Garland Pose Quotes

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In old prints melancholy is usually portrayed as a woman, disheveled, deranged, surrounded by broken pitchers, leaning casks, torn books. She may be sunk in unpeaceful sleep, heavy limbed, overpowered by her inability to take the world's measure, her compass and book laid aside. She is very frightening, but the person she frightens most is herself. She is her own disease. Miter shows her wearing a large ungainly dress, winged, a garland in her tangled hair. She has a fierce frown and so great is her disarray that she is closed in by emblems of study, duty, and suffering: a bell, an hourglass, a pair of scales, a globe, a compass, a ladder, nails. Sometimes this woman is shown surrounded by encroaching weeds, a conweb undisturbed above her head. Sometimes she gazes out of the window at a full moon for she is moonstruck. And should melancholy strike a man it will because he is suffering from romantic love: he will lean his padded satin arm on a velvet cushion and gaze skywards under the nodding plume of his hat, or he will grasp a thorn or a nettle and indicate that he does not sleep. These men seem to me to be striking a bit of a pose, unlike women, whose melancholy is less picturesque. The women look as if they are in the grip of an affliction too serious to be put into words. The men, on the other hand, appear to have dressed up for the occasion, and are anxious to put a noble face on their suffering. Which shows that nothing much has changed since the sixteenth century at least in that respect.
Anita Brookner (Look at Me)