One of the few benefits of being terminally unemployed is the copious amount of free time I have to read through my backlog of books. Lately I’ve been focusing on reading (or maybe re-reading, I really can’t remember) books that I had purchased for my college curriculum and were, for one reason or another, still in my possession. Back then, I either sold them back to the book dealers or threw them away (people will insist that you absolutely shouldn’t part with old college text books because “you never know when you’ll need them again,” speaking as an accountant I can assure this has never been the case; cut down on the clutter and get rid of those things once you’ve graduated.) I was a little surprised when I picked up The Machine that Changed the World, by James Womack–which was surely bought for a management class along with The Book of Five Rings and The Art of War because ZOMG how MIND BLOWING is it to use old combat strategy books for BUSINESS?! THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!–and noticed something tucked in about halfway through the book (page 160-161, to be exact.) It was a small (6″ x 4.75″) print of The Larder by Antonio Maria Vassallo.
I reeled at this relic of my past! Had I been reading through this book a decade ago (I don’t recall trying to read it at any point since graduating) and marked this as my last reading spot? Or had I simply tucked that print in there for safe keeping at some point? When, exactly did I buy this print?
I remember I took a Spanish Art History class to fulfill a humanities requirement (I have a couple of books leftover from that course as well, Los Caprichos and The Disasters of War by Francisco Goya.) There was exactly one piece of art I was exposed to during that class that I really liked, and that was Two Women at a Window by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (really, this piece just so perfectly captures a facial expression.) I trekked out to the National Gallery of Art to see it in person and must have bought a print of that painting along with this small Larder one. I have a tradition of using postcards of paintings I like for bookmarks (sadly, I lost my card for Alexander Archipenko‘s Woman with a Fan II, another piece of art I adore.)
Years later, while visiting my parents, I was rummaging through the closet of my former bedroom and came across a larger print of Two Women at a Window (roughly 8.5″ x 11″.) I was so thrilled to find it, having forgotten I’d ever bought it. I took it out and put it somewhere so I wouldn’t forget to bring it back with me when I returned to Jersey. Alas, that proved to be a terrible mistake, as it found its way to harm and got all crinkled up before I went home. I really need to track down a replacement for that print. Frame it up. Make it look nice.
Well, I’ll need to get a job and a place of my own again before I worry about decorating.