Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Falstaff Coat of Arms

Laurie and I have declared a few nights a week our "project night."  They are usually Tuesdays and sometimes Thursdays as well.  It is a night in which we do not watch movies or sit around refreshing Facebook after work but, instead, work on projects.  Sometimes it is as practical as moving furniture and laying our floor.  Sometimes our projects are more along the art project line.

The other night we watched Verdi's opera Falstaff (a Royal Opera House production from the early 1980s with Renato Bruson in the title role.)  The action is loosely based on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. There was the scene in which Falstaff finally gets alone with Mistress Ford and he said/sang:
"T'immagino fregiata del mio stemma, 
Mostrar fra gemma e gemma
La pompa del tuo sen."
Which is to say that he was imagining his own coat of arms somewhere in the general vicinity of her décolletage.

Which led me to think, "I wonder what Falstaff's coat of arms looks like."

Which led me to think, "I should design a coat of arms for Falstaff!"

What I've done above is to suggest a few elements of Falstaff while hopefully preserving the spirit of a coat of arms.  There is a stag which, of course, suggests the more libidinous side of his character.  The horns, of course, remind us of the cuckold motif in The Merry Wives as well as Herne, the Hunter.  On his antlers, of course, is a bunch of grapes, which should be fairly self-explanatory.  The rearing up before the crown is intended to suggest both knighthood and aspirations toward royal favor (as seen in Henry IV.)  

The inscription at the bottom is Latin for Falstaff's well known and probably most oft quoted line "The better part of valor is discretion."  His turn of phrase is a defense of cowardice.

This is what I do for fun.

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