Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Lost Images Of Lost Landscapes

Among the elite and aristocratic classes, watercolor painting was one of the incidental adornments of a good education, especially for women. By contrast, watercoloring was also valued by surveyors, mapmakers, military officers and engineers for its usefulness in depicting properties, terrain, fortifications or geology in the field and for illustrating public works or commissioned projects. ... These stimulated the demand for topographical painters who churned out memento paintings of famous sites (and sights) along the Grand Tour to Italy that was traveled by every fashionable young man or woman of the time.

It’s not unheard of for an amateur—
it’s not common but it’s not unheard of—
to be better than a professional.

Professionals sometimes get cynical
and just go through the motions so often
that they become professional at that—
skillfully going through skillful motions.

Some amateurs keep their passions alive
and their passions help them acquire great skill.

It’s not common but it’s not unheard of.

I wonder: Where are those watercolors
passionate young men and women painted
to study and remember the landscapes
surrounding them as they moved through their youth?

The images weren’t political
or a cultural movement’s artifacts
and the painters didn’t need a dealer
to drum up a fashion craze for a buck.

I wonder: Is it really a surprise
these images are something close to lost
regardless of how well they were painted?

Everyone’s a professional now.

I wonder: What does this landscape look like?
Does it exist outside of photographs
or skillfully painted copies of them?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Real World In Georges Seurat’s Notebooks

“When All My Words About Britney Disappear”

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