While we spend time fretting about wars, disease, crazy anti-vaxxers, and so on, it's good to think of other things sometimes. One of my pastimes is music, but another is art--not creating it, but finding it.
I love to scour estate sales, flea markets, and the like, usually looking for art, old photos, and manuscripts. I spend a huge amount of time hunting, but buy only when something grabs me--which doesn't happen too often. At an estate sale a few months back, for a few hundred bucks, I picked up this large oil on canvas painting, a still life done in the modern hyper-realist style. I figured the frame alone would be worth what I paid. You can still see the brushwork if you get quite close to it, but it's not apparent from this photo. It's obviously not "antique," but must have been done at some time in the past four decades or so. It's now hanging with pride in my dining room. The artist signature seems to be a pseudonym, but my real question is: what is the fruit placed on? It looks to me like some kind of weatherbeaten stone altar, but I really don't know. What is that large water caltrop-shaped thing in the lower left? It's a real puzzle, and I suppose that's the attraction of the piece: as a hyperrealistic painting, the viewer supposedly should recognize everything depicted, but here, besides some fruits and veggies, there's something that makes you say, "What the hell is that?" I asked the sellers, and they didn't know either. After trying to puzzle it out for several months, I decided to ask the wise folks on SAV for their insights. Meanwhile, it's been knocking the socks off my guests.