The Impressionist

William Blake did a series of “Imaginary Portraits,” of such people as Adam and Eve (alayhi wa sallam), Chaucer, Dante, etc. We visited an exhibit of Impressionist paintings at the Phildelphia Museum of Art yesterday, and this portrait came to me in the evening. These painters were keen observers, identifying with God’s world so finely they seemed to enter into its light, with all its variations. The may have been the visionaries of the last great revolution in painting in ways of seeing (actually seeing into nature, as Gerard Manley Hopkins called it, “inscape,” rather than totally rearranging it), and their almost diaphanous paintings don’t intrude with much of themselves, except as guiding hands. They all had technique, but in front of plain¬†subjects (fields, trees, bridges, skies) they became technicians of the ecstatic, and rather sublime. Not always, but often enough…

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