Richibi’s Weblog

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Month: November, 2013

my Amsterdam, November 30, 2013

      Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers - Paul Gauguin

Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers (1888)

Paul Gauguin


after experiencing a superb Gauguin,
and an, somewhat more reticent, though
ultimately entirely convincing, other, at
the Amsterdam Hermitage, an offshoot
of the mother house in St Petersburg
there, part of an exhibition on the Nabis,
I tempered my irritation around him and
determined to give him another chance,
he’d mistreated the sublime van Gogh,
enough for me to discredit him, if only for
his lack of aesthetic judgment, not bowing
before van Gogh’s manifest preeminence

the painting above, Van Gogh Painting
did much, also, to rehabilitate
him for me, and in the very instant

his Self-Portrait Dedicated to Vincent van
Gogh (Les Misérables)
teeming with
flowers that seem to me like a swarm of
insects, is at least respectful

that’s apparently van Gogh in the upper
right hand corner

who ever would ‘a’ thunk it


sharpening one’s pencil‏

  Cottage and Woman with Goat - Vincent van Gogh

                     Cottage and Woman and Goat (1885)

                                       Vincent van Gogh 

  Village Street in Winter - Gustave Courbet

                               “Village Street in Winter(1865) 

                                     Gustave Courbet  
having considered that I’ve just spent
hours and days in some of the world’s
finest museums, you’ll perhaps pardon
my ebullience, I’ve never to date
juxtaposed two art works, I think, for
your consideration
but I scream, essentially, at everyone
with whom I visit a museum ever,
juxtapose, juxtapose, juxtapose, it
is the truest path to aesthetic erudition,
should you be so inclined, I call it,
sharpening one’s pencil 
having been overwhelmed by very
miracles of art, my mom and I, throughout
our European visit, in, specifically, Bruges,
Ghent, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, the
two above, van Gogh‘s Cottage“, called
at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, and
some of, therefore, our last, burn for me
especially bright, standing naturally
together as comparable works of art,
though choosing between them is like
deciding between oranges and apples
but that’s the point, your aesthetic
sensibility says more about you than
it says about art, if you’ll surrender to 
that exploration 
and like apples and oranges, it depends
on your mood that day
which is also the point
Farmhouse” for me was a surprise, I’d
never seen this particular, wonderful, 
van Gogh, the Courbet, also a wonder,
stuck more to an anticipated style, where
van Gogh‘s more rural settings had never 
been for me his most successful, I’ll have
to change my mind about that
we’d visited the Städel for the splendid
Courbet exhibition we saw there the last
time we were there, when he became, 
along with Rembrandt – wow, Rembrandt – 
one of Mom’s now two favourite painters
right now for me it’s still, maybe, Canaletto,
either of them, or Chagall, Klimt, Schiele,
Monet, Avercamp, Filippo Lippi, and too
many others to really remember, I’ve
given up to merely enjoy 
here’s hoping you do too  
        and follow the icon to enlarge it (+), for an
        alternate, more exact, if I remember, view of 
        Cottage“, which I couldn’t copy for this page,
        you’ll notice a remarkable difference

my Amsterdam, November 7, 2013‏

    Canal in Amsterdam - Claude Monet

                                      Canal in Amsterdam(1874) 

                                          Claude Monet
in the morning we sit by the large
paned double windows that frame
the masterpiece that sits before our
eyes, beyond a little cement and
wrought iron bridge that crosses
our canal another canal runs 
perpendicular and away from us
between a row on either side of 
trees, their leaves pale yellow
mostly, from late fall, with patches
here and there, like incidental
brushstrokes, of less vivid, or
weathered, if you like, greens 
cobblestone paths along either bank,
charming but precarious, serve
pedestrians, cyclists in their dozens,
and the occasional adventurous car 
willing to tackle the more lackadaisical
pace and unpredictability of bicycles,
people and everywhere watery
roadblocks, Renaissance gingerbread
houses hold the fort on either side of
the canvas, geometrically ceding to,
and doing a master class in,
in the distance, of course, the obligatory
steeple, infallably sounding on the quarter
this morning a flight of what looked
to me like doves, so I’ll call them
doves, to touch up anyway with white
and peaceful thoughts my story, cast
magic by fretting in flocks vertiginously
between the parallel lines of trees, just 
ahead of our front row seats   
a symphony, I said to my mom, though
for the birds it must’ve been tumultuous,
a  rash, maybe, anthropomorphismbut
their tumult has only ever translated for
me as immutably grace
people were taking pictures with their
smartphones, whirling skyward to the
avian poetry
we counted our blessings as we 
breakfasted on coffee, bread and
later we’re off to the Rijksmuseum 
to witness other visual wonders