The man with bare feet

After reading my previous couple of posts, I feel that I have somehow gotten away from the reason I started this blog in the first place. It is supposed to be about me making sense of the world, life, work – all very big themes. It is not supposed to be about me shopping and making a (let’s face it) feeble effort to get fit. Duly chastised, I decided to remedy this by visiting the Andy Warhol exhibition at the local art gallery. Now, I really like art and could spend many an hour in art galleries. In fact, I have done so over the years. However, I know absolutely nothing about art at all. As far as I’m concerned, I either like it or I don’t. I place the blame on my love of art galleries, and also museums, squarely with my mum who regularly took me to them as a child. For the record, she also knows zilch about art but likes to wander around galleries too.

I have very strong recollections of a particular picture in my local art gallery of a large, sixteenth century painting of St Sebastian; an early Christian martyr who is depicted in this image as being shot by arrows. When I spoke to my mum about this, she said she was not surprised as I had quite an obsession with this painting as a small child. Apparently. I used to stand and stare at it for ages. My mum used to drag me off to look at something else, but I would sneak back to it and stare some more. She says it used to unnerve her slightly. I think my mum is being kind. If one of my children did that it would more than unnerve me. As an adult, I can see why I was drawn to this picture. It is quite gruesome. St Sebs skin is incredibly white, which contrasts greatly with the blood-red arrow wounds. There are also a couple of attractive young ladies (if I remember rightly) who are pulling out the arrows and tending to his injuries – ouch! I think this would be a great idea for a horror film: small child obsessed with gruesome paintings, commits various bloody murders in adulthood to emulate great works of art. Thinking about it, this has probably already been done. I also seem to have digressed away from my point – the man with bare feet.

So I’m in the gallery, looking at one of Warhol’s prints, when I notice a smartly dressed man standing beside me looking at the same image. This man is in his 30s and is wearing a suit jacket, chinos and is carrying a man-bag. It is not this that immediately catches my attention though. What does catch my attention is the fact that he has no socks or shoes on. He is walking around the gallery in his bare feet. Now, I can’t concentrate on Warhol’s work anymore. All I can think about is this guy and what the hell he is doing. Did he take his shoes off in a homage to Andy Warhol? Did Warhol himself walk around in bare feet (must do an internet search on this)? When did he take off his shoes and socks? Are they in his man-bag? Surely, he hasn’t walked around the city centre like this? And so my mind went on. My husband asked me later what I thought to the exhibition. ‘I don’t know, I can’t remember anything about it,’ I said. ‘All I can remember is the bare footed man.’ I now have a feeling that everytime Warhol’s name or work is mentioned in the future, I’m just going to see a pair of bare feet. I’m not sure this is how Andy Warhol would have liked to have been remembered, but it seems he will be synonymous with feet to me.


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