Saturday, March 18, 2017

Updates and Poetry

    Since my last blog post, I have travelled to Seville and Cordoba, Barcelona, and Morocco. I have had  a birthday, my midterms and fought a small cold. I have been homesick, enchanted and everything in between. And here we are in March, already halfway through my semester abroad!
    The truth is I have started and stopped this blog post many times since our group trip to Seville. Why I had such a massive writer's block escapes me, my topic of interest kept changing and even my poetry wasn't coming together. Now, I feel I've given myself more than enough time to get my thoughts out there for you all to read. This post will consist of my poetry and meanings of said poetry. [Disclaimer: I know my posts so far have come from a sociocultural perspective instead of a traveler's perspective. I'll be sure to include a post about AIFS and different dos and don'ts for those who are considering studying abroad in Granada come next week. Spoiler: would definitely recommend AIFS...to be continued ;)]

Now for those who decided to stick around, some poetry!

Still-life--
I see the food and flatware.
Ah, now I understand the why--
A country's culture framed;
off of the canvas
  see the pomegranate,
     bread and wine stains.
Still life,
  preserved to this day.

    This poem I wrote today, after my trip to the Granada Museum of Fine Arts. There is a fine collection of 16th century to 19th century art that depicts Granada's history and culture. I noticed a progression, seen throughout western art history in Europe. The Gothic and Medieval work included the depiction of Christianity through the lens of Catholicism. I first saw wood-work and paintings of Madonna and Child, Christ's crucifixion, narratives of the life of Christ on Earth.  
     Looking for the resurrection of Christ, I did not find it. Instead, the gallery led me to the beginnings of the recognition of Saints, which did not surprise me. Huge, wooden, polychrome statues of monks and saints; and paintings of their accomplishments. Leading me then to the 17th century works, away from the Bible, away from "piety," and to an exhibition of still-lifes.
     For so long, in my experience with art history, I never fully understood the point of still-life paintings until today. For some reason it clicked in my mind why paintings of food and silver dishes on a table played a role in western art outside of it being just "something to paint."
     What these seemingly mundane portraits of pomegranates and onions, "bread and wine stains," and meat hanging in butcher shops showed me, was a symbolic preservation of not only Spanish gastronomy, but what the people of this country continue to hold dear to. What was depicted in these still-lifes is still a facet of the Spanish lifestyle today. Selling silver was the trade of my Spanish mom, she cooks with most if not all the ingredients depicted in the paintings, and the pomegranate continues to be the symbol of Granada.
     What baffles me most, is how hundreds of years of influence from the Arabs, from the Romans, from the Greeks, and from the Phoenicians is so clearly seen today in Spain. I've yet to experience that in the United States and probably won't in the same way I have here in Spain.

    Just a quick side note, throughout my trips that I mentioned earlier, I have visited museums telling a similar story and have written corresponding poetry that I will feature in my Study Abroad promotion project.

    The following poem is an expression of my take on the Catholic influence in the art and history of Spain. It was clearly a vehicle for the expulsion of dissenting beliefs, the conquest of the Americas, and the rise of Spanish rule in the 15th and 16th centuries. Being a Protestant, I have felt inclined to comment on the representation of Jesus Christ in the art I viewed today.

From the Gothic roots
I saw a progression
  of the Christ-child,
beloved, in mother's embrace
to crucified,
to mini statue of crucifix 
  in the hands of an oversized saint.
What happened to the empty tomb?

Thank you for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts :)

"Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." John 6:27

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