The Artist's Concept
Rachel Pollack's illumination of the Five and Six of Pentacles in her book 78 Degrees of Wisdom was the spark that ignited my interest in these two cards. Her multi-faceted descriptions of poverty and generosity inspired me to try to create pictures of these themes that were just as intricate.
Using individuals from three different paintings against a landscape by Van Gogh, I computer-generated a scene of poverty and perceived poverty. The woman in the golden carriage sees a pair of beggars in the woods as she rushes by them. She reaches up to her expensive pearl necklace. Is she instinctively protecting it...or readying herself to toss it to the two?
The ragged old man at the side of the road looks at the carriage bitterly. He assumes that the rich lady is being protective of her wealth. He has been poor all his life and no longer holds any illusions about the generosity of the rich. If he were by himself, he would probably toss the gift back if it was thrown to him. But he has the boy to think about. The boy is oblivious to the woman, and does not even realize that he is "poor." The old man has taken it upon himself to look out for the lad.
Although old man does not have any money, he is mistaken when he thinks he is poor in every sense of the word. He has a companion; he is not alone. The lady, however, has a large carriage that holds only herself. One of the thoughts that may be going through her mind: Would giving her necklace to the beggars gain her some friends? Whatever her decision, she'd better make it quickly, for the carriage is moving on.
Which one of these characters is poor, which one is rich, and which one are YOU?
Poverty and want; feeling trapped by circumstances; inaction due to self-pity; being blind to your true state in life. (No reversed meaning.)
Picture collage from art and sculpture books, combined with imagination and Paint Shop Pro.
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