Saturday, June 2, 2012

Veterum Non Immemor

I  recently spent an afternoon along the banks of the Credit River in Port Credit, ON, scouting potential painting sites. I had gone with a couple of places specifically in mind, but they left me somewhat disappointed. I sat for a while sketching ducks, geese and swans on the river, and prepared to head home. On my way to the station, I was struck by this scene.


"What?", you ask. Well, it's a small building, made of river stone and concrete. (The river is only about 300 meters away.) It's actually built into the side of a hill, the long-ago bank of the river. Behind it, on the top of the ridge, is a cemetary. I think this is a charnel house, the building where bodies were stored through the winter when the ground was frozen too hard to dig. And on the lintel is the inscription, which I did not attempt to render, "Veterum Non Immemor." I think a rough translation might be "the past is not forgotten," or something to that effect. Times like this I wish I'd taken high school Latin; if you can offer a more accurate translation I would appreciate it. I plan to do some research at the adjoining church to see if I can dig up a little history.

This is oil on a 9 x 12 panel. I think one of the things that really grabbed my attention was the strong contrast between the bright blue of the sky and the intense red of the bush, as well as the lost, half-forgotten, overgrown appearance of the structure. In the midst of a bustling village, it was somewhat lonely. I know the composition needs work, but this is one sketch that I really look forward to working up into a larger painting.

1 comment:

  1. On the The Governer General's web site is the "Canadian Heraldic Authority" (The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada). They say it means "Not Unmindful of Old Things".

    http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project.asp?lang=e&ProjectID=835&ShowAll=1

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