icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Picturing a World

Cezanne and energeia

In the catalogue for the grand retrospective of Cezanne's work now at the Tate Gallery in London, artist Paul Chan writes that the Aristotelian concept of energeia or "aliveness" is the motion that enables living things to think and move independently. He sees all of Cezanne's paintings of bathers as being full of such motion, such energy. Better yet, the bathers are "at ease with themselves. They look pleased by simply being, enlivened by their surroundings and by each other, enjoying themselves without guilt, aggression, or fear." It's good to have the midterm elections behind us. In a dark time of far too much stubborn aggression and fear, however, isn't it also good to be reminded that the arts can give readers, viewers, and listeners a surge of life-giving energy and joy?

Be the first to comment