Saturday 28 February 2009

After Proust...

On my last trip to Paris, I visited the Louvre, 
and daunted by the prospect of so much great Art and so little time to view it,
 I settled on a plan to visit only one gallery - 
that which housed the works of Jean-Baptiste Chardin. 

What I hadn't realised was that this was the plan devised by Proust, in an essay, 
to quieten the feelings of envy felt by a young man of modest means but expensive tastes.

'After an encounter with Chardin, Proust had high hopes for the spiritual transformation of his sad young man... He would learn that metal and earthenware could also be enchanting, and common crockery as beautiful as precious stones... Proust promised:
" when you walk around a kitchen, you will say to yourself, this is interesting, this is grand, this is beautiful like a Chardin." '

From 'How Proust Can Change Your Life' by Alain de Boton.

John Lane calls this savouring the ordinary.
'The painting Glass of Water and Coffee Pot 
says almost everything I'd like to say...about simplicity, probity and calm.'

From 'Timeless Simplicity' by John Lane.

'Proust was demonstrating how happiness and contentment can come from learning a new way of looking at ones surroundings... Proust believed that by studying the everyday objects depicted - " bowls of fruit, jugs, coffee pots, loaves of bread, knives, glasses of wine, slabs of meat " the discontented young man would realise he was already surrounded by beauty.'

From Easy Living by Terence Conran.

 I can never look at this painting without thinking how exactly she looks like I feel, 
when I get home from Sainsbury's. 
And it's high time she took those bottles out to the recycling bin.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Chardin. I would definitely choose Chardin if I were to pick just one gallery to visit. I have only seen his paintings in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, but, of all the paintings in the museum, I linger longest at the Chardin's. He paints what is already meaningful to me, and he paints as if he knows my mind. I love the accompanying text to this post, and I had to laugh at your comment about Sainsbury's! Thank you for this lovely little art tour, Lucille.