One Weird Trick to Appreciate Art | John Herreid | IPNovels.com
“Oh, is that an allusion to the Fall?”
“The Fall of Adam and Eve.”
“Is it Persephone in the underworld?”
It was around ten years ago. I was at an open studio event held in a huge old warehouse in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. Several painters and sculptors were exhibiting their work, ranging from intentionally incomprehensible prints of layered graphics to a city made from candy to a number of rather good paintings. I was looking at one depicting a darkened landscape with a figure of a woman accepting a red fruit from a shadowy man in a robe. The artist was standing nearby, so I asked him about it. After a number of back and forth comments he shrugged and told me he had seen something similar in a painting somewhere and decided to riff on it. It wasn’t intended to be Eve’s encounter with Satan or Persephone being tricked by Hades, it was just an image that resonated with him.
Since then I’ve noticed this happening in other mediums: film or literature or music. As more and more people drift from a firm education in the classics, the images live on after their original context is lost.