Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rubens and Zen Gardening

Peter Paul Rubens

I suppose it’s too much to ask but I was hoping one of the world’s leading art museums would offer me a very large painting by Peter Paul Rubens, the 17th century Flemish nude master.  It would have to be very large, with several large naked women running about and a man mounted on a galloping horse sweeping one of the women up, her legs attractively kicking and her arms flailing as would any maiden’s when filled with anxiety.  Her red lips are breathlessly parted and her pink breasts flushed and heaving in a manner that remains ladylike throughout the entire ordeal. 

Yes, I think this nicely describes the oil painting that fills one wall of my living room.  There’s going to be something of a problem getting it through the front door.  It’s far too big.  But I refer you to the tried and true rule of thumb – where there’s a will there’s a way.  We’ll leave that problem to the experts.  Once installed there’s an awkward furniture situation.  I don’t want anything blocking one inch of my Rubens.  This requires an afternoon of moving everything about.  It’s almost too cramped to get around but I’ve solved everything except where I’m going to put the big screen TV.   The china cabinet needs to go to the garage.  The lady of the house naturally objects but I remind her that we all have to make sacrifices.  

Of course, now that the cabinet is situated near the water heater there’s the problem of having no place for the mower and lawn tools.  The obvious solution is to replace the yard with a vast Zen garden, complete with sand, gravel and a large rock.  A quick store run and I’ll pick up a nice bench for quiet contemplation of my rock. 

I love my rock.  I love my painting.  I sit for hours just admiring my Rubens.  I must invite friends over.  Having no idea what is in store for them they are, needless to say, astounded by the magnificent painting once they step through the door.  It is truly overwhelming.  The wife makes refreshments and we treat ourselves to baloney on cracker hors d’oeuvres as we chat excitedly about our marvelous good fortune.  How does he create those extraordinary skin tones?  It’s a pity more people aren’t intimately familiar with the brushwork of Rubens. 

Friends ask me how much I pay to insure this masterpiece.  I don’t know.  It’s all paid for by the museum as part of the deal.  Anyway, can you imagine a burglar trying to get it through one of our windows and then hauling it off in the back of his pickup?  We also have one of those house alarm systems where someone yells at any intruder. 

“Hey, get your hands off the painting!  Make sure you lock the door as you leave.” 

I accidentally set the alarm off once and that’s exactly what they say.  Believe me, it’s no fun being yelled at.  I phoned and got it all straightened out.  We had a good laugh and the cops couldn't stop talking about the magnificent painting.  What kind of club do you have to join to have something like this installed in your house?  I told them all it took for me was a nicely written letter.  I find I can get a lot done if only I have the proper attitude.  It’s something we all need to keep in mind.

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