Trees at Dusk

From George Clemenceau’s Claude Monet: The Water-Lilies and other writings on art

We experience the world only through whatever our five senses can bring in…

and as for our struggle to catch the motions of light itself, they go all the way back … to the very first paintings in prehistoric times.

That was our opening attempt to understand the external, and ever since we have not ceased to reach out …

to pursue the endless enticements of space and time.

Because the art we encounter is the vibrant source of our negotiation of the world and also of ourselves, we never cease to draw from them subtle hints of some deep and universal order …

sanctifying our encounter with an experience of sheer beauty.

But the light of the world will never keep still …

the spectrum scattering and recomposing constantly and all around.

To engage it, the painter must commit to a life in close combat …

expressing what he sees with constructs that have no existence in the natural world …

juxtaposing and mixing and layering colors to catch effects of light …

that can never be more than momentary.

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