‘Baroque’ as a place to go to……and a new flash fiction inspired by Botero.


I’ve been thinking about this word recently. It has cropped up a couple of times and has become stuck in my head. Firstly, I discovered the fantastic, (or fanciful, flamboyant, florid and fussy- thank you Mr Thesaurus), Baroque in Hackney blog, and then it appears again at the Botero exhibiton I mentioned yesterday: ‘The Baroque World of Fernando Botero’ at the Glenbow, Calgary.

If the word were a place, I would want to visit it. It is inviting, interesting and myserious. (Belle Epoque has a similar effect on me).

Of course, over the years I have used ‘baroque’ thinking that I knew its meaning; and I probably had a certain grasp of what it meant in the same way that I know roughly what ‘rococo’ means. Now, I begin to see it more clearly. The dictionary helps: it is bold, vigerous and exuberant. The blurb at the exhibition puts it more practically: ‘willing and able to break the rules of classical art.’ There’s no doubt that Botero’s view of the world breaks a few rules. Maybe that is what is so inviting about the word: it’s a bit naughty and goes against the run of things.

I’m less sure of what Baroque music is, but intend to find out.

I’d be interested if anyone else has a word they would like to visit.

And now to my new story. As promised, it is inspired my my trip to Calgary, but neccesarily stems from my visit to the Botero exhibition there. As I mentioned yesterday, I was treated to a virtual private audience with the works on display. How rare to be able to stand/sit in front of a wonderful work of art without a single person intruding on your thoughts. And then to have this for every one of the 80 or so pieces? It was an experience I have never had before. Not good for the museum’s bottom line, but wonderful for my view of Botero’s sculptures’ bottoms. (Couldn’t resist that. It’s amazing what a night’s sleep does for your sense of humour). Enough of this, on with the show….


There were no other visitors in the gallery and yet James felt an overwhelming presence. As he made his way to the centre of the space, he sensed that his progress was observed by the over-sized faces on the canvases.

Mournful eyes peered out from each corner of the room, pained and without hope.

James fixed his gaze on a quartet of musicians; they played a soundless folk song to an unseen dance hall, their eternal rhythm frozen in a melancholic moment.

Sitting on a bench in front of a giant sculpture of a voluptuously naked woman, James began to take notes.

‘I wouldn’t do that Sir, if I were you.’

James stopped writing. The words were low, whispered and resonated with metallic depth. Holding his breath, pen poised above the page in a concrete grip, James turned slowly. He looked into her smooth eyes.

‘Thank you Sir.’

The voice came from over the sculpture’s unashamed rump; a museum guard stepped out and approached.

‘They don’t like it, you see,’ he said.

‘Who doesn’t?’

‘They don’t,’ said the guard, gesturing towards the rest of the gallery.

‘I thought that was taking photos,’ said James.

‘It’s not the gallery,’ whispered the guard, ‘this lot don’t like it. It makes them nervous.

James scanned the wall; motionless agreement surrounded him.

‘I think you’d better leave.’

At the entrance, James looked back. The guard was returning to his place in the corner.

‘Sorry everyone,’ he was saying, ‘it won’t happen again.’

copyright: flyingscribbler 2010.

The Orchestra

Botero's The Orchestra


2 comments on “‘Baroque’ as a place to go to……and a new flash fiction inspired by Botero.

  1. Artswebshow says:

    Baroque is a very curious word for sure.
    I really like the way it sounds.
    This is a great story.
    Nice job

  2. grandma pat says:

    I don’t know much about music, but I know what I like….and what I like is baroque. The definition of baroque music is rather abstruse to layperson, eg, me, but the music itself is not difficult. Names, Pachabel, vivaldi, Telemann, Handel, Bach…& lots more. some pieces really popular even if people don’t know composer. ‘Ombre mai fu’ Handel, v beautiful. ‘Air on a G string,’ Bach… Suggest CD of popular baroque pieces, preferably including some singing by a countertenor,eg, James Bowman. Enjoy.

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