Stone Hands in the Musée D’Orsay | Stone Hands

clasped-hands

I was visiting one of the truly great museums in the world, the Musée D’Orsay with a  fourteen year old who wasn’t all that interested in being there. It was the end of a very long morning that started with a lightening fast tour of the Louvre with thousands of other tourists and a visit to the Orangerie so this was our third museum. Travelling with a teen is like a high-wire balancing act… how far do you push it without going overboard. I decided that we both needed a break so off to a bench with his phone he went and off I went in the other direction with my camera.

I wandered by myself for about an hour and all I could seem to focus on were the stone hands. I’m not the first (nor will I be the last) to wonder how it is possible to create these soft, fluid, lifelike hands out of a block of stone. I find the faces of these magnificent works to be interesting but not as intriguing as the hands. It’s like the faces are composed and studied but the hands are an afterthought that just exist naturally without the intervention of the artist.

My teen and I regrouped with a fresh purpose and headed off to a lovely bistro lunch, the Rodin Museum and Les Invalides but these hands stayed with me. Hope you enjoy them.

The photo of the clasped hands pictured above is a detail of Joan of Arc by Henri Chapu.

stone hand with sphere

stone folded hands

Stone mother and child hands

stone open hand

Stone twined hands

“The best artist has that thought alone which is contained within the marble shell; the sculptor’s hand can only break the spell to free the figures slumbering in the stone.” Michelangelo

The works here are not by Michelangelo but are by Carpu, Barrias, Carpeaux and Hugues.

Goonies on Guard | Neighbourhood watch

What are Neighbourhood Watch signs supposed to do? The ubiquitous big-brother eyes are meant to warn bad guys that this is a place where we watch out for one another, we take care of our own and will foil any wrong-doing by our amateur sleuthing and curtain-twitching.

There is a small town homespun cosiness to the watch program and that’s why an installation project in central west Toronto has hit such a pitch-perfect note. As many as seventy Neighbourhood Watch signs have had their red and black stylized watchful eye images carefully overlaid with an image of either a super-hero or pop culture character. The original message “this neighbourhood protected by” image “neighbourhood watch”is still intact but updated to be noticeable and relevant. The original signs are so commonplace they have become background noise and cease to function as they were originally intended so these additions refresh the message in an entertaining way.
Artist Andrew Lamb has carefully altered the signs with a colour image that he glues onto the signs in broad daylight. Is it vandalism? Well yes, in the strictest sense of the word but the mixture of childhood whimsy, nostalgia and wit on display is delightful.
Neighbourhood watch sign
The Hulk, Wonder Woman, Mr Rogers, Nancy Drew, Spider-Man or in this case (pictured above) the Goonies… who wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing they were all on-guard outside your door?