July 14th (Le Quatorze Juillet) In celebration of Bastille Day… my painting entitled Homeland, 1994. In the painting the people are riding upon an allied transport truck back to their home village of St. Lo in Normandy. The village was totally destroyed by allied forces during the bombardments of Operation Overlord in the Summer of 1944. Upon entering the village a commanding officer reported, “We liberated the hell out of this place.” The destroyed village is thought to be the setting for Samuel Beckett’s post apocalyptic vision in ‘Waiting for Godot’. In his poem ‘St.Lo’ 1946, Beckett writes of the “old mind ghost-forsaken”. In the painting Homeland, the people are returning excitedly; they are not yet aware of the destruction which has come with their villages liberation. July seems virulent and verdant for democracy. Still we blow things up and celebrate. The chaos and resolution of revolution resound in Jacques-Louis David’s painting, ‘Oath of the Tennis Court’ 1791 (Louvre) which specifically represents the July 14th events leading up to the beginning of democracy in Europe. Eugene Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Storming the Barricades’ also known as ‘Liberty Leading the People’ is a visual metaphor filled with hope and destruction. The painting represents July 28th 1830, when the people rose up to overthrow the Bourbon king. The half nude figure of Liberty is the poster girl for freedom. You may recognize her gesture as the forbearer of the idealized pose in Frederic Bartholdi’s 1886 ‘Statue of Liberty’ (‘Liberty Enlightening the World’) who stands a bit more modestly draped in New York Harbor.