Monday, 6 May 2013

Caillebotte, Bridge at Argenteuil, National Gallery

I haven't been feeling whatever drive it was that produced all those long posts towards the end of last year and the start of this. I may just have run out of things to vent about or maybe all that magnesium oil I'm spraying on is affecting the way I feel. I mean, it sure does make certain bodily functions easier and smoother, but I'm pretty sure I feel less stressed, or less wound up, or something along those lines. The job is getting more interesting since I broke the SAS barrier and I'm making progress at the gym. I'm not sure about the whole girlfriend bit - Game or no Game - and some of the sense of hiatus may be due to some final processing around the whole Manospshere / MGTOW thing, not to say the re-invention and re-understanding of my life. 

Sundays I go to the gym, have breakfast at Balans on Old Compton Street and then spend some time in the National Gallery looking at one painting for a long while. Any painting that catches my eye, and it's always a different one each time. This time I went into the Impressionist section, looked around and realised "Jeez, these guys could freaking draw". None of your optically-assisted stuff, sheer freehand drawing skill. This was not how I thought about them ten years ago. My reactions to the Impressionists have changed through the decades. Late teens / twenties they made these wonderful evocative paintings - well Sisley and Pissaro and some Monets. Thirties and forties I saw them as little better than talented Sunday watercolourists, shallow and pretty. This Sunday the sheer bloody skill and surety of touch hit me. Lovely pictures, evocative and technically superb - because it takes a really good technique to be loose and still get the perspective correct.

Right now there's a Gustav Caillebotte on loan from a private collection. He's the critic's and historian's Impressionist, and there's a modernity to his framing and pictures that suprises even now. Here's a glimpse...

and here's the link so you can look at it on-screen, but you really should see it live. Take, oh, twenty minutes to gaze at it. It's well worth it.

And then wonder how long he practiced doing flicks of green to suggest  those wavelets on the Seine. Do I practice anything for that long? Do you? Does anybody who isn't an athlete or a musician?

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