Friday, December 18, 2009

Candle Hat by Billy Collins and Goya's Ghosts

Stellan SkarsgÄrd in the movie, "Goya's Ghosts" playing painter Francisco Goya.

Ray and I love art, artists and movies/books about artists, so when I tripped over this poem by Billy Collins, I just had to post it because it paints such a vivid, fun word picture of Goya's unique self-portrait. I discovered the Goya movie while surfing around the 'Net and just ordered it for Ray for Christmas because my sweet sister sent us an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas. It looks like a fabulous movie and has great customer reviews at Amazon.

Ray's favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh and mine are (tied) Amadeo Modigliani, Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya. I also love Edgar Degas's dancer paintings. Oh, and the amazing Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe are also blissfully divine! Well, I really love hundreds of artists, but those are my current top favorites.

I wish you all Love, Blessings & Peace---And please continue to pray for our beautiful Renee......

Who is your favorite artist(s)?

By Billy Collins, "Sailing Alone Around the Room", page 30

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.
Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
"Come in, " he would say, "I was just painting myself,"
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.


"Let me ask you something, what is not art?" ~Author Unknown

"Art is spirituality in drag." ~Jennifer Yane

"Painting is silent poetry." ~Plutarch, Moralia: How to Study Poetry

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen." ~Leonardo da Vinci

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail." ~Theodore Dreiser, Life, Art, and America, 1917

"The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep." ~Paul Strand


RNSANE said...

I never knew about the candle hat! Wouldn't he have love the headlights miners and doctors use?

Marion said...

Yes, Carmen, I'm sure they would have! It just cracks me up that not only Goya, but also Rembrandt, Ceyzanne, Van Gogh and others used this unique 'technique' to paint at night. How ingenious! Blessings!

Kelly said...

This is fascinating! Think of the fire hazard. In fact, I always think about that with Christmas trees and real candles.

Hmmmm... I'll have to think on the favorite artist question. That would make a good addition to my "favorite five" series!

Karen said...

What a wonderful poem! I think you and I are long lost twins, Marion. Aside from literature, art is the thing I love most. One of the reasons I love to travel is to visit art museums and galleries and see paintings and sculptures firsthand. I have so many favorites - almost whatever I'm currently looking at! I always say that everyone needs a good audience, and I am that. I do love Dali, though, and Magritte. I fell in love with Artemesia Gentillischi (sp?) after reading The Passion of Artemesia, and then I saw her's and her father's paintings in Rome. Oh, heck! I love too many to name. Name one, and I'll bet I love him or her! Thanks for making me think of all the pleasure I get from art.

quid said...

This was wonderful! I had never seen it before or heard the poem. How wonderful.

A friend of mine did a wonderful "door" photo... he is into doors, similar to a Louisiana woman I know. I will email a copy.

hugs, Quid

Marion said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! I still laugh every time I see that picture....Yes, Karen, we're surely distant cousins at least!

Quid, I'll be looking for that picture. I was perusing some journals I found from earlier this year and found a poem I'd started about doors. I'm trying to polish it up and finish it to post before I leave next week.

Love & Blessings to you all! XOXO

Rikkij said...

Marion- I love art but don't have a favourite artist. I love anything of nature; outdoors. I am glad I have no talent in the field. it makes me all the more appreciate those that do. I'm not crazy about the hat. You and Ray have a wonderful Christmas. Love ya~rick

Marion said...

LOL! Rick, the hat is pretty scary, isn't it?! (All that hot was pooling.....) You have a wonderful Christmas, too. Love & Hugs!!

Tom Bailey said...

Thank you for sharing these quotes. I liked the poem as well. The quotes remind me of michael angelo when he said "if people knew how hard I work to achieve mastery they would not be impressed at all"

Thanks again for sharing.


Marion said...

Yes, Tom, I agree. Art is hard work, and was even harder way back when! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Blessings!

Renee said...

Marion, counting the days until you are with your darling Mary Mace.


Marion said...

You and me both, Renee! I love you! Blessings...

Woman in a Window said...

"Let me ask you something, what is not art?" ~Author Unknown

Marion, I do believe this. It rises up in me as though i've stood somewhere too long and the roots are taking hold. Gorgeous.

I've not any one favorite artist. My kids are intrigued with Van Gogh and Michalangelo or so I will throw them in. I am horrible at memorizing anything or studying. I just like what I see when I see it. I'm easy. Not modern, though. I think a great deal of modern art is bullshit.

much love,

Phoenix said...

Oh, I love this! What a great story (and a fantastic invention!) I think I'd be a little afraid to wear a fire hat but it certainly does sound very useful!

I confess that I love art but trying to remember all the artists is sometimes difficult - I think if they all had as interesting personal lives as Van Gogh and Goya, I'd remember more of them!