I might say that, loving Monet as he does, you could have told him that there was a marvellous Rembrandt not far away, a sublime Raphaël, he would not have raised an eyebrow, whereas if you told him about a river where Monet had done one of his sketches, he would have walked the whole length of it at the same inconvenient hours of the day that Monet painted it, to try to find the exact spot, the better to understand the parts that were real in one of Monet's canvases, or even perhaps what was so interesting and so real about this river that the expression of it creates a precious masterpiece, the better to understand Monet's thoughts upon seeing the thing that motivated him and to experience that from which he drew inspiration, what were the elements he needed so as to solve the problem. Jean Santeuil, Fragments Divers.

To Educate Oneself In The 21st Century  

Is  To  Follow  PROUST (1871-1922) & Reach  The  Motif 

To Take a Photo Black & White As Before

Se  Cultiver Au  21e Siècle. 

C’est  Suivre  PROUST  (1871-1922) &  Aller au Motif  

Pour Prendre une Photo Noir & Blanc Comme Avant

Je dois dire que, quand il aimait Monet, vous auriez pu lui dire qu'il y avait près de là un admirable Rembrandt, un sublime Raphaël, il ne se serait pas dérangé, tandis que si vous, aviez pu lui dire la rivière où Monet avait fait telle esquisse, il l'aurait longée tout entière aux heures incommodes où Monet peignait, pour tâcher de retrouver le lieu, pour mieux comprendre ce qu'il y a de réel dans une toile de Monet, ou plutôt peut-être ce qui dans la rivière est si intéressant, si réel que son expression soit un précieux chef-d'oeuvre, pour que l'on saisisse mieux la pensée de Monet en voyant ce qui la motivait et qu'on sente ce qui l'inclinait à l'inspiration, quels étaient les éléments dont il avait besoin pour trouver le problème.


Extract 1 (a new extract every week)


Hello Sadness

Sadness is also part of any household, in France and elsewhere. One day, Alice Hoschedé-Monet – we will use the compound name for convenience – was sorting through some old papers and found an article Mirbeau had written about Monet’s portrait of Suzanne, the daughter she lost in 1899. 

She wrote the following in her diary: What more beautiful model could one have had but you, my daughter, my supreme perfection? – He says: She is of a delicate and sad beauty, infinitely sad. The impression is striking. It unwittingly brings to mind such an ethereal, ghostly, and real specter of the soul! Isn’t it extraordinary clairvoyance, my poor child? 

We are reminded of the Pavane for a Dead Princess, which Maurice Ravel composed in 1899. While Debussy is “classified” as an Impressionist – although he sometimes, but not always, denied this – some of Ravel’s works can also be related to the movement, for the better. 


Extract 1 (a new extract every week)

… It goes without saying that if one wishes to follow the footsteps of the “master” of Giverny, here or anywhere along the Côte d’Albâtre, one must walk down to the beach, avoid the sun and its (sometimes) crushing zenithal light, sit down on the shingle and observe:  What joy to see the movement of the sea again, he wrote in 1897, namely 15 years after his first stay… 

This way we are more likely to understand how Monet treats light waves as musicians treat sound waves. Both types of vibration are equivalent. Their harmonies obey the same inevitable laws, and two tones in painting are juxtaposed according to the same rigorous necessities as two notes in a harmony. Better still: the differents episodes of a series segue into one another like the differnet parts of a symphony. The pictorial drama unfolds along the same principles as the musical drama. George Grappe might well have had Wagner in mind when he wrote these few lines: Let us continue with our image of the sea in order to describe the nature of music. If rhythm and melody are the shores on which music lands and is secured by making them, the continents of these arts of common origin, fruitful, then sound itself is its original fluid element; the infinite, boudless extent of this fluid is the sea of harmony. The eye only perceives the surface of the sea: only at the bottom of one’s heart can one conceive of its depth. 

One must listen to Debussy. The composer stayed in Pourville during the summer of 1915. Two sonatas and piano studies were born here. He puts a lot of love into them, and a lot of faith in the future… of his Études. According to him this music soars over the heights of execution. He admits he is glad to have brought to fruition a body of work which, without false vanity, will be of some importance...

However, in the headphones of the Monet-Hoschedé family, his wife and his daughter-in-law,  comfortably settled as we are, facing the waves, we much prefer to listen to – at lest I suppose so; otherwise what would be the use of literary uchronia – the “local” composer’s second movement of The Sea.

Monet On The Beach

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