Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Rousseau Crow

Boy on the Rocks (1895-7)

Girl with a Doll (1905)

I just read that Boy on the Rocks might be a painting of a dead boy. Somebody may have commissioned Rousseau to paint their dead child. Rousseau painted a tiny man in the flower of early adulthood preparing to flip over these medieval cliffs (the kind that may crag through the wilderness of St. John the Baptist in much older paintings) into eternity, like a fish. Like how Caillebot's zombies (1876-77), strolling in black over gray stones, are really nothing but fish. Rousseau saw them and sent them to heaven in little bodies,

which Balthus, that deviant, tried to return right into his mouth (1949):

I'd like to invite another world to the cacophony, for comparison, from the Rococco Jean-Etienne Liotard (1765):

Look at Rousseau's girl. I'm sure you've noticed she has no legs (mermaid, lobster); the grass may be tall and or it is solid, she may be sitting, she may be floating--

but what legless thing is she holding?

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