Cartoons, amateurs and unknown atrocities
The second part of a day at the Louvre, and how we capture and consume the past.
I need to wrap up last week’s visit to the Louvre and I find the only way to do that is to consider a visit to another museum almost twenty years ago, in Russia.
The museum in question is of course The Hermitage in St Petersburg and, if I am to write about the Dutch art1 I saw and loved at the Louvre last week, I must remember where it was that I first fell in love with this type of art — and that place was The Hermitage.
Before I can do that though, I need to share a few things I’ve come across this week that made me think about how we capture the past and how we consume the past as captured by others.
One wasnoticing just how easy it is to freeze the past into an idea; a cartoonish version of what it actually was. Another was writing on Notes that there is no untangling; only more tangling. That the story is not about what happened. It’s about what the narrator makes of what happened.
Much of it is indeed like a cartoon; scenes and images stick out in bright outlines. Key stories that get recounted. This is just in the nature of how it feels to look back and describe something that happened, whether you’re in the front row seat at a coveted event or singing along to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in a pick up truck in the sun.
These images become part of us when we say: this is who I was. This is what happened.