Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Claude-Oscar Monet

Here is an absolutely brilliant poem by Monet, that someone sent to me yesterday alongwith a painting he thought would best express the poem. The second painting is my absolute favorite Monet, where individuality of elements shines through despite a formless whole space ... where elements blend into one another yet retain their uniqueness...

The poem is reproduced below:

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.


Hip_Prudester said...

Brilliant poem, isnt it? :) I loved it the first time i read it and the love continues...:) So was good to see it on your blog again.
BTW, thank you for posting pictures of paintings... the second one is beautiful beyond words. I know very little about art.. only know what appeals to me and what doesnt, nothing more, sadly. So i;d do a really crappy job of expressing what I feel about it, and therefore won't try, other than that, to my uneducated eyes and mind... the 3D-ness of the painting is captivating...
Keep the posts coming.

inkognito said...

Hola Hip Prudester (apologies, underscore on my laptop not working). Good to see you here.

Posts are coming at a crazy momentum :)) like theres a sudden urge of things to say. hopefully there will be calm after the storm :)

this is one of my alltime fav paintings , i dont know much myself, but this is one of the most symbolic paintings of the impressionist period. It is called Impressions Sunrise.

Most painters of this period tried to capture an atmospheric feel on the canvas, a very fresh warm effect of light and painted the object not as the object itself, but as the feeling the object aroused in the painter's mind when he saw it. If you see the original of any impressionist works, you will notice thick short brush strokes of complementary paints next to each other, not mixing on canvas, as was traditionally accepted, the optical mixing happens in the viewers eye, as one moves away from the painting. Another absolutely lovely painting by Monet is waterlilies,in the London Gallery. See if you can find it if you google it or I might wite about it sometimes. Truly spectacular.

Let me warn you again though, most of my posts are pretty dark and uninteresting :)) but ofcourse, humaness overcomes all, and will be happy if you comment :)

Hip_Prudester said...

hi there Inkognito,
yay, firstly for the explosion of posts... and such good ones, at that :)May the trend continue. I for one, am thoroughly enjoying all the arm-chair travelling so keep the travelogue going.
As for the paintings...thank you so much, you have opened up a whole new world of sorts..:) as in, im the kinds who roams around art galleries loving some, being mesmerised by others and some that i just dont get, without having a clue abt anything else. I think I know the Water lilies painitng your talking abt. Went to a Monet exhibition (i foget if it was ina NY / Baltimore museum) and i distinctly remember this painting that u posted and the one i think you are talking abt.
But i have no idea...what the impressionist era was all about, until your comment. So thank you, thank you so much. I know my next visit to a gallery...whenever that is (i wish this post was up last week..:-), i was at the gallery on Monday...:( anyhoo...) will be a more informed one, and hence more enjoyable by leaps and bounds. :))
thanks again... do keep posts abt paintings and the history of them, coming.

Faces among faces

Acrylic (with knives only) on canvas