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Fallacy Of Shared Assumptions

Last September the shop's window was empty. In November the urn appeared. I fancied it was something of the ancient Roman period, bearing a classical allegory. I passed the window two or three times a week, on my way to the grocery store. Finally, yesterday, I saw the shopkeeper slowly and carefully sweeping the sidewalk. I asked him about the object.

"Is it of great age?"
"No, I made it myself," Antonio replied.
"You are a ceramicist?"
"Yes, of course."
"What do the figures represent?"
"This is fauno," he said pointing to the figure on the left. "And this is a woman singing a song of love."
"Just a woman, who comes from my imagination."
"And these are cherubs? Angeli?"
"Si. Angels of love."
"When I first saw the piece I thought it was an urn, but I see there is no removable lid."
"It is a decorative object. It can be made into a lamp."
"Yes. Very nice."

This morning I thought about Antonio, carefully sweeping his sidewalk. His artistic theme is love. Perhaps the urn is an autobiographical work. Now, a faun is a figure in Roman mythology similar to but gentler than the satyr. Ah, that is how he sees himself. But wait. He might instead identify with the woman.

Or the little angels.


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Thanks! I knew you'd understand.

Even Freud said that 'sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.' From my own limited experience I know that sometimes what you see is all that the artist is trying to convey. At times there's more to it, a depth. And in other cases, there's less there than you see.

For instance, I've read accounts from different songwriters that refuse to say what they were thinking of when they put the words down for a particular song because the public has interpretted the meaning has something different than the author intended. Some prefer to let the "end user" interpret their art in the way that means the most to them (the 'end user'.) Some examples could be Don McLean's American Pie and John Lennon's Come Together.

It really doesn't matter what an artist intends. Besides, we can't ever know another's intent, even if he states it. Sometimes an artist produces something that has a wholly unintended result, and later takes credit for it anyway. And why not? After all, she was there with a typewriter, brush or camera. She made it happen, so it's hers!

Hear hear!

To say nothing of the synthesis that occurs when observer meets art. Interacting with art necessarily means creation beyond the artist's ability to control. And that's great!

-- JB

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