Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Arriving (deliberately) early for lunch near the National Gallery gave me the opportunity to go and look at a painting or two without having time to go round a whole exhibition.  Much better.  If you have no agenda then your imagination and your footsteps can take you where you please.
Found a wonderful Botticini hidden above a dull, grey lift and then I lingered awhile by this amazing painting by Botticelli.  It's one of those images which adorn a thousand post-cards - Mars, God of War - being vanquished by love and beauty in the form of Venus.  Sometimes well-known paintings are scorned simply BECAUSE they're well-known.  But there's always a good reason for popularity....
And I'd never noticed before that little wasps are buzzing around the ears of Mars - symbolising just how deeply he sleeps....


  1. How fascinating. (And you've made me itch to visit the National again. You have much to answer for, Ms Kendrick. I've had Rossetti pictures sneaking into my revisions - AND I persuaded DH to buy me a sculpture for my birthday.)

  2. Revisions! O, for a pile of them right now - I'd rather tackle anything other than my current book, whose characters are stubbornly refusing to do what I want them to do. I suppose that means I must let them take over....
    Have been for a run - am about to drink 'erb tea and listen to some music - but am not holding out much hope.

    Inspiration, please!

  3. Venus and Mars by Botticelli! Oh, you know...I've always loved this painting.

    It's so romantic and fascinating: the goddess of love is watching over the sleeping naked Mars - Botticelli's theme is that the power of love can defeat the warrior's strenght.

    Its meaning is quite obscure, as most of Reinassance works.
    It can be an allegory of marriage, explaining that Love (played by Venus) tames Violence (played by Mars).
    Another interpretation can be the meeting between Venus, depicting the "katastematic" pleasures, and Mars, the dynamic pleasures, described in the proem of Lucretius's work "De rerum natura".

    It's true, sometimes we focus on the general idea of a painting without noticing little but meaningful particulars that complete the rest... as the wasps you noticed!


  4. Inspiration? I need it too please!
    You know, I've started to write a story - I mean, I have a general idea but my characters still have to take shape. Not so good...

    I'm trying to do it - though I'm busy with my swimming lessons for improvement (becoming a purser is not so easy) and my coach seems a chemistry professor but he's supposed to be like that! God bless you Dante!

    Anyway... music helps me very much, it's my first source of inspiration.

  5. Michela - try Brahms IV for the ultimate in romance - followed by the Doors for the ultimate in raunch. A very good combination to kick-start a story!
    As for inspiration - you are from Naples and Neapolitan men are enduringly popular - so use the abundance of knowledge you already have. Think of the most arrogant man you've ever met and then TAME HIM over the course of your story.

  6. Thanks for the tip!

    The lyricism of Brahms's music followed by Jim Morrison's decadent words fascinate me so much!

    I'll follow your advice about inspiration - "my future and still unborn hero" prepare yourself TO BE TAMED!


  7. Dear Sharon,

    You didn't spot any Rubens while you were there did you? I'm desperate to see The Fall of Phaethon in the flesh(or canvas even!). Very envious.

    Am woefully unqualified to suggest tips on inspiration to a writerly goddess such as yourself, but it often works for me: how about making one of your characters do or say something completely outrageous? It somehow 'shocks' the page( and me!) into life again and gets the juices flowing. You can always scrub it later--or it might take the story somewhere else.

    Then there's the other option: red wine or gin. Later obviously.



  8. Your straight worked!

    I've just written ten full pages after lunch.
    But I'm sure I'll change many things along the way - of course!

    When I also wrote in the past (short novels, reviews) I tried to keep out of myself and "become" my characters - male or female, no difference - it's the only way for me.
    It seemed like I could listen to their voice in my room (a metaphor of my mind!) and look at them acting as I was at theatre.

    When I have to write I often hear their voices or sounds before seeing an image of the scene I want to write about.

    Is it the same for you or vice versa?


  9. I've never been to the National Gallery. It is one of my a,bitions, but a long way from Wales.
    As for music, I find it helps to shut the madness of my household out, so I can loose myself in my story.
    Hope the inspiration strikes.

  10. Lovely painting - I can just imagine standing there and staring at it for hours.....Caroline x