Dads: we wouldn’t be here without them. In my life, being a dad meant (and means!) hanging pictures in your daughters’ first apartments, making sure your kid remembers to get insurance in between jobs, texting groan-worthy jokes, putting worms on and taking fish off, keeping the lawn mowed, remembering garbage day (every week!), and hauling kids from lesson to game to tryout to practice on a loop for eternity, among millions of other things. In honor of Father’s Day last Sunday, I’ve chosen some father/offspring art. Two sweet dads and a rotten one.
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich painted this sweet painting that I love so much and not just because of the dad’s gingerbeard. The little girl clutches a toy pony, that gives the painting a great bit of color, as she explains something worrisome to her dad. Maybe she stole the pony? Maybe she had a bad dream, or is confessing to saying a bad word? Whatever it is, her dad is taking her concern seriously, which I find so enduring. It reminds me of the time I scratched my dad’s car (scratch is an understatement- it was like four feet long.) He listened so lovingly and patiently before pointing out a rubber bike handle “scratch” can be rubbed out with a little spit and a thumb.
Mary Cassatt is best known for her depictions of mothers and their children, but here is one she did of her brother and nephew. At first, I didn’t like it because of how the black clothing blends together, but the resemblance of the two through the eyes is so dear. I like how they’re reading the Op/Ed section together. Probably about Prohibition. (Is that the right time frame? The right country even? Dunno.) My brother loves watching Red Wing games with his son because it’s the only time his five-year-old will really snuggle with him. I think the Cassatt men share the same affinity for current events and Steve Jobs-esque wardrobes.
I promised a rotten dad and I have a doozie. I give you… Chronos and his child. Now this? Is an awful father. Flying over the land, holding his baby by an ankle, while also wielding a scythe isn’t even the worst of his offenses. He also ate five of his kids. So, there’s that too. Don’t worry, Zeus made him pay for it later, and the kids were regurgitated (don’t you wonder how they depicted that scenario on the family tree?!) I “liked” this painting best of all the Chronos paintings. If you’re into something a little more disturbing, you might check out Peter Paul Reubens interpretation, or (worse, worse, worse!) Francisco Goya’s reimagining.
I cannot end with that awful story. Here is a cheery father/daughter painting by Carl Larsson to cleanse your eyeballs. Isn’t Brita cute? Isn’t her dad fun and scythe-free? Till next year, dads!