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Picturing a World

Apple Day

Blog post alert: Gorgeous photographs of apples in an Orchard of Kent celebrate England's Apple Day. Everyone—historical novel writers in particular—should do themselves a favor and seek out heirloom apples to savor the tastes of the past. For more about apples and Apple Day, click here.
As for today's image: I chose it partly to respect the copyright of the Spitalsfield Life photographer, Rachel Ferriman, and partly to celebrate Pavel Machotka's illuminating study, Cézanne: The Eye and the Mind, which I finished reading this morning. Written by a deeply learned art historian who was also a painter, it explains such things as the difference between what the wrist and the forearm do as well as how colors relate or the effect of brushstrokes in vivifying or stabilizing a composition. A wonderful resource.

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I have now visited the Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway show at the Clark twice, once with no prior preparation and once after reading the catalogue. To prepare for a third visit, I have begun reading Pavel Machotka's Cézanne: Landscape into Art in hopes of discovering useful ways of thinking about the paintings; for Astrup's deeply felt response to his native landscape remind me of Cezanne's. What Machotka unexpectedly gave me, too, was a way of thinking about a story I've been working on.

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Rocks at L'Estaque

This painting was at the back of my mind for when I imagined a vineyard terraced below a limestone escarpment on the grounds of Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium. Edward helps tend grapevines there in February 1880. It tickled me to discover in preparing this post that the picture was painted two years later in February 1882  Read More 
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Sea at L’Estaque

Edward is discouraged by his first view outside the L’Estaque train station, but then Winkie turns him around to look out over the bay of Marseille. For another version of this painting, click here. For another view from higher up, click here. For others, click here, here, here, and here.  Read More 
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View from a train station

Originally, I had intended to give the Renicks’ a house in Aix-en-Provence, where I spent a semester my sophomore year in college, and place Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium near its thermal springs. Jeanette and Effie were to stay for a longish visit and encounter Edward swimming in the river Arc, where Paul Cézanne and Êmile Zola swam as boys. Read More 
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French artistic training in the 19th C centered on the nude figure, which was easily incorporated into paintings with classical subjects. Artists of modern life who wanted to put their training to use took up bathers as a subject, as Anders Zorn’s Against the Current illustrates the topic. My actual inspiration for the scene in which Jeanette, Amy, and Emily go swimming at Pont Aven was his painting Out, for which I cannot find a large reproduction online. I loved the way the figures in that painting are tonally part of the landscape, as they are in a related painting Opal.

EDIT: Well! Late in the day of this post, I have just double-checked the link to Zorn's Opal and been taken to the correct write-up but the wrong painting at the Worcester Art Museum. A weird computer glitch, which I hope becomes self-correcting. At least, the Eakins and Cezanne links below work! Read More 
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