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3 - The real or the Real? Chardin or Rothko?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2024

Michael McGhee
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

I will begin by considering some themes from Proust’s wonderful essay on Chardin, Chardin and Rembrandt (Proust, 1988). Proust speaks of the young man ‘of modest means and artistic taste’, his imagination filled with the splendour of museums, of cathedrals, of mountains, of the sea, sitting at table at the end of lunch, nauseated at the ‘traditional mundanity’ of the unaesthetic spectacle before him: the last knife left lying on the half turned-back table cloth, next to the remains of an underdone and tasteless cutlet. He cannot wait to get up and leave, and if he cannot take a train to Holland or Italy, he will at least go to the Louvre to have sight of the palaces of Veronese, the princes of van Dyck and the harbours of Claude. Doing this will, of course, make his return to his home and its familiar surroundings seem yet more drab and exasperating.

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Chapter
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Spiritual Life , pp. 74 - 93
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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References

Fuller, P. 1988. Theoria. (London: Chatto and Windus).Google Scholar
Heron, P. 1989. ‘Can Mark Rothko’s Work Survive?’, Modern Painters, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer) pp. 36–9.Google Scholar
Hick, J. 1989. An Interpretation of Religion (London: Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Proust, M. 1988. Against Sainte-Beuve and Other Essays, trans. J. Sturrock. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books).Google Scholar
Spengler, O. 1926. The Decline of the West, trans. C. F. Atkinson. (New York: Barnes & Noble).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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