Monday, 21 September 2020

"When I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty.'”


Gustave Courbet, Woman with a Parrot, 1866

“I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty.'”
~ Gustave Courbet

About Courbet's famous nude (his first to be accepted by the Paris Salon in 1866 after a previous entry in 1864 was rejected as indecent), artist Michael Newberry explains that Courbet
shows us a special moment of freedom where there is no baggage, no pain, and no suffering –– as if they had never existed. This is significant because it aligns with Aristotle's eudaemonia and it aligns with a healthy psychology, the concept of holding a vision as a guide to what we are living for, which painting and sculpture are the ideal mediums to show what these visions look like.
    Her skin is aglow with health; her body speaks of flowing generous proportions; her hands are sensuously elegant; and her head is gently rotated and lifted. Her eyes are half closed in a dreamy indulgence of the moment. The high note of the painting is the gorgeous shape of her left hand on which the parrot is perched. She is not holding the parrot back, rather her hand is an affectionate, soft support, inspiring the bird to enjoy her human connection. Notice how complementary the shapes of her fingers are in relationship with the bird's spread wings. There is also a subtle bit of balmy synthesia: notice the warmish brown coloring of the shadows around her crotch, breast, and particularly around her languid eyes the hue gives off the slightly moist scent of musk. She is undoubtedly slowly waking up from a very satisfying dusky afternoon siesta.
(Excerpt from Newberry's upcoming book Evolution Through Art.)
.

No comments:

Post a comment

Comments are moderated to encourage honest conversation, and remove persistent trolls.