Saturday, February 18, 2012

Constable's clouds

Having finished my work in the Beinecke library at Yale earlier than predicted, I sauntered over to Chapel Street -- past the gate where you enter to get to the Dwight Chapel, where I was married the first time -- and went to the British art gallery, as I always do when I have a moment in New Haven. This time, I just wanted to look at John Constable's cloud studies, on the second floor, and they fill your head with happiness, somehow. It is like seeing Martin Johnson Heade's paintings in the Met Museum in New York: things you go back to. And i am reading, with delight, Christopher Benfey's book on hummingbirds and Heade and Dickinson, which even contains a bit on Joseph Cornell and his great box about the Blue Peninsula and Dickinson...Those clouds. I remember one Constable cloud formation in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, that I also go back to visit. It has to be reached up those narrow stairs in the middle of some room, and it is worth it. Ages ago, I read Lucas on clouds, all because of these Constables, and the Theorie des nuages of the terrific French critic Hubert Damisch....More clouds, please.

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