I don’t understand why I like this painting so much on first glance. The most disturbing element, I suppose is the strip where the horse has simply disappeared giving it the appearance of being a light transparent trunk itself. This, I think adds a joking quality to the overall work which I find a kind of magical forest. The sort that you might well find in a fairy tale or an adventure. The rider does not seem discombobulated by this wooded environment. Indeed she seems to have a sense of purpose and direction quite at variance to the seeming dissolution of her means of transport beneath her. The colours or palette seem to add to a jolly effect and the canopy of branches seems protective.
Next to my laptop propped against the now never used printer is a postcard which I bought at the remarkable Musée Jacquemart–André. This lovely gallery is grandly situated in the Boulevard Haussman in the 8th Arrondissment (huitieme). The postcard shows what a Scotsman might have called a fair bonny lassie.
This Italian Baroque painter was born in Verona and died in St Petersburg. His paintings are remarkable for both their astonishing beauty but also for their realism as can be judged from the following clip.
Looking at these lovely paintings gives me the same feeling as reading this-
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
THE FIRST. O F ΜΑΥ
The orchards half the way
From home to Ludlow fair
Flowered on the first of May
In Mays when I was there;
And seen from stile or turning
The plume of smoke would show
Where fires were burning
That went out long ago.
The plum broke forth in green,
The pear stood high and snowed,
My friends and I between
Would take the Ludlow road;
Dressed to the nines and drinking
And light in heart and limb,
And each chap thinking
The fair was held for him.
Between the trees in flower
New friends at fairtime tread
The way where Ludlow tower
Stands planted on the dead.
Our thoughts, a long while after,
They think, our words they say;
Theirs now’s the laughter,
The fair, the first of May.
Ay, yonder lads are yet
The fools that we were then;
For oh, the sons we get
Are still the sons of men.
The sumless tale of sorrow
Is all unrolled in vain:
May comes to-morrow
And Ludlow fair again.
Fernsucht ist das Gegenteil von Heimweh. Die Krankheit ist auch unter den Synonymen Fernweh, Reisefieber und Travel Bug bekannt.
“It is a work extreme delicacy yet great richness, of poetic quiet yet great emotion.” She is sad and shivering, indeed she is very unwell. The full story may be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20070928205059/http://www.williamweston.co.uk/pages/catalogues/single/766/25/1.html
This clip may give some idea of the range of Tissot’s oeuvre.
My personal response to Tissot
There are two factors which have drawn my attention to Tissot recently. Firstly, reading various books and articles by Julian Barnes, who is well versed in French Artists of the Nineteenth Century. Secondly there are particular paintings of his that are especially intriguing. Especially those that seem to show early relationships between the French and English in London. However, more importantly, I seem to remember small illustrated texts from Sunday School back in the 1950s whose subject matter were similar in style and content to those religious paintings that seem to have taken up much of Tissot’s time. Finally, there is of course the insight into the times that these Tissot paintings give.
As someone has commented on You Tube underneath the above, “Wonderful , soulful, expression of Imperial Russia from many aspects just before the Black Curtain of the war that aesthetically affects us into our era!” There are even colour photographs of that strange era in Russia before the Revolution that show the huge contrasts in wealth and also the peaceful landscape which is evoked like a distant Edwardian Summer. Serov died in 1911 having left behind masterpieces of portraiture including his own famous self-portrait. His style was realistic and is still much beloved by the Russian people.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentin_Serov
I have just discovered this film which looks good too-
Finally there is an excellent paper, well worth thorough consideration by Stacey Novack called “The Politics of Nostalgia” at https://publicseminar.org/2016/11/the-politics-of-nostalgia/
Clearly, that which we personally find nostalgic, pertains to ourselves alone but are there paintings which evoke in general this kind of mood state in the viewer? One painting which possibly does is this Matisse. It is discussed in detail on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxe,_Calme_et_Volupt%C3%A9
The fact that the title comes from Baudelaire is partly evidence to this state of mind-
Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.
This lines are from a poem called L’Invitation au voyage and certainly the second stanza has a definite cosy feel to it even when google translated into English-
Polished by the years,
Would decorate our room;
The rarest flowers
Mixing their smells
With the vague scents of amber,
The rich ceilings,
Everything would speak there
To the soul in secret
His sweet native language.
Returning to the painting itself, the colours invoke a sense of delicious and delicate luxury, as does the seaside setting and the recumbent nude figures. The sailing boat with its gaff rig beneath the boughs of the tree, which itself offers a protective quality, suggests that the shore may be quitted should ennui prove too troublesome.
On a personal level, my interest in this technique was stimulated by a term we did in the third year with our art teacher, Charlie Mac, when he suggested we paint using pointillist technique to give our work a more lively quality. We did some nice work from the end of the harbour pier in Penzance. However in the above m, Matisse was following the suggestions of Signac and creating a seminal work of Fauvism. The wild beasts are here in a somewhat pussycat or kittenish era even Louis Vauxcelles, who used the term, the following year in 1905 might grudgingly admit.
This portrait by Roger Fry of Virginia Woolf has I think a somewhat similar pointillist character. However, it evokes nostalgia because I can remember from childhood people dressing in warm woollen jumpers and staring pensively into the distance. This painting is on loan to Leeds Gallery from its owner.
I hear an army charging upon the land, And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees; Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand, Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers. They cry unto the night their battle-name: I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter. They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame, Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil. They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair: They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair? My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?
There is a discussion of this poem at-
Just discovered this rather relaxing post by this superb anti-Nazi Austrian painter. The accompanying Chopin Nocturne adds to the ambience I find.
Leo Putz (18 June 1869, in Merano – 21 July 1940, in Merano) was a Tyrolean painter. His work encompasses Art Nouveau, Impressionism and the beginnings of Expressionism. Figures, nudes and landscapes are his predominant subjects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Putz
1909 Exhibition in Munich
When I think of paintings from interiors of the scene beyond, I tend to think of the South of France,of Dufy or perhaps Matisse. There is something too which reminds me of looking out from a safe place to the activity beyond. It recalls hours in childhood, perhaps when bored watching the summer visitors who looking lost were exploring the cobbled hill outside, often looking somewhat lost themselves.
The above is a view in an Oxford suburb into the garden with trees and a bird-feeder beyond.
This is a view from an upstairs window in Cornwall. The rubber plant has not survived my feckless care unfortunately.
This is a view from the Newlyn Art Gallery cafe which has a splendid large window overlooking the Mount and Bay.
A sea view at Christmas
A friend has sent me this useful link-