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Picturing a World

Studio and rooftops

Three things I love: pictures of 19th C artists' studios, landscapes out over rooftops, and glimpses of worlds through windows. All three are present in Dagnan-Bouveret's painting. Look at the Japanese parasol on the far wall, the Oriental rug used as a table cover, the blue-and-white jug—to hold paintbrushes, no less. Or out the window at golden light over Paris. I haven't been able to track down where the original hangs; but as a stimulus to imagination, it doesn't matter.

If that's the artist, what is he thinking? If it's the sitter waiting for a session, what is he thinking? Has he just had a cup of tea or an aperitif from the table behind him? If you substitute a woman, who will she be? Where will she be in the room? Make her the artist. Will she be looking out those windows over the roofs of Paris? If so, why and in what mood? Will she pace the floor or burst into the room exhilarated or agitated? It can't be said too often: On the one hand, paintings can supply exact details to give authenticity to historical fiction. On the other, they can prompt  you to invent a world of your own.


Via Gurney Journey

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