In Greek mythology, Silenus was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus.
This herm would have stood on a pillar to bring good luck alongside averting the evil eye. They were often placed to protect a boundary.
This made me think of the role of a parent as being a confusing mix of imparting wisdom but also giving children their own independence to grow, alongside protecting boundaries.
Just before leaving the Fitzwilliam I had a quick peep around the room housing the knight's attire. This served as a great reminder in dealing with adolescents 'Pick Your Battles'.
I understand it is a difficult and confusing time for my son. I also understand that we will come out the other-side and our relationship will be different but hopefully a good one. I need to keep communicating with him, offering my support and showing my love (however difficult that feels sometimes). I am also only going to fight over values that are worth the fuss. Hopefully, I will be able to manage to do it in an adult way but will be kind to myself if that fails at times. After all, I am just human too.
Two-headed herm : Dionysus and Silenus
I felt sad as I usually enjoy the school holidays and having the kids to hang out with, exploring new places together. However, the holidays have literally become a bit of a battle ground trying to think up ways of coaxing him away from his computer shooting games.
I decided to head off to Cambridge for a couple of hours to find solace in the Fitzwilliam. What better way to get over a transitioning teenager than heading off to a place of my choice?
The Fitzwilliam collection owes its foundation to Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion. In 1816, he bequeathed it to the University of Cambridge to further "the Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation". It is celebrating 200 years of being a national treasure this year.
The museum building that houses the collection opened to the public in 1848. It was designed by George Basevi (1794-1845) and was completed after his death by C R Cockerell (1788-1863).
I ventured out of the Fitzwilliam for a stroll around Cambridge. The weather was a mix of bright sunshine and heavily overcast moments, very similar to how I was feeling. However, the beauty of the Cambridge architecture, the river and some space and time to think was a precious treat.
The works that caught my eye were:
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
A favourite was this statue of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, set among the colourful spring flowers in the grounds of Clare College. Confucius was previously displayed as part of the Fitzwilliam Museum's Sculpture Promenade 2009, an outdoor exhibition of contemporary sculpture.
Wu Wei-Shan, President of the Chinese Academy of Sculpture and Director of the Academy of Fine Arts of Nanjing University, gave it to Clare College. He is one of China's most prestigious contemporary sculptors, and was the first Asian artist to be admitted into the Royal Society of British Sculptors. It is a great reminder of the importance and benefit gained from the sharing of ideas and cultures between the East and the West. It inspired me to go home and make a big effort to try sharing ideas with my teenager to see if it helps us understand each other better. Well, I sure it can't do any harm trying... (If only life were that simple!)
To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order;
to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life;
and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
Maternal Affection (1841)
by Edward Hodges Bailey (1788-1867)
I was emotionally guided to focus on these two beautiful sculptures. Both of these works made me think about what a special time childhood is and how important it is to foster positive relationships. I feel lucky that I have had the opportunity to experience the trials and tribulations of parenthood.
This week, my antidote to a 'mum melt down' was a solo (and therefore mostly adult) trip the Fitzwilliam museum and a potter around Cambridge.
Well, it is the Easter holidays and I thought I would arrange a few trips out with my youngest whilst his sisters are revising for A level and GCSE exams. I thought up an outing that I envisaged we would both enjoy and one that I could blog about using the words 'Feathers' or 'Falconry'. It would be some mother and son bonding time. However, things change and children become teenagers and understandably are not so keen to see your vision of a fun day out. I get that. I was a teenager too and I remember how it felt to be dragged out of the house and away from the TV. My son voted with his feet or should I say lack of feet. He had the longest lie in ever so it was too late to head off.
Head of Coco, aged 7 (1908)
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
This was his third and youngest son, Claude.