Wednesday, January 20, 2010

O Tempora! O Mores!



A picture I cut from a magazine years ago and so lost any attribution.
I have no idea who painted this picture or when, but I believe the artist is American who flourished sometime in the last century.
The setting and the small boat make me think New England.

Similar flat-bottomed boats were common among farmers with fields and barns on both sides of a river in my grandparent's day, though they preferred paddles rather than oars for propulsion.

I assume the artist intended a subtle pastoral depiction of the Three Graces, New World style, but I am fond of this charming picture because the young women in their dainty Edwardian dresses bear a remarkable resemblance to my three daughters.

And so might they have idled away some late summer afternoon gathering wild flowers had they lived a hundred years ago.

In this time-line, however, the one in white is a VP's strong right arm and secret weapon.The brunette in blue teaches at university and has a non-fiction book coming out later this year. The little one in the boat with flowers in her hair is a major in the CF.

Such coincidental resemblances form a familiar literary trope of the gothic type -- but it's one I cannot dismiss as merely creative imagination.

Have you ever felt that instant of shock when a face you know intimately leaps out at you from some portrait painted hundreds of years ago?


28 comments:

Vesper said...

How proud you are of your daughters, Bernita! This is wonderful. :-)

fairyhedgehog said...

It's a lovely picture.

I find that pictures of two young girls together tend to remind me of my sister and me, seeing I've got sons not daughters.

What's the CF?

laughingwolf said...

grats mama, ye dun good! :)

fairy, cf = canadian forces

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, laughingwolf.

StarvingWriteNow said...

I have seen similarities, or imagined myself in some paintings, but never yet have seen a dead ringer.

That picture makes me long for lazy days and summer time.

writtenwyrdd said...

I can't say I have had that particular experience with artwork, Bernita, but I DID have it occur recently when I got new passport photos taken. I looked at my new picture (minus then 70 recently lost pounds) and what popped out of my mouth was, "My God! It's my mother!" Because we do look a lot alike, and holy moly I looked just like her.

Bernita said...

Very proud, Vesper.(And quietly a little awestruck.)

Such a gentle, civil scene, Fairy.
Canadian Forces.

Thank you, LW, but I think they deserve all the credit.

I've never seen myself either, SWN, but I have spotted relatives and acquaintances.

Written, I don't look like my mother. But - when the children were small - I often sounded like just!

Bernita said...

Erm, "just like my mother."

writtenwyrdd said...

LOL, bernita. Not enough tea?

I just remembered that the other day mom and I were watching a commercial with an overweight, bearded guy snoring on a bed...and we started laughing because it looked just like a relative of ours.

raine said...

Your daughters are strong women, like their mom. Well done.

Possibly not what you mean, but several years ago I began working on a historical romance with a writing partner, featuring Isabella d'Este as one of the characters. We unearthed a portrait of her, & people claimed there was a marked resemblance to me (eyes & mouth, at least).
Of course, I've gotten older, & the portrait remains the same, ha, but it was curious.

Charles Gramlich said...

What an interesting juxtaposition between the image in the painting and your three very modern daughters. I have seen this kind of thing in photographs of ancestors. I saw a pic not long ago of a woman who was the spitting image of my sister, although long dead before my sister was born.

Bernita said...

Blame it on fritillary fingers, Written!

Thank you, Raine.
If that's the d'Este I'm thinking off, I'm not surprised. She was an interesting and beautiful woman.

Charles, that sort of facial repetition always gives me a thrill. No wonder such resemblances find their way into novels.

SzélsőFa said...

wow for your great daughters, Bernita!

as for the question: no, but there are paintings where I feel the need to talk to the character, to know him/her better. or when I feel s/he wishes to tell me something.
those are strange feelings.

BernardL said...

The picture gives me a warm glow but your actual reality is like a flame in the darkness.

Bernita said...

SzelsoFa, thank you. They make me feel both proud and humble.
Strange? Not at all. Perfectly natural.

How very nice of you, Bernard! Thank you.

Peter Newland said...

How interesting!

Nice to see you around the net again Bernita :)

Bernita said...

And very nice to see you again, Peter!
You are having a busy time.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful picture - and such a lovely description of our emancipated charms! ;-) I notice said arm has a good hold on the boat's line...

There are a few renaissance portraits out there whose fellow faces live today. Titian accounts for two of them, strangely enough.

Asa

Whirlochre said...

Not had this with paintings, but many sci-fi monster transformation scenes remind me of the bizarre pastry beast that greets me in the mirror first thing in the morning.

Bernita said...

Feet on the ground, firm hold on things and ready to take up the slack,Asa.

Whirl, it's my belief that morning mirrors are both sentient and malicious.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

My son looks remarkably like his great grandfather. We have a pic of him in our upper hall at about Alex's age, and the resemblance is eerie.

catvibe said...

How wonderful to connect these 'three graces' with your daughters. I have three trees outside my house I call the 'three graces' and I paint and photograph them constantly. They don't remind me of my two sons. :-) In answer to your question, yes! Well sort of. Usually it's the painting I am familiar with, then I meet someone and I think something like, she looks just like a Rueben! Or Bottecelli's Venus! Also, I paint faces often, and after painting them I see they are the faces of people from my past, although I don't see that until after the painting is done.

It was a world of joy to have your companionship at the contest. I'd love to be your friend out here in the ethers.

Lana Gramlich said...

I haven't been shocked by faces in paintings, but rather by faces from photos of people in faraway lands. Charles & I have a theory that there are "groups" of people who tend to look alike to one degree or another.

Bernita said...

'Tis isn't it, Betsy?
But oddly reassuring, as well.
My son is the living spit of his grand-father, for sure. Pictures we possess of his great-grandfathers are to far from the camera to tell.

Cat, it would be really lovely to have you as a blog friend.
I was taken by your surname, btw - it's the same as the hero's in one of Jeffery Farnoll's novels..

Lana, that is a most interesting theory...and the causes behind such resemblances would be even more fascinating.

Natasha Fondren said...

Wow, that is just freaky! In a very, very cool way.

And striking how different their lives would have been, had they been born a century earlier.

Bernita said...

Funny thing though, Natasha,the child who is the counterpart to the one in blue likes hats very much.

catvibe said...

Oh, do tell me which one! I would love to find it for my father.

Bernita said...

Cat...The Broad Highway!