Saturday, July 08, 2006

Paris, Day 4.

This morning I went to the Musee d'Orsay where I spent a fair amount of time on its 5th floor (impressionist painting wing, the other floors were not too exciting), where I discovered that I really like Paul Signac! (You can take a look at some of the painters and videos with commentary by yours truly here). I had seen his stuff up close in photos before, of course, but live is a lot better, because then you can really distinguish the details: his brushstrokes up close are very fine and yell defined, even more so than the rest of the pointillists'. Then, for instance, take his painting La Seine à Herblay. I counted no less than 4 different tones of white in that painting, pure and unblended (this kind of style allows no brushstroke or color blending anyway). Neat, huh?

And then, of course, you look at the painting from afar (see for instance here for an example, this one is by Maximilien Luce), and it looks totally different, like a photograph, even, you can't even tell it is pointillistic anymore.

What makes the pointillists so cool/impressive is not so much the "pixellation" of the picture (you already had that centuries before with mosaics or pictures on tapestries, for instance), but the use of color, which like other impressionists finds surprising tones in unexpected places: reds in depictions of water, orange in grass pastures, green in people's faces, for instance, and the very bright colors combined with the very sharply-defined brushstrokes give it a nice "precision" feel that as an engineer I find very elegant and aesthetically pleasing. {shrug}.

You know, seeing all these super cool paintings almost made me want to try painting something also! Which is a great reason to bring kids to as many museums, archaeological sites, monuments, libraries, etc. and get them to travel as much as possible in general. That way, they become inspired and see more possibilities for what they could do and become than what they may encounter only at home or in school.

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