A crazy monk…

The monk in this fragment of painting – a triptic I did as my final project when I was studying at the University of Sherbrooke, to obtain my Certificat en arts visuels – is the portrait of a wandering monk from my native country, Romania… A monk who was a bit “mentally handicaped” (in the politically correct formula, so full of shaite! ) (That was a presumably Scotish pronounciation for a very well known “s” word) A monk who earn the little food or clothes he needed by decently begging for it or doing small easy odd jobs. People respected him as almost a  saint for how many of us would have had the courage to rely on our fellow humans generosity to live? He slept probably in a small “schit” (a very small monastery) and came every Sunday for the religious service at the Saliste church around which he gravitated… I took a photo of him there, in the 90 ties and used that photo to make this portrait…

For me, he was a hero, a true believer. A bit like the buddhist wandering monks… An acceptance of the world as it is. A confidence that He Who Is In Heaven will take care of him also (as He does for the little sparrows…) A humility full of dignity, something which was true and real. Not the humility of the Tartuffe-like television preachers… I even felt that maybe, someday, when I will muster the courage, I could have his attitude: accept everything, ask for very little, believe in something greater than myself… Maybe some of the old masters, like Pieter Bruegel or Rembrandt, had that, in the painting field, at the end of their lives…

crazy monk


13 responses to “A crazy monk…

  1. 100swallows

    I didn’t know those wandering monks still existed in your time or out of Russia. I’d read about them in Russian novels. He must have been the last of his kind! I wish you would decide on a language and write your memoirs, Danu.
    Did he go around in that uniform?

  2. They exist, G! They are even more numerous today than when I was young (after 1990 there was a revival of religion in all its forms in Romania)… No, it’s not the last of his kind… He could be still alive, this one… With no stress, scarce food and lots of walking, they live usually a long life…

    I wish also to be able to choose a language to write that novel I plan for a long time (only the title is kind of definite: Avatars – in French) But neither my French nor my English are good enough and my Romanian also begin to deteriorate… We’ll see…

    And yes, that’s the monk habit. there are a lot of them, wandering everywhere to gather money for their monasteries. Or to built new ones, etc. Some of those monasteries are very old and quite interesting…

  3. Draga Danu,

    Ar trebui sa fii mai exact atunci cand vorbesti despre calugari din Romania. Ei sunt de doua categorii. Cei care au renuntat la lume de dragul vietii confortabile pe care, traiul manastiresc il ofera celor privilegiati si cei care au renuntat la lume din nevoia de a il sluji pe Dumnezeu.

    Pe cei dintai, nu vreau sa+i judec, acum si aici, vreau doar sa spun ca adevartii calugari, exista si ante+comentatorul meu a surprins foarte bine ca pamantul Rusiei si al Romanei este locul in care ei pot sa fie intalniti.

    Stii exista undeva in Valcea un loc numit Frasinei.
    Acolo, calugarii leviteaza în rugaciune, se fac minuni, asa ca in cartile de povesti.

    Se spune ca si muntii sunt lacas de rugaciune pentru calugarii si calugaritele care au ales sa traisca in pesteri si care prin post si rugaciune reusesc sa invinga foamea, frigul, fiarele salbatice.

    Acum, revenind la pictura ta, te rog sa+mi raspunzi la o intrebare. Ce este obiectul albastru, pe care il tine in mana calugarul.


  4. Danu,
    Acum imi dau seama. Nu are nimic in mana. Este centura de castitate. Ce surprinyator ca ai ales sa o faci albastra, adica de culoarea cerului.


  5. 100swallows

    I always try to translate what visalon says. I’ll end up learning Romanian. By now you anyway have me curious to see your country.
    Maybe you should just go ahead and write your book in a mix of languages, just as you do here, Danu. That has a very original charm.

  6. Romania is an interesting country – nont only because I was born there (there are some other Romanian a lot more famous: Brancusi, the sculptor; Eugene Ionesco, the playwriter, Mircea Eliade, the history of religion writer and scientist, or Emile Cioran, one of France’s finest “penseurs” and stylists – in French!) Like le Québec, it’s a latin isle, surviving in an often very hostile environment, of non-latin peoples. His landscapes are also very varied and picturesque…

    But I have my reasons to prefer Canada…

  7. draga Carmen, nu mai stiu cum am ales culoarea centurii – probabil ca se potrivea mai bine armoniei de ansamblu. Daca are o semnificatzie simbolica, cu atat mai bine…

    Am fost o vreme destul de prins – familie si, in plus, un ordinator portabil pentru care voi plati rate urmatorii 3 ani… Dar poate mor inainte si-i fentez! (glumesc). sper ca esti bine. Mai vb.

  8. carmen.visalon

    Dear 100 swallows,

    Romania is a strange country. We live between the past and the future, in a present which doesn’t belong to us. We can say that our life is a ktich, but we can also say that it is a way to rediscover our inner.
    Of course, there are a lot of places which can be discover here, and Danu could be your guide:)

    Because I work for a tourism agency, a have written something about Romania:

    We invite you to discover Romania- the newest nation in UE-, our amazing and truly friendly country, generously blessed by nature, from it’s sunny Black Sea beaches to the stunning Carpathian Mountains, a perfect destination for tourists who are looking for impressive scenery, majestic castles, medieval towns, old European traditions, fabulous food, great hiking, wildlife, and winter sports because , here the different forms of relief and cultures harmonize to perfection, making up a whole of great beauty.

    April , May and June, followed by September up to November, are the best months to visit medieval painted monasteries in southern Bucovina, old towns from Transylvania and, of course, our young-and-old-fancy& stylish capital-Bucharest, and enjoy them minus the tourist hordes. Spring and autumn are also the best times for bird watching in the Danube Delta. The resorts along the Black Sea coast: Mamaia, Neptun-Olimp, Eforie Nord start filling up in June In winter Romanian tourism is centered on the ski resorts like Poiana Brasov, Sinaia, Busteni, Predeal, Bran-Moeciu and so on.

    The Delta of the Danube is one of the few places that meet the requirements of those travelers who want to profit from moments of peace and quiet during their vacation. Unique landscape can be admired: long picturesque stretches shaded by luxuriant plants; water lilies and endless areas of reed; willow, poplar and alder groves; flocks of swans, pelicans and wild ducks and geese; creepers and venerable oaks that make these places look like a real jungle.
    In this world where water is almost the sole ruler, the only means of transportation is by boat and the main occupation is of course fishing. What other experience could be more stimulating than sailing in a boat and then having a fisherman’s dinner.

    Fabulous place, Romanian winter resorts all well known for their fairy landscapes, great ski schools and great prices. Suspect you will come back after first visit. Up to that moment, I can only say that they are beautiful and untouched, generally the snow is very good, the ski instructors and the overall atmosphere are excellent.

    This year you have a special reason to come in Romania, because Sibiu, was designed following the vote of the European Union Ministries of Culture Council, to be the European Capital of Culture in 2007, together with Luxemburg.
    We invite you to stroll along the streets and into the squares of the Historic Centre, with its Gothic arcades, renaissance houses and elegant baroque churches as well as art nouveau buildings, meet artists and their creative products, taste our cuisine and wines or visit Astra Museum that preserve beautiful art collections.

    Bucharest, the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Romania is another place where you must came in order to find a good opportunity to start a new business or just to enjoy the day and night life. The city has a number of landmarks that are identified with it throughout the world. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the Palace of the Parliament, which was built in the 1980s. Other highlights are:Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the open-air Village Museum, Herăstrău Park, Art Museum. There are a number of cultural festivals in Bucharest throughout the year. One of the most important is George Enescu Classical Music Festival.

    If you want to discover all these special things and places, to hunt bears, lynx and wolves, Danu can assist you.

    se pare ca va trebui sa ne apucam de treaba. Tu trebuie cu mintea ta de ardelean organizat sa scrii romanul si eu voi chibita ca sa dau culoare unor capite. Ce zici?


  9. Sa ne ajute Cel de Sus, asta zic… Pentru moment (poate sa vede ca n-am mai prea facut mare lucru) sunt intr-o faza de down… din care voi iesi mai devreme sau mai tarziu… Numai bine, oricum.

  10. danu,
    Toti suntem in faze de down. asa ca este timpul sa te pui pe treaba. nu de altceva dar stii cum este: munca nu l-a creat pe om dar nici nu l-a distrus.

  11. M-am pus… lucrez la prelucrea in culori a unei noi serii de nuduri – ce altceva mai frumoas si mai invigorant pentru un vieux artiste ca mine? sper ca esti din ce in ce mai bine…

  12. ovidiu stanomir

    un calugar umil… adica unul adevarat

  13. Cel din pictura, Ovidiu, e inspirat din calugarasul care venea la biserica din Grui, Metziu & comp. trebuie ca-l cunoaste personal… Eu acolo l-am fotografiat…

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