Posts Tagged ‘Greek art’
Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son (1875), Claude Monet. In the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Picture courtesy of www.joanlansberry.com.
Another personal favourite: Monet’s outdoor portrait of his first wife Camille and their son, Jean (I think). The concluding passage of Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans probably sums up my feelings about this painting best:
But for those like us, our fate is to face the world as orphans, chasing through long years the shadows of vanished parents. There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.
Why the conflation of this painting and this passage in particular ? – I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s the worm’s-eye view of the figure, with her wind-billowed dress and her veil-shrouded visage, which reminds me of a Greek marble head of a similarly veiled woman housed in the Met (below). She seems the very epitome of feminine grace and remote allure, quite literally a vision in white and light. And the little child next to her, dwarfed and indistinct … She is unreachable, always already lost.
The image is so lovely it hurts.