Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dreaming of Corot

I confess to being a lifelong devotee
of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

having first fallen for him back
in Cincinnati,
especially in the Taft Museum

which, if not completely empty,
never had more than a few visitors
at any one time,
so each room felt like my
personal sanctuary

and what could be a better sanctuary
than a remote country scene
with the appropriate foliage,
and, of course, cavorting nymphs

(the above painting is from the Art Institute,
but the Taft has one just like it)

And when you've known paintings for a long time,
they're just like old memories
only better
sharper and more exciting,
though still identical to the scenes
once seen decades earlier.

and Corot-space is too delicious
to ever leave

and up close ....
the pleasure is almost unbearable
(just like with the Chinese paintings elsewhere on this blog)

What is the difference between
the best of
nature painting and nature photography ?

I think it's the depth/intensity of emotional involvement.
Photographs can be enjoyed,
but paintings can be loved.

Here's another Corot from the Art Institute,
this one painted 10 years later,
and only a few years before his death at age 79.

some of that sweet, sensuous mystery is gone,
but the power is still there

What a swinging group of trees !
This is the man who will teach me how to grow old.

(and, according to reports, he was a very nice old man --
funding a daycare center in Paris,
and supporting destitute artists and their widows)


Anonymous suburbanlife said...

Chris - Thanks for posting these -that silvery light in Corot is wonderful, and so is the beautiful understatement of his touch in markmaking. Looking at these paintings in person would be an act of meditation I think, breathing would slow, blood pressure would surely lower, chaotic, busy thoughts would give way to a quiet mental hum. Wow! I surely would love to see these and study their surfaces, for Corot was a master of painting technique.

June 23, 2007  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Another post that fills my heart with delight. Dang! How could I have missed those Chinese-evocative details when looking at him before?

I'm taking a beginning oil painting class, and it's so exciting (despite the fact that I'm making fearful mud-pies right now.)

And these paintings represent one of the reasons I'm so excited -- I can at least, in my own small way, feel in hand, under fingertip, a tiny echo of what someone like Corot felt.

June 23, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. [Rising.] But you have not seen my Corots yet. They are in the music-room. Corots seem to go with music, don't they? May I show them to you?

MRS. CHEVELEY. [Shaking her head.] I am not in a mood to-night for silver twilights, or rose-pink dawns. I want to talk business. [Motions to him with her fan to sit down again beside her.]

Coincidentally, for my wife's birthday last night, we walked down our street to see Circle Theatre's production of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" - and, as you can see, SL, that silvery light was as well known to the London theatre audience of 1895 as it is to us (or at least some of us) today.

BTW -- that local production was incredible ! - and there is no way that ticket sales for that tiny, storefront theatre will ever cover the extravagant Victorian set and especially the remarkable costumes.

The young actors were very, very good - but even if they never spoke a word -- I would have been happy just to watch those beautifully decked-out young women posing as a tableaux vivant on the stage. (and since the theater is so small -- I felt like I was in that Victorian parlor with them)


Lori is taking painting classes ?!?

I can't wait for her to post the results.

(And there is no way that she could be considered a "beginner" in any of the visual arts)

June 23, 2007  
Anonymous Amanda J. Sisk said...

Lucky you! An Ideal Husband is one of my favorites. Thank you for the post on Corot...silvery light, indeed...the perfect Artemis touch for those nymphs.

June 24, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home