Thursday, September 25, 2008

Henri Fantin-Latour

Henri Fantin-Latour. Still Life with Bong and Rush Cassette, 1866.

Few capture the idylls of summer like Fantin-Latour: a true virtuoso of sweet nostalgia, Proust in oils. Let us consider Herr Wundrum's posting of 22 September, Cotan's 1602 "Still Life with Bong" – let us put these two masters in communion, if you will. Cotan's dangling apple, as Herr Wundrum noted, is "past its best," a symbol of our mortal bodies, our languishing on Earth. Fantin-Latour's fruits are lush and suppliant. They invite us to taste of their sweetness; sticky rot is surely days away. The tray hangs casually over the edge of the table, its oblique positioning almost shocking compared to Claesz's and Cotan's rigid horizontals. A lovely bong completes the table's admirably balanced arrangement, while a cassette of Rush's classic Moving Pictures sits, absent its case, atop a much-read novel, both recalling the afternoon's sweet leisures and reminding us that technology, like these fruits and flowers, will change and fade. A sublime reminder of pleasant times.


Hermann Wundrum said...

One orange peeled, the other at the ready. The composition invites company; a pairing of the painter and viewer. Praised be the cassette and its inherent double-sidedness.

Uncle Matty said...

The autumnal foliage, exaggerated by the bold, yet unobtrusive fruit basket, brings a tear to the eye of all but the most hardened of us who bask in sweet nostalgia. A soft light and, perhaps a crisp breeze, blowing through an unseen window, makes one long for the days when the original Tom Sawyer ruled that great river.