Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Song of the Lark

The theme painting of this blog—The Angelus by Jean-François Millet—would rightly suggest that I am a great fan of the French "peasant farmer" movement (Millet's other two masterpieces, The Sower and The Gleaners are spectacular as well.)

My family was in Chicago over the Christmas holiday last and spent an afternoon in the Art Institute there. I was searching for my wife, to tell her that we probably needed to be going, when I rounded the corner and was brought up short by The Song of the Lark by Jules Breton (the best, I think, of all of his works, although I have only seen a few of the originals.) I just stood there, transfixed. Not very poetic of me, but my exact word was, "Wow!" I'm not even close to a great art aficionado, but this painting is so evocative that I got choked up the other day just describing it to somebody.

Obviously no digital specimen can come even close to capturing the wonder of the original. If you are in Chicago, go see it.

3 comments:

Lydia said...

I loved this painting too- and posted a photo on facebook. Somebody asked me who made it and I was having such a hard time identifying it. I thought it was Millet. Your blog cleared it up- thanks!

Roaerie Studio said...

One of my favorite paintings. I grew up seeing it on a regular basis and I believe it has had a lot of influence on the development of my own artistic style, especially the amazing striking colors of Breton's sun. It really does need to be seen in person to appreciate it.

Karl said...

Thanks for posting! Years ago, on a trip to Chicago, I spent my only afternoon ever in the Art Institute. And the biggest part of that afternoon was spent staring at this painting - I had no idea why I was so transfixed, as I had never seen the painting before, but it spoke to something deep in me...

Almost 20 years later, last December, I finished reading Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward, Angel". During the early chapters I felt this intense sense of connectedness with the main character. As the protagonist (really Thomas Wolfe himself) got to grade-school age, he had an interesting experience. He and the class were shown a picture of a painting and then were told to write an essay. From the flurry of words that the protagonist put down, you could tell that he was deeply moved, but you could also tell something about the painting. The title of the painting is mentioned "The Song of the Lark", and I wonder if it is not in fact the same painting I had surprisingly fallen in love with almost two decades earlier. What an amazing moment it was to connect with an artist (two, really) long gone.