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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Syrinx by Arthur Hacker

Agent Triple P Went to Brighton today where it was unusually sunny and warm for the time of year. There were many nice girlies out and about (lots of students in Brighton so the dress code was rather strange); notably a quartet of Germans who had just had henna tatoos of cats painted on their stomachs and were showing their midriffs of delightedly. You could tell they weren't British even before you heard them speak as their tummies were toned and flat! "Look at our cute pussies!" they were saying in English. I'm sure they are.

I bought a nice framed print of Arthur Hacker's Syrinx in The Lanes for a very reasonable price. Hacker was French trained and very influenced by Waterhouse (like Herbert Draper). Syrinx was a water nymph pursued by the God Pan who had dubious intentions towards her. She called for help from the water nymphs who, rather unhelpfully, transformed her into reeds which gave forth a haunting sound when Pan breathed across them. So he cut some of these reeds and made the original Pan pipes from them. Symbolically odd in all sorts of ways but then that's the ancient Greeks for you. I would have thought that however much she valued her chastity being ravished by Pan would have been a lot better than being turned into a bunch of reeds and then cut up to form pipes so a Romanian could produce an annoying soundtrack to an arty Australian film of the seventies. Anyway, all this classical inspiration obviously did the stuff for Arthur, or maybe it was the model, who is rather fine.

I saw the original painting in the Manchester Art Gallery last year. It will make a nice pair (!) with the similar picture I picked up in the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest a few years ago, as they are almost identical in size and proportion. I also bought a nice 1920's dancing girl figurine in the same shop. An enjoyably girlie filled day altogether.

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