painting came to mind. I had seen it at the Princeton
University Art Museum. This is a small museum, but
quite wonderful, tucked away in the heart of the
University's campus. Few beyond the students and
faculty seem to know it is there. The painting was a
tall canvas by, I think, a Russian artist whose name
I didn't recognize and now I don't remember it. It
was red, very red. I wanted to see it again.
Ms Keogh and I decided to stroll about the campus and
town of Princeton for desperately needed exercise,
but I also wanted to again visit that painting and,
this time, take notes. I thought the painting might
just prove inspirational and give me a subject for my
next essay - this essay.
It was a bit of a walk. One has to drive far to get
beyond the last parking meter. Storm clouds scudded
overhead and it was drizzling. It was a refreshing
drizzle, nourishing, stimulating, so we left our
raincoats and umbrellas in the car and chanced a more
The Art Museum is contained in McCormick Hall, which
includes the Art and Archeology department and the
Marquand Library, one of the oldest art libraries in
America. The day of our visit McCormick Hall was
enclosed behind barricades, the lawn littered with
construction debris. The building was being
renovated. At first we saw no hope of entry. It
wasn't until we wandered past the museum's entrance
that we found small signs with arrows pointing the
new, temporary, way in. The signs led us to a side
entrance at the building's far end. We entered the
museum's basement through a fire exit.
I led the way upstairs to where the painting was
supposed to be, but it wasn't there. The guard knew
the painting I described. He explained that the new
curator had moved the painting into storage.
Was the painting Golgotha? What I remember is a
gruesome night scene, dogs lapping at the puddles of
blood that had formed at the base of a crucifix. Why
am I being drawn to this painting? It was the focus
on the dogs that stuck in my mind. There could have
been dogs at Golgotha, and if there were they would
have licked the blood that pooled beneath the
executions. The dogs would not have distinguished
between criminals and the Incarnation. Nor is this
merely transubstantiation, but we are to believe it
was the very blood of God that the dogs digested.
The painting reflected the bleakness I was feeling,
that I am feeling, because of this war. It is
impossible to ignore the war, to not write about it.
Since the war began, I have been having trouble
sleeping. I am ashamed of my country. I fear my
President and his administration and I will never
I am glad we didn't find the painting. We continued
our walk in the gentle rain.