Sunday 13 November 2016

A Private View

A selection of Brooknerian paintings:

Boucher, The Rising of the Sun, The Setting of the Sun. Who can forget that moment in A Family Romance when Jane Manning plunges from the heat of London in 1976 into the entrance hall of the Wallace Collection and, drowning in coolness and blueness, gazes up at the great Bouchers?
Delaroche, Execution of Lady Jane Grey. Claire Pitt and a friend visit this painting in Undue Influence, a curious novel, costive and backward-looking (when it was published, it was the last of the yearly Brookners, and one might have been forgiven for thinking it her swansong).
Delacroix, Jacob and the Angel. Herz, in The Next Big Thing, visits Paris and the church of St-Sulpice solely in order to see this painting again. I was in Paris when the novel came out. I remember buying it in the W. H. Smith's in rue de Rivoli; taking it back to my hotel to read; and then, a pure Brooknerian, setting out the next morning for St-Sulpice.
Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne. At the end of the novel, Herz considers this painting, noting the charged gaze that passes between Ariadne and the god, concluding that it represents 'the real thing'.
David, Portrait of M. Blauw. Purchased by the National Gallery in 1984, this was mentioned by Brookner in an early interview. She said it was only a picture of a man with a quill pen, but it was painted with such fidelity, such felicity.

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