Tuesday, February 8, 2011

from THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG

Waiting for my latest painting to dry - lots of white - takes time - if YOU have time read this wonderful description of the mystery and glory of great art by Muriel Barbery from the Elegance of the Hedgehog.  She is referring to the painting that is linked to the title of the book. (the colors are way off here)

"The enigma is constantly renewed: great works are the visual forms which attain in us the certainty of timeless consonance.  The confirmation that certain forms, in the particular aspect that their creators have given them, return again and again throughout the history of art and, in the filigree of individual genius, constitute nonetheless facets of a universal genius, is something deeply unsettling.  What congruence links a Claesz, a Raphael, a Rubens and a Hopper?  Despite the diversity of subject matter, supports and techniques, despite the insignificance and ephemeral nature of lives always doomed to belong to one era and one culture alone, and despite the singular nature of a gaze that can only ever see what its constitution will allow and that is tainted by the poverty of its individuality, the genius of great artists penetrates to the heart of the mystery and exhumes , under various guises, the same sublime form that we seek in all artistic production.  What congruence links a Claesz, a Raphael, a Rubens and a Hopper?  We need not search, our eye locates the form that will elicit a feeling of consonance, the one particular thing in which everyone can find the very essence of beauty, without variations or reservations, context or effort.  In the still life with a lemon, for example, this essence cannot merely be reduced to the master of execution; it clearly does inspire a feeling of consonance, a feeling that this is exactly the way it ought to have been arranged.  This in turn allows us to feel the power of objects and of the way they interact, to hold in our gaze the way they work together and the magnetic fields that attract and repel them, the ineffable ties that bind them and engender a force, a secret and inexplicable wave born of both the tension and the balance of the configuration- this is what inspires the feeling of consonance.  The disposition of the objects and the dishes achieves the universal in the singular: the timeless nature of the consonant form.
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