The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Which Way At The Crossroads? 2007
For a larger image, please see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walford/2121376107/
I have been reflecting recently about the directions we choose and take in life, and their consequences, both short and long term.
We all, also, come to critical crossroads at various points in our lives. Divergent paths seem minimal at their point of departure, yet how far they can lead us in unanticipated directions. We can all think of such crossroads in our lives.
The color photograph in the center panel depicts one such crossroads (encountered during recent travels in England). I have combined it with two of my favorite prints by Albrecht Dürer, representing the active and the contemplative life. These two prints, "St. Jerome" (on the left) of 1514,, and "Knight, Death, & Devil," (on the right), of 1513, also exemplify the need for both focus and fortitude in order to stay on task, to hold to our chosen path. Since I often find myself tested in these areas, I made this for my office, as a reminder of where I need to set my sights, and to what I need to hold fast.
It is also my attempt to recast the core concept of Dürer's two prints within a contemporary idiom.
I would, of course, be interested to discover how others respond to this composite, partially-appropriated triptych, mixing old and new, while also marrying my love for actual landscape to that of art history.
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- John Walford
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- I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.