Sunday, January 22, 2012

Poor Jan.

Yesterday Eric and I went to the Musée Fabre here in Montpellier. It was glorious. Firstly, the building is really amazing and is full of beautiful rooms like this:


And strange little architectural details like this:


And the collection, which contains paintings from the 15th to 18th century, is huge and includes loads of beautiful Renaissance works--which I've always had a great big fondness for. The collection of early Dutch and Flemish paintings was particularly captivating... Of course we loved the images of rotting fruit and fish, the luminous landscapes, and the paintings of lively parties--but we were especially drawn in by the animal painters of the 1600s like Frans Snyder, who created beautiful, horrifying and almost dancerly images of boar hunts. I wasn't able to take a photo of the Wild Boar Hunt in the Fabre, but here's another piece of his that I found of the same theme:

Frans Snyder, Wild Boar Hunt (mid 1600s)

Snyder gave his animals very human expressions--rage, fear and pain comes across on their faces in a very recognizable way, and their eyes are distinctly human. The piece in the museum (which I sincerely which I could show you--perhaps I can get an image on another visit) presents a boar whose face is full of fear and an almost comical surprise. A brittany spaniel lies in the foreground, its intestines spilling onto the ground and its face twisted into shock. It's incredibly disturbing, but I had a hard time moving away from it. I really got the sense that Snyder was interested in giving his animal subjects souls.

But just to make sure this post isn't TOO mature--a giggly moment I recorded in my journal:


By the way, here's a little photo of poor Jan:

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