Thursday, 25 February 2016

Culture In My Squiddy Face

I found myself in Herbert Museum and Art Gallery in Coventry on both days of last weekend due to bad planning, but since it's entirely free beyond voluntary donations I don't feel bad.  Especially since what I went to see was so cool: the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015. It's hardly surprising this is as gorgeous as it is, and when you get bored of looking at all the awesome pictures of the awesome animals (plus the occasional villainous insect that presumably received the photo-shoot equivalent of pity sex), you can argue about how utterly wrong the judges' decisions were.  The below, for example, somehow failed to be recognised as Best Animal Photo Of The Year Or Ever Really.

Copyright Marc Albiac

What is wrong with these people? This next one needs mentioning in dispatches, actually, not because it was one of the absolute best on show, but because it makes me giggle every time I look at it.

Copyright Peter Lilja
The chick on the far left is just so clearly going "Muuuuuuuuum! You know I'm a vegetarian!"

Our accidental return journey also afforded me the chance to have another look at this Charles Ricketts painting.

To my shame I've never actually seen the Faust story in any form, other than the most obvious one, that of adaptation/rip-off. What interests me in the painting, though - obviously and doubtless to my discredit - is how much Mephistopheles' skullcap looks like Magneto's helmet.

Think about it: an immensely powerful being who offers you a slice of that power in exchange for your soul. Sounds a lot like the bargain you'd strike joining the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in its early days, I think. Certainly it's a less horrifically offensive and reductionist metaphor than "Magneto is Malcolm X".

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