Monday, June 30, 2008

Brown Studies of Mid-Winter

John Constable, Seascape Study with Rain Cloud, c.1824

J M W Turner, Shade and Darkness: Evening of the Deluge, 1856

Ivan Aivasovsky, Storm, 1886
Turner has just opened at The Met, and the New York summer is simmering with his sublime and stormy vortices. Yet, Turner is more in tune with the dark and brooding mid-winter mood that pervades the south of the southern hemisphere at present. The days struggle by, life is eked out, the small servings of sunshine are so diluted as to be all but pointless. And so the mind counters with its store of memories. Of encounters with Constable in England, and of remembering the trip to the Russian State Museum and the Hermitage, and the revelation of Ivan Aiavasovsky, those tumultuous, turbulent images ... an amplification of winter's depths, and a moment of ascetic, aesthetic pleasure on a morning of pack ice and freezing fog, in a brown study ... winter is a nineteenth century season ...

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