|William Henry Toms after Egbert van Heemskerck II|
Satire on Art Auctions, set in a saleroom at night
Publication – is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man –
Poverty – be justifying
For so foul a thing
Possibly – but We – would rather
From Our Garret go
White – unto the White Creator –
Than invest – Our Snow –
Thought belong to Him who gave it –
Then – to Him Who bear
Its Corporeal illustration – sell
The Royal Air –
In the Parcel – Be the Merchant
Of the Heavenly Grace –
But reduce no Human Spirit
To Disgrace of Price –
– Emily Dickinson (1863)
Trade-card for J. Clough, Drawing Master
hand-colored etching, engraving, letterpress
Old and ragged artist praising his young student's work
from The Connoisseur
If my father had praised me a little when I climbed the tree,
If when I swam the stream he hadn't looked away,
Maybe I wouldn't need your praise now
When I tell you what the still lifes of Cézanne
Say about pears and pitchers, tables and tablecloths.
You could believe or disbelieve. I'd be happy enough
Making my point with a graceful gesture under the grey eyes
Of eternity, eyes like my own, but colder and more removed.
Maybe my father was trying to prepare me for the world
Where no one listens and hadn't learned what a hardy bloomer
The heart is if watered early. Not watered then,
It never gets enough, though replanted near a waterfall.
– Carl Dennis (1983)
|Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale|
The Painter submitting his Picture
to the Examination of Connoisseurs and Antiquarians
The Critic Intervenes
Vision, Volumes and Recession
(Portrait of Roger Fry lecturing on Art)
Portrait of a man admiring a painting on an easel
Octagon Room in the Royal Academy hung with paintings, viewed by connoisseurs
|Adriaan de Lelie|
Art Gallery of Jan Gildemeester Jansz in Amsterdam, viewed by connoisseurs
oil on panel
from Chinese Whispers
And in a little while we broke under the strain:
suppurations ad nauseam, the wanting to be taller,
though it's simply about being mysterious, i.e., not taller,
like any tree in any forest.
Mute, the pancake describes you.
It had tiny roman numerals embedded in its rim.
It was a pancake clock. They had 'em in those days,
always getting smaller, which is why they finally became extinct.
It was a hundred years before anyone noticed.
The governor general
called it "sinuous." But we, we had other names for it,
knew it was going to be around for a long time,
even though extinct. And sure as shillelaghs fall from trees
onto frozen doorsteps, it came round again
when all memory of it had been expunged
from the common brain.
Everybody wants to try one of those new pancake clocks.
* * *
The trees, the barren trees, have been described more than once.
Always they are taller, it seems, and the river passes them
without noticing. We, too, are taller,
our ceilings higher, our walls more tinctured
with telling frescoes, our dooryards both airier and vaguer,
according as time passes and weaves its minute deceptions in and out,
a secret thread.
Peace is a full stop.
And though we had some chance of slipping past the blockade,
now only time will consent to have anything to do with us,
for what purpose we do not know.
– John Ashbery (2001)
|Giovanni Battista Piranesi|
View of Palazzo Salviati-Mancini on the Corso
(site of the French Academy in Rome)
|Jules Joseph Guillaume Bourdet|
Baker delivering bread to an artist in his studio, and criticizing the pictures
(croûte was slang for a badly-painted piece of work)
|Antoine Gaymard after Ernest Meissonier|
A Painter in his Studio with Admirers
|attributed to Salomon De Bray|
|attributed to Salomon De Bray|