March 26, 2014

peaceable kingdom

I saved my favorite picture from the Uncommon Folk exhibit to share with you today.  I have seen reproductions of this picture (or one of its variations) many times, but never the original.  It's title is Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks.

Hicks, a Pennsylvania Quaker and artist in the 19th century, began to paint a series of pictures featuring the peaceable kingdom described in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (11:6–9) between 1816-1818. Sixty-two versions of The Peaceable Kingdom have been identified to date, although the actual number he completed may have been considerably larger. He probably initiated the pictures in response to criticism he had received from a few Quakers who felt some of his ornamental work was too fancy and in conflict with the Friends’ codes of simplicity and plainness.  Hicks often incorporated forms from popular graphic illustrations into his compositions: the grouping of the lioness with her playful cubs, the torque of the bear's head, the commanding stance of the lion, and the view of the Delaware Water Gap closing off the background are direct quotations from contemporary prints, as is the scene of William Penn signing his treaty with the Indians, another allusion to the theme of peace and harmony.  It is really a lovely work.

When I started looking for an appropriate poem to pair with the painting, I discovered it is a popular theme. Here are two versions I particularly enjoyed.  Hicks recast the Biblical verse as a poem to accompany this painting:

The wolf did with the lambkin dwell in peace

His grim carnivorous nature there did cease
The leopard with the harmless kid laid down
And not one savage beast was seen to frown.
The lion with the fatling on did move
A little child was leading them in love.
And  here is one written by Denis Martindale in 2013.

Peaceable Kingdom
When four bear cubs were granted space
To stroll along one day,
There was no sudden sad disgrace
Because they chose to play...
Thus side-by-side without a brawl,
Just like four musketeers,
With all-for-one and one-for-all
They each shared smiles not fears...

Of course, they'd bonded like bears do,
Each knew there was no harm,
They faced that morning rendezvous
With no trace of alarm...
Thus peace was reigning, kingdom-wise,
With gentle harmony
And surely that's the greatest prize
That's ever meant to be...

If only humans chose this path,
Aspired to its aims,
There'd be more reasons still to laugh,
Less reasons to call names...
Yet love takes time in every heart
To blossom like the rose,
Before its blessings can impart
And lifelong friendship grows...

And when my friend and I had finished perusing all the collections and exhibits, we had to of course check out the museum gift shop!  You never know what you mind find there, and I certainly chose two completely different items, although both will, I am sure, bring me pleasure.  The first was a CD of Appalachian music, featuring violin, cello, guitar, mandolin and flute

I've had fun all week listening to the toe tapping tunes on my way to work, singing along with Down in the Valley, Keep on the Sunny Side, Shenandoah and Morning has Broken.  It reminds me of one of my favorite books when I was a teenager, Christy by Catherine Marshall, as well as my vacation to Gatlinburg and the beautiful Appalachian region a few years ago.  

And for when the cooking muse strikes, we both ended up purchasing this cookbook, because you just never know when you might need to bake a cake that looks like art!

Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art

Yum....which dessert to try first?  I know my friend and I will at some point spend a weekend together trying one of these creations, just because....just because it will be fun.  And who doesn't need a little more fun in their lives?

Maybe the ice cream cones?

Although today, a cup of hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, patterned from Buckminster Fuller's floating tetrahedron city might be just the ticket!  Who knew art could be so much fun?! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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