Previous: Phoning in, with a message to the Cult of the Open Mind (15)

Next: Roundup (12)

The whole of painting

Post #834 • July 20, 2006, 3:32 PM • 15 Comments

Rilke, from Letters on Cézanne:

There's something else I wanted to say about Cézanne: that no one before him ever demonstrated so clearly the extent to which painting is something that takes place among the colors, and how one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse: this is the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human delberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, is already disturbing and clouding their activity. Ideally a painter (and, generally, an artist) should not become conscious of his insights: without taking the detour through his reflective processes, and incomprehensibly to himself, all his progress should enter so swiftly into the work that he is unable to recognize them in the moment of transition. Alas, the artist who waits in ambush there, watching, detaining them, will find them transformed like the beautiful gold in the fairy tale which cannot remain gold because some small detail was not taken care of.

Comment

1.

oldpro

July 20, 2006, 4:23 PM

Nice.

Did you notice the translator of the book? It's probably my cousin, Jane Greene.

2.

Franklin

July 20, 2006, 4:26 PM

This particular translation is by Joel Agee. I found it at a used bookstore.

3.

oldpro

July 20, 2006, 4:47 PM

Oh, I see, Mr. Hotshot escapee. I suppose they have used bookshops up there too.

4.

Franklin

July 20, 2006, 4:58 PM

One or two.

5.

Marc Country

July 20, 2006, 5:40 PM

I'm sure Jane Greene's translation reads "disturbing AND clouding"...

6.

Franklin

July 20, 2006, 5:41 PM

Maybe.

7.

Jack

July 20, 2006, 6:28 PM

This general concept also applies in opera, where many of the greatest singers can't or don't care to explain how they do it, or why they can do it so much better than others. I believe it was Lauritz Melchior, arguably the greatest Wagnerian tenor of all time, who, when asked for his secret, could only respond with "I just open my mouth and push."

8.

oldpro

July 20, 2006, 6:35 PM

That's called the "Lamaze Method" of opera singing, Jack

9.

oldpro

July 20, 2006, 6:37 PM

Tends to sound like screeching sometimes, but the results are remarkable.

10.

Jack

July 20, 2006, 7:45 PM

It all depends on what equipment one is working with, OP. All diaphragms are not created equal.

11.

oldpro

July 20, 2006, 7:58 PM

Well, it's when they are not working that you progress to the Lamaze stage.

12.

Chipper

July 21, 2006, 7:12 AM

This sounds like it could have appeared in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
by Shunryn Suzuki.

13.

Chipper

July 21, 2006, 7:12 AM

This sounds like it could have appeared in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
by Shunryn Suzuki.

14.

Chippper

July 21, 2006, 7:14 AM

Sorry about the double post I sneezed as I hit enter

15.

Noah

July 21, 2006, 11:48 AM

Good quote.I never could paint trying to methodically problem solve . It's more like hoping to be ambushed than waiting to ambush. No guarantees one will be hit by lightening but knowing where a storm is and climbing a tree increases the odds.

Subscribe

@franklin_e

franklin.e

Offers

Other Projects

Legal

Design and content ©2003-2017 Franklin Einspruch except where otherwise noted