01 May 2015

Jasper lips

A dear friend has sent me a wonderful book entitled "Rendez-vous with Art". It is essentially a dialogue between Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford as they travel through museums, churchs and art galleries around the world.

(Just the early introduction is already  captivating)

Philippe de Montebello pauses in front of a shattered  yellow stone. 'This', he exclaims, 'is one of the greatest works if art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, indeed in the world, of any civilisation!' The object we are looking at is part of a face, the lower section. Of the upper portions - the brow, the nose, the eyes - nothing remains.

'If you told me you'd found the top of the head', he continues, 'I am not sure I would be thrilled because I am so focussed, so absorbed and captivated by the perfection of what is there; that my pleasure - and it is intense pleasure - is marvelling at what my eye sees, not some abstraction that, in a more art historical mode, I might conjure up. It's like a book that you love, and you simply don't want to see the movie. You've already imagined the hero or the heroine in a certain way. In truth, with the yellowed jasper lips, I have never really tried to imagine the missing parts.'

I remember this small fragment in the Met because I prowled the Met every friday afternoon for years when I lived in New York. And, how I miss those excursions!

(More to be revealed)

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