Monday, October 14, 2013

Paris Journal I: La Renaissance et le reve

How unoriginal surrealism was! It stole all its ideas from dreams and from earlier works of art. Dali et al were great promoters and the impact of the Surrealists is such that when you are walking through “La Renaissance et le Reve,” the exhibit now running at the Musee du Luxembourg, you keep thinking how that the works of Bosch, El Greco, Bronzino, Durer amongst others exhibited epitomize twentieth century surrealism. One of the loveliest things about the show are its locutions. The same wine may be served in different bottles, but there are nuances that can’t readily be translated. Thus the curators ask “comment representer ce que reve un revuer?” "le reveur peut-il entrer en contact avec le devin?” The show also points to the fact that the image of the sleeping woman is associated with dreaming using Ghilandaio’s "Allegory of the Night,” depicting a naked woman, an hourglass, a lamp being lit and masks to make its point. Then there are the classifications of the show: “Visions de l’au-dela” (Visions of the Beyond), “La vacance de l'ame” (Journey of the Soul), “La Vie est un reve” (footnoting Calderon’s 17th century classic Life is a Dream). In the Visions de l’au-dela category you have El Greco’s “La Reve du Phillip II,” which is almost hieroglyphic in its complexity. But there are lots of royal and biblical dreams including Garofalo’s “Apparition de Sainte Pierre et Sainte Paul a l’emperor Constantine" and dreams of Jacob by Ludovic Cardi’s  and Giorgio Vasari. No exhibit of Renaissance dreaming would be replete without Bosch’s visions of apocalypse or at least one Durer dream (“The Dream of the Doctor “) and the current show even includes a book, Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a DreamGuess what? You can find this one on Amazon!

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