Friday, April 22, 2011

More Jottings

Jottings from my trip to the Met today. (I’ve added a picture to brighten up the blog.) These are quick, spontaneous, and informal. Do not expect conventional grammar and usage.

The Little boy on the Platform—
There is a little boy on the platform, a little angel: jasmine skin, a soft grey vest, and little blue veins.

Tapestry Room From Croone Court—
A secret room with tapestried walls. Parrots; a floral chain festooned along the upper edge of the wall; bunches of ruddy flowers—reds, pinks, fuchsias, creams—towering out of urns, swelling at the corners—little gardens at the edges—clustered firs, ferns; swallows soaring across the red. Or, at least they appear to be swallows. Who can tell in this light? Dim, scant.  And chairs along the edges.
A great red room: vivid contours, empty—empty in the most luxurious sense of the word.
Some years ago, an earl lay lazily on the carpet gazing at the birds (the ones embroidered on the tapestry), his Latin book terribly neglected. The Earl and the tapestry room; the faint, warm glow of the crystal chandelier.

A Hall through Ancient Egypt—
Walking along the hall it becomes clear what palate the Ancient Egyptians preferred.  Wheat yellow—black, blue, green, and the color of the Egyptians themselves: clay-colored people, flower-pot clay, pueblo clay. We see them in the palace, in the fields, on their boats. Full, white eyes on profiled faces.

I have settled in this room because there is a round couch in the center. Here I sit—the limbs relaxing—surrounded by scenes and intrigues—the sublimest paint, gilt frames.

Let us fix our eyes on this painting in front of us—the tallest in the room, the most lavishly framed… Three women on a couch. One looks here, another there; the third, straight into the sitter’s eyes: a vague request, an inscrutable comment. The sisters bask in whiteness, radiant in the cheeks, at the chests—all in the black-green vacuum of the parlor: fresh white hyacinths waiting to be brought.

Beside the sisters, a duchess with her little boy, her little lord. Her dress bursts at the bottom into a feathery fiasco: black raven feathers.

Bocklin’s Island of the Dead
The façade is inscrutable. An island with a forest—pines so dark they become profound.

The Actor (Picasso)—
Greens, grey, pink, blue, peach, red. Acting with the hands, one held akimbo, the other—the other up, summoning, “Come here.” The back is slightly hunched. The actor: alone in his studio, all pink and blue, reciting and reciting, the hands dancing here and there.


[This piece looks quite different on the museum wall. I would have written something else, if I had only seen this picture of it.]

Grapefruit juice. Cherry tomatoes. Little balls of Mozzarella. Chocolate chip cookies.

The Concourse—
The concourse, quivering below its cerulean firmament, grown dissipated with the noon. One could comment on the people—on the way they begin to resemble insects, little gears in a mechanism—but let us skip this. There comes a point when there are so many people that they cease to be of interest—they cancel each other out; let us therefore ignore them; cast our eyes on solid things. In a concourse where people are always scurrying this way and that, it is only natural that our eyes settle on the stiller, unmoving things.

+ The primordial clock, four-faced, at the center of the concourse.
+ The flag, with its candy-cane stripes and fifty, little stars
+ The chandeliers that hang like giant Christmas ornaments from some prim and aloof above.

Bought a book on Ancient Egypt. Adolf Erman's Life in Ancient Egypt.

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