Thursday, July 2, 2015

lucerne, switzerland - the lion monument.

it was almost an afterthought that we stopped by the lion monument in lucerne, but--& i think you know where i'm going with this--i am so glad that we did. it's this giant, highly evocative, & completely overwhelming (in the best way) sculpture commemorating swiss lives lost in the french revolution. isn't the lion's face heartbreaking? & his pose? & that broken spear jutting out from his side?

that pond in front of the statue was a beautiful touch, but i'm having trouble trying to explain why. it provided the perfect amount of distance between us & the work, completely opening up the space. just like any other painting or sculpture would have some kind of barrier between it & the museumgoer, the water barrier added an extra element of reverence. moat-like. it was forcing us to focus, to stand still & focus because it was far enough away that you had to stop & stand still to truly appreciate it. it was also like the water absorbed all the noise. everything became quieter, despite the stream of chatter of the viewers & rustle of leaves. speaking of leaves, the water was the perfect final touch for this piece of art that was created from, & still exists in, nature. the lion is carved out of stone, still embedded in the original rock, surrounded by lush, deep green foliage, subject to the elements, topped by the sky & looming over a body of water. beautiful.

i was reading more about the monument on--where else--wikipedia, & the entry includes this gorgeous excerpt from mark twain's work a tramp abroad. unsurprisingly, he describes the lion monument a LOT better than i ever could hope to:

The Lion lies in his lair in the perpendicular face of a low cliff — for he is carved from the living rock of the cliff. His size is colossal, his attitude is noble. His head is bowed, the broken spear is sticking in his shoulder, his protecting paw rests upon the lilies of France. Vines hang down the cliff and wave in the wind, and a clear stream trickles from above and empties into a pond at the base, and in the smooth surface of the pond the lion is mirrored, among the water-lilies.

Around about are green trees and grass. The place is a sheltered, reposeful woodland nook, remote from noise and stir and confusion — and all this is fitting, for lions do die in such places, and not on granite pedestals in public squares fenced with fancy iron railings. The Lion of Lucerne would be impressive anywhere, but nowhere so impressive as where he is.

it's interesting--although the subject is an animal, its facial expression & pose are as raw & tender as any sculpture of a human you'd ever see. gorgeous:

it's definitely worth visiting, should ye ever find yeself in lucerne.

addendum to this post: you guys. norah's like CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP with the goofy faces in these next few. 

i've been nothing but in love with the little duck tail she's got going on there in the back, hairstyle-wise. it all meets up together in this perfect point, & it's much darker than the rest of her hair, which has lightened up significantly since she's been born (look how dark it was! these days it's borderline auburn-y [but soft-like; not quite a mallory pike hue]). i can't bring myself to cut it.

she's teaching a seminar on side-eye this fall at fordham, there are a few seats still available:

norah won't ever rest her head on our shoulders. she never has--not since she's been able to hold her head up on her own (& actually, long before that, even--if we weren't careful, she'd swing her head back & almost topple out of our arms before we finally wised up). she's way too curious to relax & lean against us, especially when she's looking over our shoulders as we hold her--that's her prime viewing perch. so her pose in this next one is very typical norah eliot:

one more lucerne post coming soon for us allll to look forward to.

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