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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:20

Video transcript

we're in the compell'd a gallery in Berlin and we're looking at Peter Broyles Netherlandish proverbs which is just wonderfully fun it is and it really suggests that not all that much has changed in the last four or five hundred years it depicts well over a hundred proverbs that is sayings that speak too often in a kind of humorous way the foibles of humanity but it's interesting because it's not a condemnation that there is a sense of almost joining in so let's take a look at some of these images not all these parables have modern English equivalents but some of them do and some of the more obvious ones in the foreground can be seen pretty clearly on the bottom left you see a man who seems to be intent on hitting his head against a brick wall know very well what that feels like and so of course this is the expression hitting your head against a wall that is to do things repeatedly even though you have no chance of success or how about the figure on the lower right who seems to be stretching his arms toward two loaves of bread that he can barely reach in fact he can't quite reach from one to the other and we all know the expression living from paycheck to paycheck that is living from loaf to loaf he can't quite make ends meet right next to him and just below the table you see somebody who's holding his head and rather upset that he spilled his porridge it's useless to cry over spilled milk right and so he's realizing that he can't really scoop it back in his vessel you know these are all things that we do anyway we know they're silly we know that they're fruitless and we do them anyway there is just a real pleasure in moving through this and recognizing visually what is always a kind of auditory saying one of my favorites although I think in one of the silliest is showing the pies or tarts that are being used as roofing materials on the house on the upper left and this is a reference it doesn't really have an equivalent in modern English and it is tiling one's house with pies that is just use one's wealth in vain and anyway the image as a whole creates this almost child book like landscape where we can wander with our eyes and explore and be delighted and in a sense make fun of ourselves you