Gift of the Muse
Donum Musa, or Gift of the Muse, is the final piece in the You are Worthy series, and in some ways it’s a self portrait. In the center you see a bunny standing rather suggestively on a patty pan squash holding a piece of it in his hand. Another bunny emerges tentatively from her den, but what’s their story?
It all starts on the top of the border where you can see that one of the lady bunnies is in love and about to do something foolish, like actually talk to her crush. Luckily she has a maid who holds her back. Her crush appears to be obliviously chatting with his buddy.
On the bottom things come full circle. We can now see that the lady bunny is an artist in her medieval workshop full of pigments, shells for mixing paints, water jugs, brush boxes, and even a rabbit skull. She is busily painting her beloved. In fact she is so busy painting him that when he comes calling with a gift for her she ignores him entirely. He appears crestfallen.
Turns out she wanted a muse, not a boyfriend. This is generally how I feel toward matters of the heart. I even wrote a poem about it that you can find in my book 30 Love Letters:
I cannot count how many times I have been prevented from telling you how I feel. There appears to be a universal conspiracy to protect us both from romantic entanglement. I understand now much better than I did. You need a friend and I need a muse. We use love to fuel us in very different ways. You have a hard time processing it unless it is freshly and gently pressed, anointing your heart with its most innocent oils. Love is for me but one ingredient in the creation of my art, like the charred bones used to refine sugar. My heart is a mercenary mistress using any means possible to crank out product. Still, I hope I can be your oil can and that you don’t mind being my gristmill.
I once heard an anecdote about Petrarch that has intrigued me ever since. He was so deeply in love with a lady named Laura that he wrote all his poems about her, but one day she came to visit him. Did he answer the door with joy and live happily ever after? No, he sent her away because he was too busy writing about her. That is what this drawing is about. At least I think it was Petrarch. I can’t find the real anecdote online, so please tell me if you have more information.
And I leave you with a recipe for overstuffed patty pan squash from Alton Brown. Today I am making a virtual art show of all the pieces in the You are Worthy series. I will post that here on my blog next time.