waving a welcoming hand in the direction of...

Blue Apple

Senior Member
Persian (Iran)
The following description is about this artwork. I can not understand the meaning of "waving a welcoming hand in the direction of the bucolic countryside". Is it different from waving hand at someone? I think it means that the character is pointing to his house that is placed in the countryside and inviting the viewer to go to his house. Am I right?

Context:
Peter Kennard's notorious The Haywain, Constable (1821) Cruise Missiles, USA (1983–1988) incorporates deadly weapons into a famous British pastoral painting, John Constable’s The Haywain. In front of three missiles in the wagon that point aggressively upwards, a gas-masked figure waves a welcoming hand in the direction of the bucolic countryside (Art and War by Laura Brandon).
 
  • I can't see what the figure is doing, but what part of 'waving a welcoming hand' do you not understand? The man is--apparently-- gesturing toward the countryside, peaceful, and beautiful. Perhaps he's saying "Here we are--look!-- in the beautiful countryside with our missiles ready to fire." {It's an anti-war painting.}

    Here is a picture of the original, minus the missiles.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Constable-Haywain-Large-Print/dp/B005DMYWA4
     

    Blue Apple

    Senior Member
    Persian (Iran)
    I can't see what the figure is doing, but what part of 'waving a welcoming hand' do you not understand? The man is--apparently-- gesturing toward the countryside, peaceful, and beautiful. Perhaps he's saying "Here we are--look!-- in the beautiful countryside with our missiles ready to fire." {It's an anti-war painting.}

    Here is a picture of the original, minus the missiles.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Constable-Haywain-Large-Print/dp/B005DMYWA4
    I can not understand if he is showing the countryside to the viewer (looking at the viewer and pointing to the landscape and saying "look at the landscape") or he is just waving hand to the viewer and saying "hey, here we are"?
     

    Blue Apple

    Senior Member
    Persian (Iran)
    Probably his gesture has nothing to do with the *viewer of the painting* if that's what you meant. I can't see the figure very clearly, however.
    So, is he showing the welcoming hand to someone else who is in that landscape but is not present in the painting?

    In the link that I provided the masked man is apparently looking at the viewer and pointing his hand toward the landscape.
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    The intention of my #3 was not to contradict Bennymix's #2.

    I was merely correcting the OP's
    I think it means that the character is pointing to his house that is placed in the countryside and inviting the viewer to go to his house.
    Sorry if that wasn't clear.
    .
     

    Blue Apple

    Senior Member
    Persian (Iran)
    There are two figures in the wagon. One's gesture is likely meant for the other. Note it's not usual for a figure in a 19th century painting to gesture to the viewer --who would be the artist, in fact.
    My problem was that I thought "waving a welcoming hand" meant "waving at someone to say hello to them" while it apparently means "pointing with hand to something".
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The person on the right is (as bennymix notes) gesturing towards something, but I'd say it's the missiles rather than the surrounding countryside. He seems to be showing them to the other person on the cart, or to some unseen onlooker - who might be the person looking at the painting.

    I wouldn't say that he's "waving a welcoming hand", but I assume Ms Brandon got a better look at the picture than I can online.
     
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