Friday, January 29, 2010
"Impressionism" by Karin H. Grimme
This is a wonderful book. Beginning with Frederic Bazilles' "Family Reunion" and ending with Frederico Zandomeneghi's "Place d'Anvers in Paris", this book offers up 40 of the greatest Impressionists of all time. That's Georges Seurat's "The Bathers at Asnieres" (detail) on the cover.
The book is arranged alphabetically and the pages alternate with a narrative facing each reproduction. In this way you can enjoy the paintings on your own and then explore what the narratives say. This format allows you to gain some new insights as well as to reinforce the things you already know. It's kind of like a paperback museum.
My preference in art has long run to the Impressionists, so when this one popped up in the Mooresville Library today I was more than happy to take it home. With a forecast of up to 6" of snow this evening I thought I might gather some warmth from the works of these masters.
When I look at the "Boats on the Seine (near Asnieres)" by Renoir the sunshine of a French summers day warms me. The same is true of DeNittis' "Flirt", I can feel the heat of the Parisian streets in the summer. I wander through the "Artist's Garden at Vetheuil" courtesy of Claude Monet and his mastery of light.
I can't pronounce most of the names of these paintings. My tongue gets twisted and I clam up. But my love of them goes beyond the spoken. The use of light and color draw me in more than any other works of art.
The pleasure of these paintings comes from something very simple and innocent. The desire to rest the eyes and soul, drinking in the beauty of a summers day would be explanation enough, but it goes beyond that. It is like sitting in the sun and gathering warmth - deep inside - where I'll really need it on a winters eve when the snow is piling up outside the window as I write.