December 11, 2018

Five Important Things To Teach Your Child

important-things-to-teach-your-child
As a parent, we are tasked with raising our children to operate effectively in the social world. At its most basic, this means we should teach them to read and educate them, help them become constructive citizens who contribute to the world in some way, behave in public, and do all those things that will mean they're well-socialised. But should socialisation - or the ability to repress yourself and your desires to be socially respectable - trump all other education? Should we not focus on teaching our children to respect themselves before all else?

These five things are, in my opinion, the most important things you can teach your child:







Appreciation for and pride in oneself

father-holds-up-child
Image: By Staff Sgt. Joseph Araiza (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1468937) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We need to teach children to be proud of themselves and appreciate their individuality and unique talents. It doesn't matter if they're not the best at anything or everything, and they shouldn't need 'appreciation trophies' to instil a feeling of self-love and pride. Our responsibility in this is to have realistic expectations of our children's abilities.

Appreciation for all beings

child-sitting-with-rabbits
Image: Polychronis Lembesis [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Our children need to grow up respecting and appreciating the lives of the beings we share this planet with. In traditional schooling structures, children are taught to strip other biological beings down to their basics: exoskeletons and skeletons, nerves, cells, body systems... This reductive view allows us as humans to separate ourselves from them, to place ourselves in superior positions despite the fact that we share the same basic building blocks as them. Separating ourselves from them makes us - instead of viewing them as feeling, thinking beings every bit as complex as we are - see them as something to be broken down and physically understood. This does not inspire respect in other beings as much as it reduces them in our minds, and so we call our attribution of any emotions they may have anthropomorphisation, a supposed aspect of all human psychology. But surely our tendency to anthropomorphise other beings is not the negative aspect many believe it to be? In our modern world, aren't we more disconnected than ever from nature and those with whom we share the Earth? And shouldn't we have an innate sense of respect and responsibility to protect the creatures of the world?

The problem comes when we as parents instil our fears of particular animals onto our children instead of gaining knowledge about these creatures and teaching our children about them with our new wisdom. I may have claimed to be an animal lover for many years, but I had not come to respect many of the animals I claimed to have loved. It started with a single tarantula: I was responsible for its care and as such I had to do research to ensure it did not die. The knowledge I gained about tarantulas and spiders in general was life-changing, so much so that I am no longer afraid of spiders, I know which ones to avoid, I know which ones are welcome in my home, and I keep a respectful distance. I teach my daughter to do the same. There is no need to panic whenever a spider wonders into our home: when our children see us panic, they believe there is something to fear when all it is is a personal issue that no one but yourself can overcome.

We need to teach our children about animals and to respect them instead of fear them, and if they are dangerous, our children need to know why and how to be safe.

They Are Important

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Image: By The White House from Washington, DC (P122510PS-0386) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Modern families are not as close-knit as they once were. In households where both parents are around, both mother and father are likely to be working, eking away valuable time spent with children and also sometimes filling all interactions with stress-related issues. Single parents in particular struggle to spend enough time with their children, as they are not only singularly responsible for keeping the household afloat but also responsible for all other care. In South Africa, for example, nearly half of all children are being raised by single mothers. Some parents suffer from mental health issues, including personality disorders, stress- and trauma-related issues, and depression, limiting their ability to empathise with and be available for their children.

These concerns, among others, are contributing to what some are calling the neglected generation: parents' growing inability to spend time with and connect with their children emotionally is leading to a generation of children who feel neglect, which affects all their future relationships, their behaviour, and can contribute to self-destructive habits. An increase in emotional neglect could be behind the prevalence of self-harm among teens around the world - several studies found that as many as 18% of teens engage in non-suicidal self-harm in order to regulate their emotions, while it could also be behind the increase in drug and alcohol abuse among children and teens. A study in 2010 (eight years ago!) found that by the age of 18, over 60% of teenagers overindulged in alcohol, 30% had drunk alcohol while at school or at work, 50% of teens in Grade 11 had used alcohol in the last year of the study, and the average age of experimentation had decreased to only 12 years of age - and it's decreasing further.

I think what I'm trying to say here is that as a parent you really need to make an effort in our modern society to be present, physically and emotionally and mentally, for your child. I know it's easier said than done, but your child will notice your efforts, no matter how small, and appreciate them. These actions are as simple as listening to your child with undivided attention, ensuring that your spouse is pulling their weight and contributing emotionally, apologising when you hurt your child's feelings, having realistic expectations for your child, and complimenting them. Involve them in family decisions, show you value their opinions and ideas by involving them in your conversations, remind them often that you love them, and if you can't be there all the time make sure they know the reason and cannot assume that it's because you don't want to be with them.

The Value of Solitude

child-alone-forest
Image: By Lauurenau (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Humans are social creatures - this is something we hear all through our lives. It is the factoid used when our friends try to bribe us to attend parties with them, or when we are ridiculed for simply wishing to stay at home and watch a movie or read a book instead of visit a friend. It is the factoid we are offered as parents when our child likes to stay at home instead of play with friends. Socialisation is such a concern in the developmental stages of a child's life, because children need to know what the proper behaviour is in particular situations. As such, it is an important aspect of your child's personality.

However, I'd like to argue that socialisation should be balanced with a healthy dose of solitude. We need to teach children the value of being alone with themselves (just take a look at how much teaching meditation can positively affect a child: here and here) and how to keep themselves busy. Children need to know the difference between loneliness and being alone, empowering them to take positive advantage of their solitude, moments in which they can nurture themselves, their emotions, their imaginations and creativity, and their ability to self-reflect - to come up with their goals, realise their desires and find themselves, so they can positively reach out to others.

Their Bodies Belong to Them = Consent

child-drawing
Image: CC BY-SA 2.5, Link
The concept of consent and body safety is so important in our modern world: the facts are frightening.

VictimsofCrime.org states that one in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of sexual abuse. Over 90% of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know. Half of sexually abused children under six and 23% of teens 12 to 17 years of age were abused by a family member. Most sexual assault towards a minor takes place between the ages of three and eight. As many as 40% of children sexually abused are abused by older, stronger children. Even scarier: one in three adults will not believe a child when they report sexual abuse. How is that even possible!?

I believe a large part of this problem is the fact that parents are loathe to speak to their children about sex, and also neglect to enforce their children's own ability to decide who gets to touch their bodies. We all know those stories of being forced or even forcing our children to hug a family member or kiss them or even sit on their laps. This is the start of instilling a fear in our children of telling us - their parents - that they don't want to be touched. If we cannot even recognise the fear, or disgust, or dislike on our children's faces when they don't want to kiss someone, why would they think we wouldn't mind if an uncle touches them inappropriately. How would they know what would constitute appropriate touching? Teaching your children the importance of their bodily autonomy (including their right to say no to anyone, adults included, if they're uncomfortable), and teaching yourself to allow them that autonomy, is so important. It is also crucial that when your child tells you something, you believe them: remember that 98% of reported child abuse allegations turn out to be true!


Do you agree with my list? I'd love to know - please discuss in the comments!

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December 3, 2018

Movies || My Favourite Robin Williams Films

robin-williams-films
It's been 25 years since 'Mrs Doubtfire' was released, an important film for children of divorce with a heart of gold. To celebrate, I've compiled a list of my favourite films starring the iconic Robin Williams, who just happens to be one of my favourite actors.

He always seemed to bring a humanity to the films he took on, aside from his true talent as a happiness machine. Throughout his life, he was known as a person to go out of his way for people he cared about and for complete strangers. For some reason, this quality seemed to carry over to both his comedies and even his more serious roles, most of which never leave you after you've seen the film. And every role he approached, he managed to take on and instil with a wide-eyed wonder for the world.

Here is a list of my favourite Robin Williams films.

poster-of-hook-movie
  1.  'Hook' (1991)

This isn't just a favourite Robin Williams film in general, but one of my favourite films of all time. Williams' character turns out to be Peter Pan, who fell in love with Wendy's granddaughter and decided to stay in our world. Captain Hook returns and kidnaps Peter's children and he is forced to return to Neverland to rescue them, but he has no clue how to relate to the Lost Boys any more. Paradoxically he needs to learn how to have fun before he can save his children, and through his journey he comes to see what is really important in life - his family.

'Hook' is really an allegory for how we should always see the lighter side of life and never lose track of what is most important to us.

{Poster credit: By Source, Fair use, Link}

one-hour-photo-poster
2. 'One Hour Photo' (2002)

This film was the first in which I remember enjoying Williams' 'darker' acting talents, although he played a murderer in 'Insomnia' earlier in 2002. He plays a photo developer in a local supermarket. He is a very lonely man and the friendliness of one family, who develops all their photos with him, makes him feel as though he is a part of them. However, he begins to cross the boundaries of their relationship, attempting to fit himself in where he feels he belongs despite that he is only another face behind a shop counter. In this psychological movie, Williams has perfectly portrayed a lonely, hopeful and yet damaged individual who is desperate to belong.

When I watch this film I feel sad for him and all the lonely people in the world, and shame at myself for not looking further at the people who ring up my groceries or put stamps on my postcards. It has inspired me to be kind and friendly to these people who are never really 'seen'.

{Poster credit: By Source, Fair use, Link}

jumanji-poster
3. 'Jumanji' (1995)

'Jumanji' is on my list because it's just such a fun film. Alan finds a mysterious magical board game that sends sucks him in for decades and the game has to be finished by two children who discover the game at their new house and the original players for all its effects to be reversed. The special effects were amazing for the time of its release and I watched it the other day and they were still amazing (I suppose they still made sets back then...). As a boy, Alan is that same beleaguered child we all feel like when we don't seem to belong anywhere: he is bullied and feels like a disappointment to his father, and also has no friends. His discovery of the board game forced him to survive in a world much harsher than his own and become a man, in the process allowing him to learn from his mistakes and make up for his regrets in a way most of us can not.

The film is also at its core about being brave and taking responsibility for the things we have done and the things we have started, which includes apologising.

{Poster credit: By Source, Fair use, Link)

poster-mrs-doubtfire
4. Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

In this film, Robin Williams plays an actor who struggles to be there for his family. His wife divorces him and he is barely allowed to see his children. He concocts a scheme where he pretends to be an elderly Scottish woman named Mrs Doubtfire to be the cleaner and nanny for the children. This film has a special place in my heart. I think it's because Robin Williams and my father looked very much alike and I couldn't help but picture what life would be like without him.

'Mrs Doubtfire' is very much like 'Hook' in urging us to value what is important in our lives, and also to communicate with our loved ones and face our problems instead of pushing them aside. it also normalised and explained divorce to an entire generation of children.

{Poster credit: By POV - movieposterdb.com, Link}

poster-the-fisher-king
5. The Fisher King (1991)

An arrogant radio jockey is brought down to earth when comments he makes on-air result in a mass murder at a restaurant. He struggles with depression after that, becoming drunk one night and set upon by a gang. However, a homeless man rescues him. He learns that this man suffers from a mental illness that is a result of witnessing his wife's death at the mass killing and decides to try help him in his quest for the Holy Grail. Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams are both brilliant in this film and it's an excellent production.

This film was almost unique at the time for representing mental illness, something Williams suffered from for much of his life. Both of the main characters were afflicted with depressive states, and the film is about how those around people suffering from such mental illnesses sometimes simply need to acknowledge their suffering and not try to solve it.

{Poster credit: By Source, Fair use, Link}

poster-the-final-cut
6. The Final Cut (2004)

This is one of Williams' less well-known films (I'd never heard of it until this year!) but certainly one that leaves a lasting effect on you. This science-fiction film is set in a world where implants record memories, and Williams' character is responsible for editing these memories to make pleasing visual eulogies, sometimes for very unsavoury characters. He is haunted by a memory from his youth when he seemed to have killed another boy accidentally. As a cutter, he is not allowed to have an implant, but discovers he does indeed have one. As he rushes to attempt to review this memory to see if he remembers it correctly, anti-implant protestors are attempting to kill him for his implant, as one of his cutting jobs could reveal important information about one of his jobs to them in their fight.

Memory has become quite a sticking point for me lately, as I struggle to remember parts of my childhood and seem to have forgotten much. The film makes us question what makes a memory and how much we alter it every time we access it depending on our state of mind and heart at the time. It also makes us think about how little we really know about people: our experiences of them are truly already edited so we only see their best.

{Poster credit: By Source, Fair use, Link}

poster-aladdin
7. Aladdin (1992)

Williams' voice work for this film has to land up on my list. 'Aladdin' is one of my favourite Disney films, not least because of the Genie. There truly is no other character like the Genie in any animated film, not least because he was practically based on Williams' comedy sketches: an animation of the Genie based on one of Williams' skits was what inspired the actor to sign on. It is interesting also that Williams being a part of the animation started the move from trained voice actors to celebrity film actors being used in animated films. And if you've ever wondered why Williams didn't voice the Genie in the follow-up film, 'The Return of Jafar', it was because Disney and Williams agreed that the Genie character would not be used to sell anything, an agreement Disney reneged upon, resulting in Williams refusing to voice the Genie again.

{Poster credit: By Source, Fair use, Link}

Robin Williams made over 70 films in his long career, as well as spending much time on television, and this list is in no way a complete representation of his films - these are merely my favourites. :)

What Robin Williams' films make your cut? Let me know in the comment section below!

Further reading:

These Gorgeous Pictures Capture Robin Williams in All His Funny, Heartbreaking Glory
Best Films Depicting Mental Illness
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November 25, 2018

Children's Theatre Review || Beauty and the Beast Jr at Peoples Theatre

beauty-and-the-beast-jr
Facebook/PeoplesTheatre
I always enjoy the children's theatre shows at Peoples Theatre, but there is just something special about Beauty and the Beast Jr this run that is simply magical. Perhaps I am a bit biased as the film is one of my favourite animations, but it is really an amazing production.

Beauty and the Beast Jr stars the likes of Masego Mothibakgomo as Belle, Jonathan Blaine Shore as Beast, Alida Senekal as Mrs Potts, Travis Hornsby as Gaston, Luciano Zuppa as Maurice (and Cogsworth), Kutlwano Marvin Molepa as Lumiere, Ayanda Sibisi as Madame de la Grande Bouche (or the wardrobe), and an array of delightful newcomers who fill their support roles with enthusiasm.

As a musical, the performances are very professional. A few new songs are featured, along with many of the original songs from the film, including the much-maligned 'Human Again', which was actually removed from the final film but in this iteration seemed to fit into the story a bit better than in the original. I think it's because the story also has aspects from Disney's live action version of 2017 in terms of the characters expressing how they are losing their humanity more every day.

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Masego Mothibakgomo as Belle, Jonathan Blaine Shore as Beast
Facebook/PeoplesTheatre
Mothibakgomo is afforded the opportunity of showing off her superior vocal talent with a special solo number that sprinkles some hope into her dire situation as a prisoner of the Beast. It is a very touching song about how, though she is captive in body, she is free in spirit.

Shore's Beast is quite scary at the beginning and he does an excellent job of emulating a creature that feels lost and strikes out because of fear of loss and rejection. His Beast is an excellent amalgam of the angry Beast of the original animation and the self-aware Beast of the 2017 film, creating a character that is easily sympathised with.

I have to admit, though, that Hornsby's Gaston is my favourite character from the show. While he mostly stays true to the animation, Hornsby's delivery is brilliant and Gaston is really a clueless brute with some of the funniest additional lines. Hornsby also gets to show off his physical prowess with some of the most active scenes.

Molepa's French accent was better than Ewan McGregor's in the live action film, I have to say...

As usual, the set was stunning. Drop-down curtains and projected images juxtaposed very detailed backgrounds, which spin around to provide the different areas of the story. I especially enjoyed the introductory sequence when the Enchantress curses the Prince, and the wolves, both as they crept up on Belle's father and as Beast fought them to save her life.

beauty-and-the-beast-rose
Facebook/PeoplesTheatre
The show also focuses a lot on how the love of reading can create common ground between people. It is through books that Belle and Beast truly begin to connect and though I don't believe Beast would not have been able to read (read more in another blog post here), her sharing her favourite stories is almost like sharing her dreams with Beast, and their dreams finally become the same. The directors of the show, Jill Gerard and Keith Smith, indicated their wish to nurture a love of reading in the children who see the play, which is certainly brought forth both through seeing the characters share their enjoyment of books and in teaching the eternal message of the Beauty and the Beast story, which is, indeed, to not judge a book by its cover.

Needless to say, this is a production you certainly don't want to miss for the end of the year season! It's funny and fun and you will almost certainly find yourself singing along (because I know you know the words...)

Be sure to catch the show before 24 December. Tickets through the theatre box office at 011 403 1563/2340 of info@peoplestheatre.co.za are only R130 per person (unless you're a member, where they'll cost R90 for the member and R115 for the member's guardian). Book and pay on the day! Or you can book through Webtickets.

'Seussical Jr' is the theatre's show for March and April, and in June and July 'Madagascar Jr' is in South Africa for the first time!
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November 16, 2018

DIY || Yarn-Wrapped Hexagonal Shelf


I love hexagonal decor, like the mirrors I used in our shower. I wanted to make a shelf myself after I saw one made out of popsicle sticks. While I couldn't find plain old popsicle sticks in the correct size, since I wanted them to match the mirrors, I had a bunch of skewers that I used instead. and then to make the completed shelf more attractive, I wrapped it in yarn the same colour as the focal tone of our shower. Here is my tutorial if you'd like to emulate the shelf.

What You'll Need:


A template (I used one of the mirrors from our shower)
Skewers
Craft Glue
Yarn







How to do it:


Use your template to figure out where to glue your skewers together. 


I glued the skewers with the points alternating direction so they would be able to fit together later, as below.


Once the skewers are glued together and dried, I used the mirror again to place them and retain the hexagonal shape.


Leave it to dry, ensuring it retains the shape you require.


Wrap your yarn around the shelf to cover the skewers.


Over the corners, continue to wrap as much as required to hide the skewers. It actually gives the corners an interesting effect.

When you're hanging the shelf, use long nails that will support the weight of the shelf. To be honest, the shelf works better for lighter items, as it is too flexible for heavy items.

I'd love to see your project!
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October 19, 2018

Movies || Walt Disney: Moments Explained by Real Life

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As a child, you are completely unaware of nuances and details that inform the film you are watching. While many films nowadays still pander to the adult audience with below-the-belt jokes and references that supposedly go over children's heads, I don't think Walt Disney films do just that: they are sometimes very much based in reality and when, as an adult watching the film you wonder why certain things happen, it's enlightening to learn about the fact that inspired it.

Here are 10 moments from Disney films that may have left you wondering that can easily be explained by real life:

via GIPHY
1. Why is Dumbo's mom the last to receive her baby from the Stork? Well, isn't it obvious? It's because elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals! Elephants gestate for 95 weeks in comparison to humans' gestation period of only 40. Of course she would have to wait longer - the baby is still in her belly.


via GIPHY
2. Why did Ariel not just write a letter to Eric explaining what's happened? She could write, right? Ariel is supposed to be, like, 16 in The Little Mermaid. Not really an age where she could be expected to be entirely logical. I mean, after all, she didn't hear Ursula's asides about tricking her, believed she was offering the spell as a kindness, signed away her voice and life in the sea to marry a man she only saw once and never actually spoke to... There is an idea that she could only write her name because of the setting in the 1890s, but literacy levels were actually very high in Europe, especially north-west Europe, at that time, obviously even in the depths of the ocean because Ursula's contract is written. However, it is possible that Ursula would have considered writing a type of 'speech' and thus removed Ariel's ability to do so. It was the deal in the end, that she make Prince Eric fall in love with her without her 'voice'.


via GIPHY
3. Why were the seven dwarfs mining for gems at all, if they, as they say in the song, didn't know what they were going to with them? One idea is that since the land belonged to the Queen, as a result of 1500s feudalism, the gems actually belong to the Crown, too. It's possible that the dwarfs were effectively poaching them, or simply mining them for someone else, since they never take any home with them.


via GIPHY
4. Why did Cruella de Vil need puppies for her fur coat, and why 101 of them? Well, dalmation puppy fur is softer than an adult dalmation's fur, which is coarser. And 101 puppies would have given Cruella a reversible coat (i.e. with fur inside and out), a lined coat (i.e. fur only on the outside), and maybe some accessories, like a muff.


via GIPHY
5. Why would Simba and Nala turn their noses up at being betrothed to each other (Well, aside from being too young to think about that kind of stuff)? They're technically related, most likely cousins. A pride of lions is only ever ruled by a single male, with a couple of young males hanging around until they're of age. The male lion has a harem, technically, and all the cubs in the pride are his. So when another lion decides to try his luck as leader of the pride and wins, he will actually kill the cubs that are not his. Scar would have been in his right to kill Simba.


via GIPHY
6. Why did no one miss the Prince in Beauty and the Beast? This could easily be explained by the difference between title and rank in France. The title of 'prince' was given to anyone who owned a principality and known as a family tradition. and often given to the eldest sons of more important duke-peers. It should not be confused with the ranking, which would only apply to those who have a direct descendency to the kings. So Belle may in fact not be a 'princess' at all!


via GIPHY
7. Why did the Chinese army wish to enlist Mulan's father, Fa Zhou, who was obviously too injured to be an effective soldier? Fa Zhou seems to be somewhat of a celebrity within the army, as Li Shang asks, 'The Fa Zhou?' with awe. It is unlikely that they would have recruited him as a soldier and possibly would have given him a leadership role. Perhaps, General Li would have given Fa Zhou the general position instead of to his relatively inexperienced son if Fa Zhou had not sent his moronic son instead.


via GIPHY
8. Why can Quasimodo understand what Esmerelda and everyone else is saying to him, since ringing the bells of Notre Dame would have made him deaf? Well, my best guess is that he can lip-read. He can keep a tune pretty well, too...


via GIPHY
9. Why was Jafar so eager to overthrow the Sultan, aside from wanting the most power? Based on the history of the Ottoman Empire, it was likely that the Grand Vizier, along with lower viziers and other advisors, would throw out a Sultan that was a threat to the state. The Sultan was pretty incompetent, so Jafar is sort of in his rights to attempt to oust him.


via GIPHY
10. Why did Sabor kill both Tarzan's parents? And why did she live for so long? For the first question, perhaps Tarzan's parents decided to build their treehouse in one of her favourite haunts. Leopards also eat monkeys and small primates, so the humans were simply larger versions. There is a possibility that she was a man-eater, but this is unlikely since the island appeared largely uninhabited by other humans. As for the second question, the answer is based on details in the source material: Sabor was actually the word for all female lionesses, so Disney just used the same name for the leopard.

Do you have any questions about Disney films that may be answered by reality? Please share them in the comments!

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May 23, 2018

Just Read || Artworks in Jeffrey Archer's False Impression

After reading Jeffrey Archer's False Impression, I was eager to search for images of the paintings Archer mentioned in it, since I had not recognised some of them. Imagine my surprise (and then my "Well, duh" moment) when I discovered that many of the paintings mentioned did not exist and were part of his artistic licence. Obviously he would invent artworks to go along with his imagined world and people.

The events take place during and after the chaos of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the setting makes an ideal situation for a sneak attack by lead character Anna Petrescu. Anna works for Bryce Fenston, a man with an assumed identity, a love for Impressionist masterpieces, and a lack of sympathy that allows him and his bank to take over rich estates (who happen to have impressive and valuable art collections). Petrescu fails to work with Fenston's plan to swindle the Wentworth Estate out of its collection and just after she is booted out of the company - the sole person with the knowledge of what Fenston is planning to do with the Wentworth Van Gogh - the first plane flies into the WTC, where the bank's offices are located.

Petrescu manages to escape relatively unscathed and while everyone thinks she is dead manages to come up with a convoluted plan to allow the Wentworth Estate to sell the Van Gogh to cover the debt owed to Fenston Finance. What follows is a rush of an adventure as Petrescu travels into Canada, Romania, Japan, and Britain to rescue the Wentworth Van Gogh from the slimy paws of Fenston. Of course, she does have to dodge a hired assassin and an FBI agent who has been following her for months. But that's an easy task for a woman of Petrescu's talents.

This is the first Archer novel that I've read and once I made it through the introductory exposition, I could hardly put it down, mostly because I wanted to find out if my ideas about the twists would follow through. Which they did, a little disappointingly.

I enjoyed the art references, though, especially since Impressionism is one of my favourite fine art styles. I recognised the artists mentioned, but not the paintings, as I've said before. It turns out after some (I lie - a lot) of Googling, many of the artworks are simply made up or altered titles of original artworks by the artists concerned.

For your viewing pleasure, below is a list of artworks referenced in the novel that do exist, and below that, artworks I think may have served the basis for the names Archer references in the novel.

True Artworks:

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Van Gogh [21]

self-portrait-with-bandaged-ear-van-gogh
{Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear by Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

Geishas in a Landscape [28]

screenshot-geishas-in-a-landscape

Black Marilyn, Andy Warhol [41]



Study of a Mourning Woman, Michelangelo [52]

michelangelo-study-of-mourning-woman
{By Michelangelo Buonarroti (Getty Museum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

This piece was auctioned in 2001 for a final bid of 6 million British pounds.

Guernica, Picasso [192]

picasso-guernica-city-hall
{By Moleskine - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons}

The Polish Rider, 'Rembrandt' [276]

rembrandt-polish-rider
{By Rembrandt - The Frick Collection, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Titus, the Artist's Son, 'Rembrandt' [277]

titus-the-artists-son-rembrandt
{Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

Sunflowers, 'Van Gogh' [277]

van-gogh-sunflowers
{By Vincent van Gogh - Digital photo by User:Postdlf, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Vincent van Gogh did many paintings of sunflowers. See the works here.

The Madonna of the Pinks, Raphael [278]

raphael-madonna-of-the-pinks
{By Raphael - eostour.co.kr, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

The Scream [361]

edvard-munch-the-scream
{Edvard Munch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

Fictional Artworks (with possible inspirations)

Sunset over Plymouth, Turner [20]

RMW-turner
{By J. M. W. Turner - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by RHaworth using CommonsHelper. (Original text). 3 March 2009 (original upload date). Original uploader was Dino at en.wikipedia, Public Domain, }

Dancing Class With Mme Minette, Degas [28]

Degas-the-dance-class
{The Dance Class By Edgar Degas - http://www.allartpainting.com/dance-class-p-3307.html, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Shot Red Marilyn, Andy Warhol [41]


Rothko [92]

In reference to Mark Rothko, an abstract expressionist.

mark-rothko-no-61
{No 61 By Mark Rothko, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Fair use, Wikimedia Commons}

Willows at Vetheuil, Monet [245]

water-lily-pond-weeping-willow-monet
{Water-Lily Pond and Weeping Willow By Claude Monet - flickr, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}
However, when it was described in the novel, I actually pictured this one:

water-lilies-japanese-bridge-monet
{Water Lilies and the Japanese bridge By Claude Monet - the-athenaeum.org [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Madame Duprez and her Children aka The Reading Lesson, Renoir [246]

charpentier-children-renoir
{Mme. Charpentier and her children By Pierre-Auguste Renoir - http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/438815, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Dinner at the Cafe Guerbois, Manet [246]


cafe-concert-manet
{The Cafe Concert By Édouard Manet - GgEZL0iu5Gl9FA at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

The Beresteyn Family, 'Rembrandt' [277]


rembrandt-member-of-van-berestuyn-family
{Portrait of a Man, probably a Member of the Van Beresteyn Family By Rembrandt - Metropolitan Museum of Art, online collection, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Satan Devouring His Children, 'Goya' [277]

{Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco de Goya - [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Rosetti mistress Jane Burden [345]


View from the Bedroom, Matisse [376]

matisse-landscape-viewed-from-window
{Landscape viewed from a window, Tangiers By Henri Matisse PD-US, Wikimedia Commons}

The Dancing Instructor, Degas [376]

{Dance Exam By Edgar Degas - repro from art book, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Street Sweepers, Caillebotte [376-7]

parquet-repairs-caillebotte
{Les raboteurs de parquet By Gustave Caillebotte - ibiblio.org, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Reapers in th Field, Van Gogh [377]

wheat-field-reaper-van-gogh
{Wheat Field behind Saint-Paul with Reaper By Vincent van Gogh - repro from artbook, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

The Marriage at Cana, Caravaggio [399]

The below painting is by Paolo Veronese, but Caravaggio was a contemporary and possible competitor, so it is plausible that this might have been a subject he was interested in, too.

wedding-cana-paolo-veronese
{The Wedding at Cana By Paolo Veronese, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

Perseus and Andromeda, Tintoretto [400]

Tintoretto never attempted this subject, but he lived around the same time as Titian, and his version may have been similar.

perseus-andromeda-titian
{Perseus and Andromeda By Titian, Wallace Collection., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons}

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I hope you enjoyed this journey into the art world with me! Have you read Jeffrey Archer's novel? Which of the paintings above are your favourite? I'd love to hear your opinion in the comments below!
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