Friday, April 29, 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 14 - Velvet, Silk, Lace

Alexandre Charles Emmanuel de Crussol-Florensac (1743-1815)
Vigee Le Brun

One more poem and I'll finally be caught up for the whole damn month. Whew indeed. So here is Day 14, second last catchup piece, inspired by a visit to the Vigee Le Brun special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the most talented portraitists of her time and a consummate artist, she's nowhere near as well-known as she deserves to be. The colours of her oils and pastels are so fresh, it's hard to believe they were painted in the 1800s. What caught my eye most of all though were her treatment of textiles - one can tell the type of fabric of the costume by just a glance. It's amazing - velvet, embroidered gold threads, watered silk, even plush carpet, all of them delineated only by brush strokes and colour.

#14: Velvet, Silk, Lace

Mere brush and paint can't convey weight
But somehow, she does - 
Vigee Le Brun, French portraitist extraordinaire.
There is sumptuous heaviness in the colours
Of her velvets, the lustre of fine pile
So vivid it feels as if one could stretch a hand
To the canvas and touch it, feel its texture
Soft as Persian kitten fur.
Brush strokes, both thick and fine
Delineate silk, lace, gossamer
With nothing more than colour and consummate skill.
Artistry in light and shadow
The world in the sharp-honed eyes
Of a master:

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