Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Saturn In Libra In Our Night Sky

Last week when I did the post about Saturn on the cusp between Virgo and Libra, Everything’s Still There, I went back and re-read my 2008 post Libra And The Alchemical Sky.

Even though I’m not that great a fan of Vermeer’s paintings, I was struck by how beautiful that image is, the Vermeer oil painting, “A Woman Holding A Balance.”

Wikipedia’s page on Vermeer passes along the estimate that Vermeer completed, probably, about three paintings in a normal year.

And I got to thinking, again, about what place a single image can have in a culture. And especially what place a single image can have in a culture like ours, defined by moving pictures of various kinds.

This Woman From The Canals Of Mars

Refuge, Sanctuary And Asylum As Synonyms

Pretty Crates Above Train Tracks

I love moving pictures of all kinds. But I love paintings, too. But there doesn’t seem to be much of a place in a culture defined by moving images for still, individual images.

They don’t seem to be things that can co-exist, both as dynamic, happening forces within a culture. The moving images seem to displace the still images as a dominant medium. Or so it seems to me.

Single images certainly still exist, but could a painter—a painter like Vermeer—support himself or herself today, doing three paintings a year?

This is really interesting to me. Wondering what we’ve gained, what we’ve lost. So I’ve been trying to think of something to write about that kind of thing. Moving images. Still images.

Tuesday evening I wrote this.


Some estimates are Vermeer completed
three or four paintings in a normal year.

If Vermeer had taken his idea
for the scene “Woman Holding A Balance”
and created it as animation
say a three minute music video
rather than composing an oil painting,
if Vermeer worked at a normal frame-rate
and painted at his normal working speed
and maintained his exacting quality
it would have taken him on the order
of fifteen hundred years to do the work.

Putting in fifteen hundred years of work
tests an artist’s commitment to their craft.

But then the completed work in itself
would testify to the artist’s passion
and to the artist’s belief in the piece.

Probably the finished animation
would be very beautiful to look at.

A woman with a hand-held scales device.

The scales moving slightly, rising, falling.

The woman inclining her head slightly.

Light shimmering on the scales and woman.

In a museum or a rich person’s house
two people would watch the animation.

One would say, “Fifteen hundred years for this?”

The second person would look at the first,
just stand looking, their head inclined slightly.

No comments: