Gerardo Perez Rodriguez: France as Text 2019

Eiffel Tower Photo by Enya Pla Serrano

Gerardo Perez Rodriguez, born and raised in Puerto Rico, is a student at the Florida International University seeking a bachelors degree in Biological Sciences. Gerardo plans to graduate Summer 2020 from the Honors College and study medicine in fall 2020. Gerardo is an ambitious guy, he loves to help people and also he is a businessman. He dreams of one day becoming a successful Orthopedic Surgeon and be available to serve others in need.

Paris as Text

Eiffel Tower Paris, France Photo by Gerardo Perez

“Meet me and see the beauty” by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez from FIU at Paris, France

Come… come, it is me calling. It is me, the city full of dreams and the ”City of love.” My heart blood flows all France with art, beauty, and history. Many were opposed to my vision because they thought I was a threat to all Paris. When I was born in the 1800s, two million people visited me. Following this, I became a symbol of power and strength across the country.

Many thought that I shouldn’t be taller than the cathedral and many thought that I was humiliating France monuments and architecture; others thought that for political reasons, I could be leading my entire Paris into a modern society. I think they were right; now I hold as a root and represent my Paris, France as a powerful country. People all around the world visit every day to watch the beautiful Paris. Maybe the people only remember the 18, 000 pieces used for my construction, or that I was only meant to be temporary or they remember how Gustave Eiffel, an engineer, designed one of the most beautiful and influential works of Paris. What they need to know is that my blood flows all over Paris and I am only meant to invite them to find out our history, what is happening in our country and how we come together. Come… Come… and visit the “City of Love”

Versailles as Text

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles Photo by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez

“The power that shines within” by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez of FIU at Château Versailles

It is me, the Sun King. This magical and surprising place, Hall of Mirrors, shows the authority and power of France. By the end of the 17th century it was completely revolutionary. The most respected ambassadors and courtiers were invited to the Hall of Mirrors, and they were always stunned by France greatness. I represented myself as Apollo across the room, a protector of the arts. My ideal vision was to build something in which people all around the world could see and feel how great and powerful is France. In other words I had three reasons:
1. Political Achievements
2.Economic Achievements
3. Artistic Achievements

Yes! Look at all this people across the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, they are stunned. In my work you can see how the gardens are reflected. By making the Hall of Mirrors I still continue to shed a light each day through the 17 immense windows and see the successful work I’ve done. France is a successful and power country as I visioned.

Lyon As Text

Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière at Lyon, France Photo by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez

“Treasure of Humanity” by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez of FIU at Lyon, France (Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière)

Over this week, my classmates and I have seen most of the main sites in Lyon. By entering the third largest city in France, I noticed similarities related to the architecture and artworks from the Renaissance of the 15th century. The surrounding pink colored renaissance pastel tones in the apartment buildings contrast with the principal eyes and mind of Lyon, La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière or as I call it, the treasure of humanity. Across the years the Basilica has become a symbol of Lyon to the Virgin Mary as it watches the sunrise and the dawn every day.

The Basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière by the architect Pierre Bossan inspired by Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic art style is displayed using mosaics and paintings. The Basilica is divided into three larges naves crossed with Virgin Mary’s relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Sprit (Trinity). Inside the Basilica a six wall mosaic was made; Joan of Arc, arrival of Saint Pothin in lyon, vow of Louis XIII, Battle of Lepanto, Council of Ephesus and the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception. Also, inside and outside of the Basilica the lion is used in sculptures and paintings inside the Basilique as a symbol of courage, nobility, strength.

Overall, seeing how the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière was built applying different art styles to create their own identity and their own message, makes me appreciate culture and how this can be a treasure of humanity. Power and Divine is the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the Basilica. Our believes is what makes us unique and special and this is also shown in Joan of Arc’s painting. She had a connection with Power and Divine in order to save France.

Izieu As Text

Maison d’ Izieu, France photo by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez

“Second Opportunity” by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez of FIU at Maison d’Izieu, France

Loneliness and hope of seeing your family… one of the deepest and worst feelings a human being can have. In May 1943, Sabine and Miron Zlatlin, offered a second opportunity for Jewish children in Izieu to live their lives. Attendance records at Izieu listed 105 children. Here they were able to learn, make friends and discover themselves making drawings and letters from their heart. In April 6,1944 children and adults were arrested at the Izieu refuge on orders by Klaus Barbie. They were gone… Innocent children… Fight against the resistance? This children weren’t guilty. It’s upsetting how a person can tear other people apart by dehumanizing them. Nobody has the right to do such thing. A Remembrance plaque in 1945 a telegram was found in which Barbie had ordered to deport the children in the refuge, with this Barbie was charged with crimes against humanity with the result of being sentenced for life in prison.

No words can express the upsetting feeling this must have been for a parent, trying to send your kids for refuge and they end up dead and you end up alive. It is not fair, but this plot in our years of history helps us creat continuousness to not let this happen again. Anchored to this place, this memorial inspires reflection towards the future on the crimes committed against humanity. As I visited this places I felt a combination of emotions: sad and happiness, because thanks to Sabine each one of us can remember the kids that fought really hard to live a normal life

Normandy American Cemetery

Normandy American Cemetery Photo by Alex Gutierrez

By Gerardo Perez Rodriguez of FIU Honors College at the Normandy American Cemetery

Grave found in Section G, row 21, grave 7

for Frank D. Peregory

Technical Sergeant of the Virginia Army National Guard

Born April 10, 1916, Gone 14 June 1944 (aged 28)

You were once a kid

You were once free

You were once a soldier

The call to duty is sent and the brave and strong reply

Bravery

I know you lied about your age to join the forces in 1941 while being 15 years old

Your unit Virginia Army National Guard was activated as part of the United States 29th Division.

I know you were awarded the Soldier’s Medal because you rescued a drowning comrade disregarding the danger to yourself. I know you were awarded Medal of Honor for your actions made at the town of Grandcampe by June 8, 1944. I know you were one of those men who died six days later on June 14, 1944, while fighting in the hedgerows.

Bravery

What I don’t is how can a human be so brave, don’t think about yourself for a second and push yourself and fight for what you believe in. After the assault had been postponed in World War II several times, you landed with the 116th United States Infantry as part of the Normandy invasion or D-Day. After two strong and awful days that is when you and your unit made it to Grandcampe.

Bravery

“On 8 June 1944, the 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry was advancing on the strongly held German defenses at Grandcampe-Maisy, France, when the leading elements were suddenly halted by decimating machine-gun fire from a firmly entrenched enemy force on the high ground overlooking the town.  After numerous attempts to neutralize the enemy position by supporting artillery and tank fire had proved ineffective.  T/Sgt Peregory, on his own initiative, advanced up the hill under withering fire and worked his way to the crest where he discovered an entrenchment leading to the main enemy fortifications 200 yards away.  Without hesitating, he leaped into the trench and moved toward the emplacement.  Encountering a squad of enemy riflemen, he fearlessly attacked them with hand grenades and bayonet, killed 8 and forced 3 to surrender.  Continuing along the trench, he single-handedly forced the surrender of 32 more riflemen, captured the machine gunners, and opened the way for the leading elements of the battalion to advance and secure its objective.  The extraordinary gallantry and aggressiveness displayed by T/Sgt. Peregory is exemplary of the highest tradition of the armed forces.” (Frank Dabney Peregoy).

Bravery

As I write about you I’m being dumbstruck with your bravery. In this text, bravery is written four times after each paragraph, this are four reasons why you were brave Sergeant Peregory. What blows me away is the fact that you lied about your age in order to join the Virginia Army National Guard. It takes a great amount of courage to do what you and your soldiers did for the country and for the world. I wish you could be here to ask you: What led you to do this? What did you feel on the field? or What you remembered about the people in your unit? Thanks to you I know what sacrifice and bravery means. Thanks to you I know that we have to fight for what we believe in. Thanks to you every morning I’ll be waking up for a reason; fight for my believes, fight for my rights and fight at the time of a strike or protest. By conducting this Normandy as Text, I just want to let you know that your story lives in me. As my professor from study abroad John Bailly from the Honors College once said: “If it wasn’t for them, probably we would be in a different world”. Frank, you are one of the reasons why everybody should know your story and sacrifices made during this time of year in order to prevent it from happening again. I won’t be needing a remembrance day to honor your sacrifice because I will think about you every day.

References

Frank Dabney Peregoy, scottsvillemuseum.com/wwii/veterans/frankdperegoyphotos/homeFDH01.html.

“Frank D Peregory: Person, Pictures and Information.” Fold3, www.fold3.com/page/85216886-frank-d-peregory/stories.

Pere Lachaise Project

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Photo by Enya Pla Serrano

by Gerardo Perez Rodriguez of the Honors College at Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)

On September 26, 1791, France gave birth to one of the painters who made a big impact on the history of modern art and the transformation of 19th-century paintings, Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault. Most of Géricault’s works relied upon Romanticism, Naturalism and The Sublime in Art. What’s inspiring from Théodore Géricault is that his artistic work reflects upon social awareness, observation and also a political view of the world.

Growing in a wealthy family, Géricault was educated in the most prestigious school, École Des Beaux-Arts where his talent of drawing was identified and quickly he began to seriously study art. It’s inspiring how determined and talented Géricault was with his studies. His mother and grandmother passed away, his dad paid a certain amount of money to a man to avoid his son being conscripted into the army, he ended up expelled from his teacher’s studio and that didn’t stop him from his dream. He decides to travel to Italy on his own after competing in Prix de Rome which included a paid study program in Italy, there he discovered the art of Michelangelo and the Baroque where most of his artistic works are inspired from because of the dramatic use, representation with figures and the use of light and dark. Géricault stated in Italy: “To draw and paint after the great Old Masters. – Read and compose – Anatomy. Antiques – Music – Italian. […] Concern me only with the style of the Old Masters and compose, without going out and always alone.” (Théodore Géricault Biography, Life & Quotes). The trip in Italy changed his French art-making because he adopted a modern approach creating dramatic narratives using color and light; marking this the beginning of the Romanticism.

Along the years of his career, he fell into a depression, suffered from pneumonia and failed a suicided attempt. Because of this, he got inspired with his last great work s, the Monomaniacs: a series of haunting portrait paintings of the mentally ill. In love and inspired with the human body, Géricault needed to remove a tumor from his lower spine and he refused anesthesia so that he could see with a mirror the operation.

Most important by Géricault art is The Raft of the Medusa where he portrays some people dead and some people struggling to live on a crude raft. The inspiration of Géricault it’s impactful, he portrays the only African figure who waves a cloth at the top of a pile of men. Géricault impressive work, determination and approach helped to shape the Romantic art movement.

Géricault kept moving and fighting along with his painting career even though he wasn’t recognized at first, he had depression and he was ill. He made sure he tried out for himself while being inspired by the best artists. This is how Gèricault and I are tied to each other he became an artist in his own way, and I have found ways to do the same. I am not an artist, but by being a student from Biology with the end of becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon I have realized along the years that I can be the person I want in my own way and that we need to surpass and not fear obstacles. Some people dream about money, cars and a big house. For me what’s important is to become the person you want to be, get educated and be successful in your own way. On the other side, I would apply Thèodore Gèricault’s Raft of the Medusa with the document from the French Revolution: “Declaration of the Rights of Men and Citizen”. Gèricault portrays a black men making his way thru the top of a pile of men waving a cloth for savior. I am not from black race but what I can say for myself is that people around the world have always judged black people. I have respect for them they have been thru a lot and they always find a way to excel. His death in a very young age does not allow me to know how much further into the depths of humanity he would plunge. I would like to end with a quote from Thèodore Gèricault: “The truly gifted individual does not fear obstacles, because he knows that he can surmount them; indeed they often are an additional asset; the fever they are able to excite in his soul is not lost; it even often becomes the cause of the most astonishing productions.”

Reference:

“Théodore Géricault Biography, Life & Quotes.” The Art Story, www.theartstory.org/artist-gericault-theodore-life-and-legacy.htm#biography_header

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