I’m so glad the drawing challenge is back after a summer break, and am so grateful to our woolfie girl Nadine for calling this weekend’s DC: Image.
The word image is so loaded with possibilities, isn’t it? Some days I feel I’m so bombarded with so many images, especially when I’m in the city, such a sensory overload, that I’ve all learned how to block the noise out and retain selective bits and pieces. I think most people are in the same boat here. The downside is that we have very short attention spans and tend to digest information in small bits, and the result is that some of us find it nearly impossible to do things which require long stretches of concentration, like to read a book from cover to cover. (Oh dear, my CMNS is starting to take over this post)
What I’m trying to say actually, is that long and deep concentration is something I practice.
These days I’ve been concentrating on the image, or rather the lack of image, of Isabelle, the wife of the 13C Knight Templar in our village church.
What do we really know about her?
Not much as it turns out.
We may suspect that she wore a wimple and tunic…as her sarcophagus suggests, she probably was very pious, and she probably had a pet dog. And that’s it. The Medieval effigy is worn down thru the years, and the frescoes showing her portrait are too.
So what did she look like? How many children did she have? Where and how did she live? Actually, what was her name?
I have a story to tell you. My good friend, Julie, lives in the village and is a brilliant historian. She wrote the book, The Water Gypsy, a true story about a fisherman’s daughter in the early 18C, Betty Ridge, who lived right here in our village, married a viscount, and this marriage ended with grandchildren living at Blenheim palace. Now Betty, by the time she was about 40 yrs old, was a viscountess and had her portrait painted, and so we know what she looked like. Isabelle’s, if it ever existed, is lost to history.
So is her name actually. I was speaking to Julie several years ago, and she said that we may never know her name. I said that we have to give her back a name and I chose Isabelle, because she looked like an Isabelle. A couple years later, Isabelle showed up in the book of the church history, and so it stands.
But Isabelle is lost to history, as are almost all the women prior to the Renaissance and prior to the popularity of portraiture.
Last week I started a little cross stitch of Isabelle.
I stitched her wimple and gave her a golden veil.
I stitched her little dog at her feet.
And when I thought I got to know her a little more, I looked thru my stash of paper for the right page…
And I drew her portrait.
And her reason for living.
She is on a page of Grieg with the note “adante tranquille”, to walk slowly. The page starts with No 12, reflecting the century in which she lived, and the letter B is between her eyes, signifying she was not necessarily the A, the important, notable person in this pair, but do you see the notations “p cresc” and “piu cresc”? This translates as: “more, louder” and, “rinf” is rinforzando, reinforcing.
I know that many of the images are completely made up, but perhaps in some small way, the ancient music of Isabelle Moore is a little louder.
Now pop over to visit Nadine and take in some more lovely images.