Thursday, February 09, 2006

Art History in the Globe & Mail


Weird, Kevin Temple does some Q&D analysis of Jean-Paul Lemieux's Charlottetown Revisited (top of the fold, too!). While I'm certain that he got some art historian to vet his line "the two silhouettes in top hats on the right appear to depict the Atlantic Provinces, representatives of which were meeting to consider a Maritime union. On the far left, the solitary Province of Canada waits as the Maritimes discuss the new proposal of a larger union of Canada." Most likely Jon Tupper the guy who runs the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. I'm not certain I'd be talking to the guy who runs Place des Arts if I wanted an analysis of some art that was there, but I digress.

Given that it was painted in 1964, by a dude from Quebec, on a commission from the feds - what if in fact the two figures on the right are considered to be the French and English sides of Canada discussing the inclusion of the Atlantic Provinces (the figure on the left)? Since at the Charlottetown conference there seemed to be a done deal that included all four of the Atlantic Provinces and when the talks shifted to Quebec all heck broke loose and Newfoundland and PEI bolted, could not the orange sky (what Mr. Temple calls an "ominous, blood-orange sky") actually be foreshadowing not only the Quebec Conference, but also the Quiet revolution? On top of it, while Mr. Tupper correctly points out that the Confederation Centre faces south, what he misses is that the grid on which Montreal is based is just a tad askew, and as a consequence the summer sun sets in what most people would consider "Montreal North," and as M. Lemieux was living in Montreal at the time his painting would be correct from a local perspective.

Then again, I could be wrong. I need to get me a history textbook.

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