The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

This Week's Sargent #1

Madame X (1884)


swac said...

I've seen this painting up close. Pixellated jpgs hardly do it justice. I

Rob said...

I agree, it is almost overpowering when seen for the first time. Sargent captured that kind of discreet allure in many of his paintings, and his nudes were ground-breaking. Besides, what a great name for sexy painting!


Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

I've seen this painting up close. Pixellated jpgs hardly do it justice. I

An excellent point, my confrere, and one I fussed over for a bit before going ahead. I haven't seen this painting up close, but I've seen other Sargents and there's quite a difference between a digital image of his work and the real thing.

That being said, I love Sargent's painting so much (some of his cultural attitudes I like a lot less, but that's another story) I don't think the quality is that diminished by presenting them here in a series (in case you haven't noticed, I'm doing one artist for every day o'the week).

Maybe I'm deluding myself on that point. Who knows?

Bill Peschel said...

This could be said for almost any painting. I was at a Georgia O'Keefe exhibit when I saw one of her cloud paintings. It took up the entire wall of a room.

But it's nice to be reminded of a painting like MX. And I hadn't seen the Hopper painting before at all ("New York" posted above). Lovely.

Ann O'Dyne said...

It's at the Museum in New York isn't it? I purchased a (now-faded) poster print of it there, which I treasure the sight of.

Watching the movie Charlie Wilson's War, I noticed in the background of a scene in the home of the Julia Roberts character, there was 'her-as-Madame X'.

and ... Stephen Meisl photographed Nicole Kidman as MX for Vogue last year.

One time I found via guugle-image search, a photo of the JSS London studio with the MX canvas just leaning against the wall.

Great great blog here, I salute you Sir!