Friday, October 2, 2015

Complainc* (for Compliance)

Are you generally in compliance, or do you prefer to complain about stuff? I suppose that it depends, for most of us, on the importance of what is at issue, as well as the probable results of going either with the flow or against the grain. It's a little hard to tell at first from looking at this painting just what Cupid's complaint to Venus might have been, although one imagines it must've had something to do with love. However, according to Art Daily, and unless it's a love of honey, the message of this piece is a bit more universal: "Cupid complains to Venus that he has been stung by bees. He holds in his hand the honeycomb that has been stolen from them. The Latin verses in the upper right point up the moral message in this picture that life’s brief pleasure is mixed with pain." The realization stings, but it is what it is. So let us neither unduly complain of, nor dully comply with, the uncertain rules of this earthly game, and try to enjoy what's been handed to us, bees and all. (On a somewhat related note, this work of art is reputed to have once belonged to Adolf Hitler, someone who should have inspired many more complaints, and far less compliance.) This typo appears seven times in OhioLINK, and 692 times in WorldCat.

(Cupid Complaining to Venus, circa 1525, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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