Friday, December 16, 2016

The Figure Five



Robert Indiana, The Figure Five (detail), 1963, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Fire trucks really are an iconic part of our American towns and cities. Rarely does a week go by that I don't see at least one rushing to the scene of some accident or small fire. Indiana's painting is said to have been based on William Carlos Williams's poem "The Great Figure".

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
fire truck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

12 comments:

  1. I don't know why but I get a bit russian feeling by this star emblem.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting, s.c. My understanding is that use of a red five-pointed star as a symbol has been and remains fairly widespread and was only adopted by the Russian communists in 1917.

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  2. And 5 means fire? Or do they all have different numbers?

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    Replies
    1. Each engine, I understand, is assigned a different number, b, for easy identification.

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  3. Gostei deste olhar e deste pormenor.
    Um abra├žo e bom fim-de-semana.
    Andarilhar

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  4. Numbering the firetrucks seems like a sensible idea RR and this would be a tres artistic way to do it ­čśŐ

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  5. It must be very significant, that figure, for the firemen of that locality

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  6. I could easily live with this on my wall! I like this a lot!

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  7. Indeed a Russian touch to me, too.

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