Thursday, 12 March 2009

I've got my first captive!

Thanks to you, Talin, I'm now "real". Otherwise, I'd be out here talking to myself... Sitting in a cafe in London, drinking hot chocolates on a cold winter's morning, Talin -- equestrian-extraordinaire -- usefully pointed out to me the rather cartoon-like horses in the iconic Argentine painting by Angel della Valle (1852-1903)La Vuelta del Malon. La Vuelta del Malon, or Return from the Raid, is a painting that, though first displayed in the window of a hardware store in Buenos Aires, resonated in the Argentine imagination of life under Indian threat in the vast interiors, or Pampas. So much so, that the vast painting now hangs in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. There are many internal conflicts, however, expressed in the painting (including the fact that the "captive/cautiva" looks way too comfortable, a pose that scandalised turn-of the century BA citizens) which I hope to write about further. But after we finished giggling over the rather Dudley Do-Right looking horse on the far right, it left me wondering, why would someone go to so much trouble -- the painting is 186,5 cm x 292 cm! -- only to get so many perspectives wrong. Was he trying to signal those very distortions to his audience? Or is it that our vision is often distorted by things we think we see, but really, our imaginations are running away with us? Hmmm.....

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