japonisme: ondine

19 February 2007


i fell in love with this ondine by gauguin the first time i saw it. it's the color and the move- ment of it, yes, and at one point i realized about its lines, its uses of colors (inclu- ding the outline). but i think mainly it was the sense of surrender, probably the world's poten- tially best and worst thing.

i also now realize that it's the imperfection of it all i love too. the academy in france wanted perfection; that's part of why regular day-to-day humans were rarely portrayed; we saw gods and goddesses, kings and queens. and dogs. in this painting by firmin-girard, while japan's artifacts have been incorporated, he was a straight academician.

the japanese, along with all their other gifts, gave us real people, real bodies, and that's what i see in the gauguin. these catfish hunters from yoshitoshi taiso are far more related to gauguin's ondine than to girard's pampered sweetheart.

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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