Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wings of a dove

Saturday I was sitting in my shop in the evening chatting with one of my shopmates. It was after 6 so there were hardly any people in our area of the festival let alone in our shop. At this time of day we normally only see people who are returning to pick up purchases or are just passing through sort of lost.

As we sat there a large family came in through the far door and were headed out the other door. They took one look at our shop and decided it wasn't the shop they wanted to be in. We said hello, we said goodbye, we went on with our conversation, or at least that was the plan.

As the father passed the counter he let out this loud laugh and said "Honey look it's a nekkid lady with an eagle."

I stopped mid sentence and looked from my friend, to the man, and then over my shoulder to what he was referring to as I tried to figure out what he was talking about. We don't have anything with eagles in the shop this year.

What he was referencing was the three foot bronzed statue of Aphrodite that sits on one end of our counter. The Greek Goddess of love is indeed mostly without clothes, simply having a wisp of fabric floating about her waist. In her hands is a dove in flight. There are also several doves at her feet. There is nothing obscene about the piece. It is very much in the classic style. Most people who buy this statue from us put it in their bathrooms or gardens I am told.

All I could do was look back at the retreating form of the man and say "It's a dove."

My friend pointed out for the bird to be an eagle Aphrodite would have to be a giant. I just chalk it up to his discomfort in seeing a naked form displayed in public.

It is by far the strangest comment we have had about our classic art pieces, but by no means the first. Mostly we get parents who cover their children's eyes when they see the Three Graces or any of the other Greek statuary that depict naked breasts. I have been told it is pornographic and immoral. I have been told that we should be ashamed of showing that. I have heard so many lectures on it that I easily tune them out now.

The thing I find funny is that these are the same people who will turn around and buy their 7 year old daughter a statue of a fairy that is dressed like a hooker doing suggestive things with a dragon and not think twice about it. Or they will buy the statue of the succubus in chains and leather that would be much closet to pornography than replicas of classic art.

I try and understand where people are coming from, I really do. I know that there are people who consider nudity in any form wrong. I know that they think that people should not look at or appreciate. I get it. I mean I don't really understand it, but I am not going to tell them they are wrong. People can think whatever they like.

I am bothered though by the hypocrisy. You can't look at something that is simply a nude form and call it pornography and then turn around and not condone something that is obviously being overly sexualized and meant to be provocative. I mean a fairy in thigh high boots, a thong and the scantest of bras over heaving breasts that is bent over touching tongues with a dragon should be considered higher on the pornographic scale than say The Birth of Venus.

At least that is the way I see things. I am sure there are people who would disagree with  me. I am sure there is some odd logic about the fact that it is a depiction of imaginary creatures that makes the sexual content of the piece invalid, where Aphrodite or Venus are both very obviously human (despite the fact that they are Goddesses) and that is these peoples lines.

Still, lines or not, you should be able to tell the difference between a dove and an eagle. If you can't, I seriously doubt you were looking at the naked woman's birds.

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