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2011 Reads > S&C: The Picture-Cleaner (spoilers! shadow ch 5)

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Jared (jaredforshey) | 32 comments Interpretive spoilers for this post, but it occurs early in the book.

When Severian is looking at the paintings in the hallway, Wolfe describes a few of the paintings. Famously, the "armored knight with a stiff-bannered staff" is really an astronaut on the moon, which I'm amazed that I missed on my first reading because this time around I realized he goes into a lot of detail to that effect and it causes a discussion into terraforming the moon into Lune.

The other two paintings he mentions, though - one of them is (paraphrasing from memory) a woman with wings more like leeches, and I don't remember the other. Are they significant? Are they famous paintings or pictures from Earth?


Larry (lomifeh) | 88 comments I've no idea what the other ones are but the Astronaut one struck me, I did not realize till later what it was either.


Colin | 278 comments I was curious about his painting, the one that was apparently of himself as a young man, that he saw once, but can't remember where they hung it up.


terpkristin | 4222 comments Huh I hadn't even put together the "stiff-bannered staff" and the astronaut on the moon.

Crazy!


message 5: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1729 comments Mod
terpkristin wrote: "Huh I hadn't even put together the "stiff-bannered staff" and the astronaut on the moon.

Crazy!"


Me either... I think I read that before I got to the conversation we had with Josh about looking for things like that!


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Jlawrence | 964 comments Mod
I highlighted a bit of this in the Science Fiction in My Fantasy thread -- the picture-cleaner also comments on the picture of the astronaut, saying,

"There's your blue Urth coming over his [the figure in the picture's] shoulder, fresh as the Autarch's fish".

The two have this exchange:

"I managed to say, 'Is that the moon? I have been told it's more fertile.'

'Now it is, yes. This was done before they got it irrigated.' "
(pg. 38)

So Severian knows of travel to the moon, and terraforming of the moon.

Jared, I am interested if there's significance to those other paintings.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2898 comments What I struggled to understand is why hardly anyone cares enough about these artifacts. There is another great description about sand made up of the accumulation of a lot of glass that had been crushed over time, and it points to an ancient history (ours, I think).


Colin | 278 comments Am i wrong thinking that the picture gallery Sev finds himself in when he is wandering around House Absolute is the same hallway from the Citadel?

With that in mind, i am placing the Absolute House as an off-bunker from the launch pads of the Citadel, and the picture gallery being the service tunnel or what have you. And also being a wing of the Archives (which i got the impression that they ran for miles and miles) that stores the artistic record of old urth.

I for one did not believe a word of that crazy old man when he said he was brought over to clean up THEIR galleries. I think i am also going to be treating him as Alpha-Jonas from now on.


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Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1729 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "What I struggled to understand is why hardly anyone cares enough about these artifacts. There is another great description about sand made up of the accumulation of a lot of glass that had been cr..."

I had assumed that was a description of crushed up plastic? Something about the way the light was reflecting off it made me think that. Would't they have glass?


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Jlawrence | 964 comments Mod
Veronica wrote:

Jenny wrote: "What I struggled to understand is why hardly anyone cares enough about these artifacts. There is another great description about sand made up of the accumulation of a lot of glass that had been cr..."

I had assumed that was a description of crushed up plastic? Something about the way the light was reflecting off it made me think that. Would't they have glass?


Yeah, maybe something like shattered or ground-up plexiglass? I'd have to re-read the particular passage...


*CLAW SPOILERS*



Colin wrote: Am i wrong thinking that the picture gallery Sev finds himself in when he is wandering around House Absolute is the same hallway from the Citadel?

With that in mind, i am placing the Absolute House as an off-bunker from the launch pads of the Citadel, and the picture gallery being the service tunnel or what have you. And also being a wing of the Archives (which i got the impression that they ran for miles and miles) that stores the artistic record of old urth.


Colin, I am starting to believe you're right - the gallery is the same in Shadow and Claw, and the old picture-cleaner was lying. Given those extensive interconnecting tunnels, maybe the first time Severian was there, in Sword, he had actually stumbled into a wing of or tunnel to the House Absolute (which is all underground, as well) ?


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2898 comments From chapter XVI The Rag Shop

"I have heard those who dig for their livelihood say there is no land anywhere in which they can trench without turning up the shards of the past. No matter where the spade turns the soil, it uncovers broken pavements and corroding metal; and scholars write that the kind of sand that artists call polychrome (because flecks of every color are mixed with it's whiteness) is actually not sand at all, but the glass of the past, now pounded to powder by aeons of tumbling in the clamorous sea."

I was really captured by this, so vivid!


Larry (lomifeh) | 88 comments Jenny wrote: "From chapter XVI The Rag Shop

" and scholars write that the kind of sand that artists call polychrome (because flecks of every color are mixed with it's whiteness) is actually not sand at all, but the glass of the past, now pounded to powder by aeons of tumbling in the clamorous sea."


It's somewhat prescient too. I think of the great big garbage island in the pacific now when I read that. All the plastic and other waste that makes it up. In thousands of years that could be what's left.


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Jlawrence | 964 comments Mod
Ah, yeah, that is a great vivid image -- the "of every color" bit does make me think its pulverized plastic from past eons - seems more likely than such a variety of colored glass.


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