Ekphrasis and Links

Project Notes

Below are projected notes that reflect the progression of the project.

First Idea: Proust

Proust's work is filled full ekphrastic descriptions. These pieces are more easily read and picked from their context by the loose narrative thread of Proust in general. Proust's work focuses on the power of sights and sounds triggering involuntary memories. Time and context change the impact of these memories and temporal and contextual elements can be shaped by links.

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."


Proust couldn't link when writing his magnum opus, but if he could have? How (if at all) would he have used them?

Millet's Angelus

-- Smoke coming from church area?
This oil painting measures 55 by 60 cm.
The top horizontal quarter of the painting is comprised of a muted sunset. Sunlight strained through gauze. It is coral and a floral white. Patches of faded turquoise poke through. Along the top of the frame amaranth pink, begonia, and canary yellow are mottled with tones of cadet gray. The sun has already gone below the horizon.

Along the top right, a small flock of silhouetted birds are flying southwest. They are large enough to be geese although they do not fly in a V pattern, they could also be an unkindness of ravens. Behind them, the pink and green of rainbow trout reflect off of clouds down the horizon the colors of dirty wool on cirrostratus clouds.

Starting in the last quarter of the painting and underneath the birds, in the very deep of the foreground is a sparse line of trees. It is difficult to tell though the could be umbrella pines as they are spindly along the base and appear to branch out. To the left of the large group of trees a tapered spire (minaret? bell tower?) coming from a rectangular body, the light gleams in a silvery spider web off of the left-hand side. Either a small country church with a white belfry or a campanile with stones reflecting in the sun.

A layer of umber green plants covers the foreground. There are rocks that are piled in an untilled field. Directly right and up of the center of the painting appears a rock with a small glowing white light. It is barely noticeable. Further up the foreground, we find dried plants on a tilled field. The plants ochre and burnt umber. The soil is a raw sienna. There are still some green plants that appear uprooted by tilling.

The figures of a man and women dominate the foreground. They appear to be in their 20's or 30's hunched over and appear to be praying silently. The man holds a dark colorless brimmed hat with both hands, thumbs facing outward. The woman has clasped both hands and has pulled them up gently resting above her her chest. It is hard to make out too much detail as what little light left from the day's sun is shining on their backs, and they are facing towards the viewer.

The man is handsome has short hair that comes just over the ear. His white undershirt is mostly unbuttoned. He wears a peasant farmers outfit of a brown vest and blue trousers. His boots lack detail but are brown and dirty. To his left is a three tynes of steel pitchfork with a long wooden handle that has been plunged into the earth.

The woman is fair, small wisps of hair have left her dun hair bonnet. She wears a peasants green dress with a yellow print dress over a deep carmine blouse. The bottom of her dress has blue trim with a gold print. Behind her is wooden wheelbarrow with three burlap sacks. Two full and one smaller one left open or loosely closed onto the other two.

At the feet of the couple lies a wicker basket of tubers. They look like potatoes. The basket is nearer to the woman's feet, who is staring down directly at it. Though it is impossible to tell if her eyes are open. The man is a foot away from the basket. He too has face turned down and eyes darkened.


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