When memory shifts…

In 2006, I saw two memorable paintings at the National Gallery (east wing) that I have wanted to revisit since that time. Of course, neither one is up now – as works shifts so people can visit many times and always see a different part of the collection. But, once there, I asked about both: The Tragedy (1903), Picasso and Falling Man (1950), Max Beckmann.  Each of these paintings can fill volumes and I am not going to attempt this. BUT, note first that The Tragedy was painted by a very young Picasso and the Falling Man was painting in the last year of Beckmann’s life.  Each of these paintings, when I saw them seven years ago, spoke to me – clearly – of current events. Beckmann painted two towering buildings (rectangles with square windows) and an upside-down man falling, in terror. For me, this could not have been a more raw story of 911. (There is no image on-line to correct any memory lapses.) Picasso’s painting was – I THOUGHT – a family of three: mother, father, child/ at the seashore with only the horizon line dividing the sea from the sky. The father was looking out to sea, the mother looking at her husband, and the child clinging to her mother’s skirts.  BUT, when I saw the painting on-line, it seems that I remembered the emotions playing out wrong. You can find the image on-line at www.nga.gov to learn that the man had his arms crossed in front of him/ looking down. The small boy was at the man’s side. and the woman, altho facing both man and boy, is herself looking down. I had remembered it as being current with the tsunami in Indonesia. Now, it speaks more clearly about the isolation of man/woman/family. Still pretty depressing.

Categorized: Acrylics