Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 25 March 2016

Rituals and Renoir


Dear You,
I love rituals. (As long as they don't become obsessive).
Sometimes you have to change them - your son has grown-up and stubbornly refuses to run around and collect hidden Easter-eggs in your garden, aggrivated by the fact that you don't have a garden anymore.
Then there are family traditions that the next generation continues (hurray!): the special Biedermeier-Korinthenbrot (currant bread) I baked for Easter is baked by our son in Bavaria now.  

©Brigitta Huegel

Then there are rituals that stop because a person is no longer there. Very hard for the remaining ones. You have to invent something new, otherwise your heart may break. 
And then there are rituals that emerge by chance, or because you moved to another city. 
Since December I have that wonderful cinema-subscription, which I really use a lot. 
Every month on a Sunday at 11 o'clock they show a documentation about a painter. 
Today (Good Friday is an official holiday in Germany) I saw: 
"Exhibition on Screen - Barnes Foundation: Renoir - Revered and Despised." 
Very interesting - the "despised" refers to his late work, where he was obsessed with fat female buttoms (not utterly rare in old men :-). 
That he was all his life an awful convinced misogynist the critics had to tell me. Not that I care much - I look at his paintings, not the man. 
Well - and my new ritual is: 
after such a film documentation I go to the National Gallery (some days later). And look at the paintings they possess. They had one Goya. And they have three Renoirs (one photo from the catalogue you see above). 
And then I look with "different eyes". 



16 comments:

  1. My mum and dad started dating on Easter, so my mum's personal ritual was to make bread doves; entwined the heads of the doves into a loving position, decorated them with blossoms and set them on the table as a center piece for the Easter table. My dad passed away a few days before Easter and, that year my mum made the usual doves but the head of the one dove flopped down while baking in the oven - so she has stopped the ritual ever since. Sorry about this long comment.
    Britta, I wish you a "Buona Pasqua!" Greeting Maria xx

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    1. Maria, this is a wonderful - and sad - story; I would enjoy to read a blog of you!
      And comments can't be long enough (sometimes I fear that my answers are too long - but then I think: THIS is like writing letters, not the post above).
      On Easter Monday I meet my Italian friend Gloria (she was my 'insegnante' before - but we talk German. She lives in Berlin, and we have always a lot of fun). Greetings Britta xx
      So "Buona Pasqua!" to you

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    2. Well: The "Buona Pasqua!" definitely moved in between the lines - I put it before the greetings - but maybe I pressed a wrong key.

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    3. Thank you, Britta :) xx

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  2. My mother was the glue that held her family together. So many of her annual traditions have ended, sadly. Now we say we need half as many mashed potatoes or deviled eggs since my brother is gone, but we still make them because he would have expected them.

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    1. This is the very sense of tradition and rituals - besides being wonderful in the first place: to be remembered for them, and to remember somebody. And often, I think, women are the creators of special family traditions.

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  3. Isn't it odd that we both chose this time to write about traditions? I like your movie/art gallery tradition.

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    1. Yes, I noticed that too, Emma! I see some works of art now in a different way.

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  4. Rituals change as our children grow and leave home, they then usually take the rituals on together with those of their partners too.
    As we are just the two of us this Easter we have very few rituals - some hot cross buns, and a lovely box of chocolate eggs that were given to me as a gift from of all places the John Lewis shop.

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    1. And it is a very good thing, when children continue our rituals - so comforting to know!
      Your Easter rituals sound very nice: and now you have more time and less (eu-)stress to enjoy them!

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  5. Modern family traditions are necessarily elastic and flexible. We mail out pretty things to grandchildren. Our kids are scattered over the continent, so we rely a lot on calls and cards. Have a fun weekend, dear Brigitta.

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    1. Thank you, Geo., and you too: enjoy your week-end! I love getting cards (and even know a few young people who send them - a fine tradition too!)
      I did not stop one ritual: I paint or draw on one egg that will be hung into branches in a vase. That I enjoy too much to give it up!

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  6. Were you referring to Tom Stephenson when you said that about older men and fat, female bottoms Britta !!!!!!! { Sorry Tom }
    Nice that you get to the cinema every Saturday to see the documentaries about artists.... must be very interesting and a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.
    Our traditions really centre around Christmas and birthday's .... not so much Easter. We did more when our children were at home but now we are more like Rosemary ...... nice food and some special things like hot cross buns.
    Hope you and your family are enjoying the Easter break. XXXX

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    1. Dear Jackie, hahaha - hilarious!
      Oh no - I only go once (!) a month to this art documentation - on a Sunday (than husband has to cook). But since I have this suscription (imagine: 12 cinemas with sometimes 5 different films each! - and I can go as often as I want to - which, of course, is more often in dark rainy February than in bright sunshiny July :-) - since I have it I see quite a nice lot of movies. Fun!
      As for Easter: some nice decoration - some good food, and a few good walks (tomorrow to a castle). And one thing I do regularly I'll show in my next post. Enjoy your Easter feast! XXXX

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  7. There are many rituals in my family that involve food. This year I have a pang at the empty spot on the table that was always filled by my mother's Easter Bread. We would eat it in the morning with boiled eggs - so delicious, with a flavour of anise. Of course Mum doesn't bake any more and I hadn't thought of doing it myself. Perhaps next year......

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    1. Oh I feel with you, Pondside - so sad that she can't bake anymore! It might be good to make a little note for next time - I sometimes forget (e.g. to draw Christmas cards in time). And she will be happy when you bring her the Easter bread.

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