Marie-Anne Carolus-Duran would rather have been sitting in a dark and musty closet ensconced in a nest of her riding instructor’s malodorous paddock boots and picking lint bobbles from her Sunday frock than posing for a portrait with Yéti.

The Maltese preferred the reference to Bigfoot over his given name, Mon-Petit-Chou. It was more menacing than being called someone’s little légume. Mon-Gros-Chou, as suggested by Marie-Anne’s youngest sibling, would not have been an improvement either. A vegetable of any size, cabbage in particular, had no business being used as a term of endearment. He told her so. I heard it, too. Or rather read it from over her hunched shoulders as she deciphered his coded woofs.

The series of short dots and long dashes made it very clear.

Unfortunately for Yéti, though, the girl was interrupted in the middle of decrypting his disdain over wearing a bow before Marie-Anne’s prolific portrait painting papa had executed the finishing touch.

Every time I visit The Legion of Honor Museum, I am drawn to this painting. Every. Single. Time.

Marie-Anne’s voice beckons from the moment I step over the threshold. “Vien me voirs.” Her impatience bounces off tall landscape-clad walls. “Allez. Allez.”  It ricochets off sculptures and skips down portraited hallways. “Vite. Vite.”

My eleventh grade french teacher would be proud of my proficient understanding of the child’s directives while I skate over polished wood floors. “I am hurrying!”

When I finally stand before her petite figure, I pay close attention to her precious little face. I sense a mischievousness that transcends the almost century and a half that separates us. “Dit moi,” I say, stepping nearer. Not only does Marie-Anne tell me what you’ve read here today, she pulls me in so close, I feel like I’m there. Behind the scene.

Have you ever had a painting speak to you?
Please share your experience with us.
Otherwise, be well, and thanks for stopping by today ❤


About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, AWESOME PEOPLE, Essay, HUMOR, VIGNETTE and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to BEHIND THE SCENE – MASTERPIECE TALE No. 1: The Artist’s Daughter

  1. That is a gorgeous painting. The girl’s face is so expressive. I will look for it next time I go to the Legion of Honor. I haven’t been there in years. I just don’t get to SF much anymore. Favorite painting? No. I do love art and have many paintings that move me, but not one favorite. Thanks for a thoughtful post.


  2. One of my favourites in The Legion of Honor So much so, that she’s got her very own post (albeit less analytical than yours)!


  3. Oh, I just loved this! I tease my husband regularly about being “mon petit chouchou.” It is the oddest term of endearment, but I guess we call our loved ones “pumpkin.”


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