressions range anywhere from “What in the heck is that?!” to “What in the heck is that?!”
There is a reason why I say my blog might be interesting for heathens.