Today I was lucky enough to see the above painting for real in the National museum in Cardiff. It is called the funeral of Phocion by Poussin. Once seen for real the pictures of it just do not do it justice. I don’t know why it spoke to me, I guess it kind of captured my imagination of life right now. When you stand before it, your eye instantly goes to the foreground figures. Without the title, you wonder what meaning there is. However as you look, as you see the detail, you start to see. What I see is life, there is so much activity behind. The figures are moving the death of one out of the scene of life.
The sun is still shining, the buildings still stand and the trees still move in the breeze. People still continue to live, the loss of one has had no visible impact on the life of the scene. It makes me feel an affinity for life, it shows that whilst we may impact the world both by living and by dying, we do so only briefly. The sun will still shine, buildings will remain, trees will stir in the breeze. Who knows what impact the shrouded figure had on the world, or how much feeling will be stirred by his passing.
I found myself hoping on his behalf that he was a great man, a man of value. Long after I moved away from it, my thought stayed with it. I felt like it was justified that the sun should shine on the passing of a great man. The buildings should still stand in his honour and the trees take up his remains and return him to the world.
I guess it left me with a feeling that what we do in life we do not take with us, we leave it behind. No matter what life you chose to lead, when all is done you leave with nothing but your legacy. So I am glad to be here still, one day I shall be gone but until that day I get to chose what gets left behind.