Sunday, January 7, 2007
Treasure Island and Albrecht Durer
What may you ask do Treasure Island and Albrecht Durer have in common? Well, not a whole heck of a lot, but I had encounters with both of these on the same day that brought me crashing back to the mid to late seventies and made me remember just what I loved about literature and the arts, although I didn't really know it back then.
During the holidays I started to reread Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island complete with Illustrations by N.C. Wyeth and I had forgotten the feelings that the book impressed upon me as a wee lad. I remembered thinking that all of these pirates were actually roaming around the seas and I felt fear that I may just run into them someday and didn't want to. My imagination was kicking into high gear about this time. Long John Silver (as cliche'd as he has become over the years) made me realize that there were people, real people that were just as manipulative and sneaky. And there were the obvious connections with Jim Hawkins, too.
I think that as adventurous as I think I am, I lost touch with just what adventure meant to me back then and the excitement and hope that I had when reading that book.
On the very same day, Tina and I went to the Detroit Institute of Arts to check out the Annie Liebovitz photography exhibit, which I was a bit disappointed in because no work was shown before 1999, and I for one would have liked to see the photos from her Rolling Stone days, both with the mag and the band. Oh well. But there was a very good exhibit on engravings and printmaking showcasing Picasso, Rembrandt and Durer. Durer's were the best by far for me and brought me back to about the same time as my first encounter with Treasure Island.
It was about this time that I encountered Durer's drawings and engravings and I think that this was one of my first exposures to any of the old masters, even though I didn't know who Albrecht was at the time. It was the image above that really got me with that stylized, yet proportionate horse in all of it's detail. It was an awakening to see just what could be done with line, the depth, the form, the atmosphere. This wasn't Spider-Man comics.
It was nice (and necessary) for me to get back in touch with what I thought I had lost.