Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Romantic love in Valence

While awaiting reactions to the amazing story of the possible bones of Jesus, I've been engaged—by chance—in an unexpected but delightful Internet dialogue with a lady named Anne Peynet. Her father drew a picture that now belongs to the history and culture, not only of the neighboring city of Valence, but to France and the entire planet. This kind lady has authorized me to reproduce this drawing in my blog:

According to a legendary tale (which is surely authentic), the graphic artist Raymond Peynet [1908-1999] happened to be passing alongside the Valence music kiosk at the end of a public concert. Everybody was leaving—musicians and audience—except for a violinist, carefully placing his instrument in its case, and a young female front-row member of the audience. A minute later, the violinist came down from the stage, kissed the front-row girl, and they wandered off—thanks to Peynet's pencil—into the eternal role of romantic love.

The Peynet kiosk still exists, more lovely than ever, against an urban background, in the ongoing restoration work being carried out by the municipality of Valence:

Does Peynet-style romantic love still exist in our harsh modern world? I certainly hope so, and I think so... but it's not really the kind of question that could be settled in a scientific manner. If you were to ask young people today what they think of the round-hatted violinist of Valence and his tender pigtailed girlfriend, everybody would agree, I imagine, that they're a pair of lovely lovers.

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