Archive for August 29th, 2022

Greetings From Lilliput

georges rouault- automne ou nazareth

Georges Rouault– Automne ou Nazareth

The painter who loves his art is ruler in his own kingdom, even if he be in Lilliput and a Lilliputian himself. He transforms a kitchen maid into a fairy, and a great lady into a brothel matron, if he wants to and sees them so, for he is a seer. His vision includes everything that is alive in the past.

-Georges Rouault, Stella Vespertina (1947)

In the past few weeks, I’ve featured some artists who I consider influences. Some are obvious and some are not. What one takes away from any particular piece art is not always the obvious thing in that piece. For me, it’s usually not the subject of a painting. It can be the roughness or the fineness of the paint strokes. Or the play of light and dark. Or the use of dark linework or a singular striking color.

I have mentioned Georges Rouault a number of times here. His work, especially the work from his Miserere series, was a big influence on my early Exiles series. There is just something in his work that speaks to me.

But today I am focusing on the passage above from his Stella Vespertina, a 1947 limited edition book that featured 12 prints of his work along with short writings. It also included another favorite line of mine:

“The conscience of an artist worthy of the name is like an incurable disease which causes him endless torment but occasionally fills him with silent joy.”

I particularly like the passage at the top which I guess is because I do like my work. I guess that sounds a bit uncouth but why would any artist continue if they didn’t like their own work on some level?

It has to have something in it that satisfies or pleases the artist even if it might leave them wanting a bit more from themselves. As Rouault points out, it can provide endless torment and silent joy.

For me, my own satisfaction in my work is the main criteria for it. If it has that sense of completeness that pleases me and fills me with that silent joy, then it doesn’t matter what others might say or if it has no place in the marketplace.

I guess that does make me a ruler in my own kingdom, as Rouault put it. I can’t really say whether it is Lilliput or Camelot or even anything larger than that. When you’re in your own world, you only see yourself in relation to the parts of it around you.

But if I am a king in Lilliput, as I often believe myself to be, so be it. I am often pleased by this over which I rule and that is enough for me.

Georges Rouault Misere Images

Georges Rouault – Miserere Images

Georges Roulat Profile of Clwon 1938-39

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