Thinking about Lacan and his interpretation of the statue of St Theresa (below), and the Ruskin project of art for schools (below) and a passage in Hooper Greenhill (Museums and the Interpretation of Visual Culture – Objects and Interpretive processes page 108/109). She claims:
“Objects enable reflection, and speculation. Philosophical reflection is mobilised by the artefact… and specific histories are recalled. … Objects are used to construct identities, on both a personal and a national level. Objects can become invested with deeply held feelings and can symbolise powerful convictions through which life is led…”
Lacan was the product of a Jesuit education. This triggered a memory of my primary school days. At St Vincent’s I can recall two paintings. One, a ubiquitous portrait of QEII, in cloak and Order of the Garter.
The other was this painting:
The painting of the Queen hung in the Headmaster’s study – a Mr McCormack – or Skin as he was known, although I have no idea why. The painting of the crucifiction hung above the stage in the Assembly Hall. I didn’t get to see the inside of Skin’s study very much, only when the nit nurse came, but the painting is still very clear “the object represents the memory, the significance and the emotional power…”. The painting of the crucifiction we saw at least once a day. It was huge and intimidating, probably quite scary for a five year old infant.
“Objects are powerful within both everyday life and within pedagogy; they motivate learning and they become significant beyond their material physical selves. They enable human needs to externalise deeply felt convictions; the need to articulate tacit emotions; to visualise relationships; to picture abstract entities; to make the intangible tangible and therefore graspable.”
I am going to investigate what was in the portfolio recommended by Ruskin for his Arts for Schools project. And perhaps think of a few additions of my own….
Tancred and Erminia http://www.abcgallery.com/P/poussin/poussin16.html
Yellow as the rotting pear, brown tinged, the leaves sag and clump under the lonely branches.
Heaps of rotting mounds. Amber and moss, hues of hideous depth warm the slumped soil.
Whoosh and up then sink a few strays. A stupid pheasant braves the open green.
Plum and bottlebrown he hobbles, then staggers, then crashes into the swaying arms of an empty tree.
Bowing and scraping he croaks his magnificent arrival to the silence of the numb.