Monday, May 21, 2012

Berthe Morrisot Returning Home To Her Canvas And Thoughts

The work of female Impressionist ,Berthe Morrisot, is on exhibit now in Paris through July. The news of the exhibit, read by me on Marie-France's actu-blog , along with her beautiful replication of Manet's portrait, inspired this poem. Slightly different from the original, Marie-France's study expresses a softer and more vulnerable side of Mme Morrisot. Graceful lines and suffusion of color, lend her a wistful poise, a reflective glance at some place or memory in time. What strikes me as the observer, is how an artist conceives an idea for a painting, looks at a familiar scene and imagines it to be something else.

Here, my poem captures the painter returning home from her morning carriage ride and calling on the light like a suitor for inspiration. She is lured to the back door and observes the scenery. She begins to think of an idea for a painting and perceives the yard as more than a mere garden. At first, she tinkers with the thought of a grotto and then becomes intrigued with the concept of a grove. She imagines a young woman picking oranges on a ladder, baring her ankles and soul to the air. The girl becomes an extension of her own conflict; a fear of losing her place in society if she steps beyond the cultural limits and a need to reach further left for the prized fruit, the passionate goal --- to become a great artist, recognized and revered at the prestigious Salon de Paris.

My silk hat and gloves
laid on the table.
Like a suitor I call
for the light
hoping he'll warm my hand,
guide my brush.

The back door's open, sun dangling
between shade leaves
in the garden, or grotto -- no
this grove.

What does a girl feel
on a ladder picking oranges,
the wind lifting her skirt,
her ankles bared, bathed
in fragrance, daring
to be seen?

She might fear the loss
of her balance
or court the risk,
reaching further left
to grasp the prized fruit --
the glow. Her taste ripe
for deeper passion.

As my poem strives to define how Mme. Morrisot  may have possibly conceived the subject and theme
for her painting, "Young Girl Picking Oranges", the authentic  deviates from the usual subject matter found in a majority of her paintings. Still the work is completed with the  same mastery of color, movement and light.

Note -- Please take some time to visit the on-line art gallery of French artist, Marie-France Riviere and Actu-Blog at Her drawings are remarkable, cleverly imagined and
presented with unique grace and perspective!

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