Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Tuesday 17th December - A Random Shot

Flipping heck, I've got an awful one for you today, so I'll try and put off the inevitable for as long as I can.  So how are you all?  Well I hope, and not at all stressed by your Christmas shopping.  Personally, I am just trying not to eat too much food so that I still fit into my trousers come January...

Look, it's no good, we have to get on with it.  Brace!

A Random Shot (1848) Edwin Landseer
Rats.  Well, it's all gone wrong for Bambi, hasn't it?  This is all very grim and beautifully painted.  Obviously what we have here is a doe who has been killed and her little fawn trying to work out why Mummy is having a prolonged sit-down.  To be fair, I often have to have a prolonged sit-down and it's not because I've been callously gunned down in the sparkly snow, but because I've found the M&S food hall particularly gruelling. 

The Monarch of the Glen (1851)
Landseer is probably best known for this other massive, scotch-drinking deer who is very much alive and far less tragic.  As an animal painter and sculptor, he is also responsible for the lions in Trafalgar Square.  I find his work difficult as I am so familiar with it, it's easy to not realise how utterly breath-taking it is.  I suppose because we received it, especially post-1960s, as slightly kitsch, biscuit-tin-and-table-mat sort of art that we were bombarded with, especially in our grandparent's houses.  Although it is easy to anthropomorphize the emotions of some of Landseers animals, especially the sad dogs, we forget that Landseer is also responsible for reflecting the unbelievable majesty and borderline threat of nature, for example, these fellows...

Man Proposes, God Disposes (1864)
 I am slightly obsessed with polar bears and how terrifying they are.  I'm currently reading Dark Matter by Michelle Paver which is all polar exploration and terror.  Marvellous for this time of year.  Polar bears will eat you, make no mistake.  Mr Polar Bear thinks you are utterly delicious, which is oddly comforting on the days when you feel that no-one loves you.

Sorry, back to Bambi's Mum.  The title refers to a Walter Scott poem The Lord of the Isles, specifically Canto 5 v.18 

'-O! many a shaft at random sent, 
Finds mark the archer little meant! 
And many a word at random spoken, 
May sooth or wound a heart that's broken!' 

In the poem it refers to Ronald proving comfort to his page Amadine which sort of works but possibly not in the way he meant.  I suppose therefore Landseer is inferring that the hunter of the deer did not intend to kill the doe and in consequent probably kill off her fawn too.  Mind you, as we covered yesterday, hunting for funsies is massively stupid and especially if you want to split hairs about not wanting to kill one lot of animals over another.  In fact, I hope we have a repeat of yesterday's scene and just as the hunter comes over to have a bit of a lament over accidentally killing the wrong sort of deer, Bambi's mum jumps up and wrestles the hunter to the ground, delivering a right good mauling.  She then tag-teams in her friends the polar bears who have a few things to say about hunting for fun.  Bambi's Mum is thenceforth seen wearing a very fetching furry hat and no-one ever messes with her ever again, much like the end of Jon Klassen's marvellous  I Want My Hat Back (2011).  Now that is a damn fine book indeed.

See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Kirsty
    What are you doing to me? Two animal images (though I was also rooting for the lioness) - this is a very traumatic image! I have never yet managed to watch Bambi and then you do that to me. I need to lie down in a darkened room or at the least, watch some nice fluffy films to restore my equilibrium. Dying/Dead/sobbing people in art works are so much easier to cope with...
    Best wishes


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx