It is all image, color, dreaming, mind.
It feels so natural.To me.
Interesting info from Janson History of Art (2nd edition 1977)…
“Stone Age men were content to collect pebbles, as well as less durable specimens, in whose natural shape they saw something that rendered them ‘magic’; echoes of this approach can sometims be felt in later, more fully worked pieces. Thus the so-called Venus of Willendorf, one of many such female fertility figurines, has a bulbous roundness of form that recalls an egg-shaped ‘sacred pebble’; her navel, the central point of the design, is a natural cavity in the stone. ”
This reminds me of collecting pebbles as a child.
A kind of connection with unknown people long long ago.
And I feel again the joy of the lovely round forms of the warm pebbles in my hand.
Series: Favorite Paintings
Catena Saint Jerome in his Study from the National Gallery
Standing alone before St Jerome.
Wandering through the National Gallery in London, I am always looking for my favorite paintings. One of them is St Jerome in his Study by Catena. Some years ago, I fell in love with this painting. As no other people seemed interested, I could watch St Jerome for a long time without being disturbed. It gave me a wonderful feeling, to stand alone before this painting. I felt totally quiet.
Readers and silence.
There is silence. The bird does not make noise.
The lion is sleeping. St Jerome is reading.
It is this act of reading which is holding my attention. Reading is an interaction between two people, the author and the reader, actually from author to reader. It is a lonely activity. Readers are alone with their thoughts. Before this painting, I forget all the people, walking behind me through the National Gallery rooms.
I am just there with another reader, although he cannot talk with me. That does not matter. Readers like other readers. Readers like silence.
Colors and composition.
The quiet green and brown colors and the geometrical composition with right lines are greatly contributing to the feeling of rest.
The reading St Jerome in his red and blue gown.
The view through the window of the blue grey mountains and the sea.
And especially the sleeping lion.
I love paintings because of the pleasure of lines and colors.
Moreover, they are arousing old and new thoughts and feelings.
Some feelings are reminding of personal life events, sad and happy ones.
New thoughts are sometimes more interesting. They can produce another way of looking, of thinking, about personal life, about humanity, about the world.
Perhaps this painting is representing another meaning than a reading St Jerome. I am sure it has many different meanings. Sometimes that is important, sometimes not.
The painter creates, the art lover re-creates.
I am an art lover. I value art historians and art books highly. Art books show me details, I could overlook. They help me seeing more. However, when I am standing before a painting, it is between the painter and me. It is about what he wants to show and say, and about what I think and feel.
Jerome – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vincenzo Catena | artist | active 1506 – 1531 | The National Gallery, London
Vincenzo Catena | Saint Jerome in his Study | NG694 | The National Gallery, London
Other paintings of St Jerome
Some years ago, I visited Champmol in Dijon, the grounds of the old monastery of Chartreuse de Champmol, today a psychiatric hospital. I made the journey just for visiting the sculptures of Claus Sluter. After some rather heavy traffic, I drove onto the site. At my surprise, there was a small parking for visitors under beautiful trees. Walking across the site, I met only a few friendly patients and nurses. It was a hot day, but thanks to the trees, it was very pleasant.
Of course, I went straight to the Well of Moses, in a backyard with some scattered construction material. I could walk around the sculpture group as many times as I wanted to. Nobody disturbed me. It is always nice to be alone with a work of art. It is as if you are alone with the artist. It is exciting to stand in front of a sculpture and realizing that ages ago an artist has touched it with his hands.
The second sculpture group was in the chapel. After a short walk under beautiful trees, I went into the portal of the chapel. It was there in the portal that the beautiful statue of Maria struck me. I have seen many beautiful medieval sculptures. Mostly, they were more static and serious. This time however, I saw a very lively Maria. She was moving, turning and smiling, with the child on her arm. It was as if I was seeing my grandmother, my mother, and many other women, washing, cleaning and caring for their child. There was something human between the mother and her child. Maria seemed almost real. I loved it. Never before I saw such a lovely statue of Maria, of any woman. It was worth the trip. Go see it when you are in the neighborhood. Claus Sluter has made a beautiful image in favor of women.
Last week, after a troublesome journey, I arrived at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. After some queuing up in the rain I was going at once to Jan Six. There he was, with his beautiful red coat. I liked him at first sight. His appearance, his posture. His polite impatience, was he going out ? His gorgeous cloths. The many buttons. Most of all I liked his eyes. Were they green ? Friendly but a little absent. He had other things on his mind.
In another room his etch, more casual, Jan Six was leaning against a window-sill. Reading some papers. As if not aware of the portraitist.
A reader lives in another world or age. Forgets the other people around. Can a reader be unaware of the attention when pictured ? Is it possible to picture the very moment of reading ?
Both portraits showed a real person. Someone you could give a hand and speak to. I felt the presence of two people. Jan Six or was it Rembrandt that I saw or maybe, interpreting, me ?