‘Marvels mix with the day-to-day and banality meets mystery in the nursery rhyme’ says Marina Warner, short story writer, historian and mythographer, known for her books on feminism and myth.
A few years ago I wrote a book on modern printmaking for GCSE level. I’m not about to go into a detailed description of the etching process, but one of the artists I discussed was Paula Rego. Anyone who has been to the Sainsbury Wing Restaurant at the National Gallery will know her huge mural, Crivelli’s Garden. Of her work, she says ‘I paint to give fear a face.’ And in her series on Nursery Rhyme she has introduced a dreamlike quality that manipulates scale and stirs up disturbing feelings and a certain potency in perfectly innocent scenes.
And in Three Blind Mice, the unseen moonlight catches the blade of the carving knife and focuses on the woman’s arm, face and blouse and also on the blank eyes of the mice. It’s as if Rego has drawn invisible lines between them. Yes… we know who blinded the mice.
Read those nursery rhymes with care!