I went to the Legion Of Honor to view the Monet exhibit several weeks ago. Monet — eh — never been a big fan — never cared for his flowers, lilies, and lakes.
I was intrigued by The Broken Pitcher, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
I sat on the bench in front of this portrait for about an hour.
First, I love the way Bouguereau is so smooth; and, the smoothness of the brush-strokes make this painting comes to life — the girl seems so real and alive to me; and, because, his brush-strokes are not visible, I’m not disturbed nor reminded that this is a painting — I feel like I’m in front of a real person.
Secondly, I like the way Bouguereau paints behaviours. The behaviours of the girl is subtle but strong…for example, her left foot and toes slightly raised, her hands pressed together, and her left should prompted forward. I like the way he created the behaviours of her forearms. All these behaviours show the child-like qualities of her personality — a kind of innocence.
Thirdly, I like the strands of her hair at a disarray, but they are an organized disarray that forms almost like a halo around her head. It elicits an angel to me — perhaps a fallen or a broken angel, or angel qualities giving her strength, knowledge, and wisdom of adult stuff in the world she lives.
Finally, all those innocent child-like behaviours are sharply contrasted by the expression in her face and especially her eyes. Her eyes show experience, wisdom, and an innocence that is long-gone. She looks that she has seen things unlike most girls her age; and, she looks at those in her world with maturity and sharpness almost as if to say, “There’s nothing you can tell me that will shock me; I know you more than you; I know when you tell me the truth and when you are not — you can’t fool me.”
So, what about the broken pitcher?
Well, in all honesty, I didn’t notice it. The girl captivated my focus. I will have to look at the pitcher another time.
I was mesmerized by her…her eyes followed me; and, I was drawn to her. As I left the room, her eyes never left me, as I looked back at her with a sad departure.
I wanna go back and see her again.