The End of Watteau

Posted in Art, Postcards with tags on November 22, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Watteau was a delicate man whose health was fragile throughout his short life. In 1720, suffering from tuberculosis, he travelled to London to consult a fashionable doctor but finding that the unwholesome effects of the English climate outweighed any benefit of the treatment he returned to France. The last months of his life were spent near Nogent-sur-Marne in the home of his patron the Abbé Haranger, from whom we have the very touching and pathetic account of the artist on his deathbed, mute and delirious, painting imaginary figures in the air with an immaterial brush. He was 36 years old and had little reason to suspect the lasting renown his fragile oeuvre would claim nor the extraordinary affection it would inspire in the centuries to follow.

Jean-Antoine Watteau
10 October 1684 – 18 July 1721

Small Town Boy

Posted in Art, Postcards with tags , on November 22, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Watteau’s home town of Valenciennes boasts a very fitting and magnificent shrine to their greatest native son in this monumental fountain. The portrait bronze of Watteau was sculpted by his fellow Valenciennois Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and the monument completed to his designs after his death in 1875 by sculptor Ernest Eugène Hiolle and architect Emile Dussart. The monument was inaugurated on the 12th of October 1884, to honour the bicentennial of Watteau’s birth.

Some Watteau Ephemera

Posted in Object with tags , on November 21, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Monument à Jean-Antoine Watteau

Posted in Art, Postcards with tags , , on November 20, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Watteau statue, stereoscopic

Henri Désiré Gauquié (1856-1943), Monument à Jean-Antoine Watteau, 1896
Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

With the posting of the last of Paul Verlaine’s Fêtes galantes two days ago my tribute to Jean-Antoine Watteau is nearing its end. It has been a very rewarding journey for me and it seems to have enjoyed some popularity with my very exclusive readership as well. Watteau’s oeuvre and most particularly his drawings, which I have barely touched upon, is too extensive and too delightful to neglect indefinitely and I shall surely return to it in future, as I will to Verlaine’s exquisite verse.


Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on November 19, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Léon Germain Pelouse, Banc de rochers à Concarneau, 1880

Léon Germain Pelouse, Banc de rochers à Concarneau, 1880
Musée des beaux-arts de Brest

In the month of the long decline of roses
I, beholding the summer dead before me,
Set my face to the sea and journeyed silent,
Gazing eagerly where above the sea-mark
Flame as fierce as the fervid eyes of lions
Half divided the eyelids of the sunset;
Till I heard as it were a noise of waters
Moving tremulous under feet of angels
Multitudinous, out of all the heavens;
Knew the fluttering wind, the fluttered foliage,
Shaken fitfully, full of sound and shadow;
And saw, trodden upon by noiseless angels,
Long mysterious reaches fed with moonlight,
Sweet sad straits in a soft subsiding channel,
Blown about by the lips of winds I knew not,
Winds not born in the north nor any quarter,
Winds not warm with the south nor any sunshine;
Heard between them a voice of exultation,
“Lo, the summer is dead, the sun is faded,
Even like as a leaf the year is withered,
All the fruits of the day from all her branches
Gathered, neither is any left to gather.
All the flowers are dead, the tender blossoms,
All are taken away; the season wasted,
Like an ember among the fallen ashes.
Now with light of the winter days, with moonlight,
Light of snow, and the bitter light of hoarfrost,
We bring flowers that fade not after autumn,
Pale white chaplets and crowns of latter seasons,
Fair false leaves (but the summer leaves were falser),
Woven under the eyes of stars and planets
When low light was upon the windy reaches
Where the flower of foam was blown, a lily
Dropt among the sonorous fruitless furrows
And green fields of the sea that make no pasture:
Since the winter begins, the weeping winter,
All whose flowers are tears, and round his temples
Iron blossom of frost is bound for ever.”

Fêtes galantes XXII: Colloque sentimental

Posted in Fêtes galantes, Painting, Poetry with tags , on November 18, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Une allée d'arbres, c. 1715, Hermitage

Une allée d’arbres, c. 1715
The Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Dans le vieux parc solitaire et glacé,
Deux formes ont tout à l’heure passé.

Leurs yeux sont morts et leurs lèvres sont molles,
Et l’on entend à peine leurs paroles.

Dans le vieux parc solitaire et glacé,
Deux spectres ont évoqué le passé.

— Te souvient-il de notre extase ancienne ?
— Pourquoi voulez-vous donc qu’il m’en souvienne ?

— Ton cœur bat-il toujours à mon seul nom ?
Toujours vois-tu mon âme en rêve ? — Non.

— Ah ! les beaux jours de bonheur indicible
Où nous joignions nos bouches ! — C’est possible.

— Qu’il était bleu, le ciel, et grand, l’espoir !
— L’espoir a fui, vaincu, vers le ciel noir.

Tels ils marchaient dans les avoines folles,
Et la nuit seule entendit leurs paroles.

Fêtes galantes XXI: En sourdine

Posted in Fêtes galantes, Painting, Poetry with tags , on November 17, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Le voleur du nid de moineau, c. 1712

Le voleur du nid de moineau, c. 1712
National Gallery of Scotland

Calmes dans le demi-jour
Que les branches hautes font,
Pénétrons bien notre amour
De ce silence profond.

Fondons nos âmes, nos cœurs
Et nos sens extasiés,
Parmi les vagues langueurs
Des pins et des arbousiers.

Ferme tes yeux à demi,
Croise tes bras sur ton sein,
Et de ton cœur endormi
Chasse à jamais tout dessein.

Laissons-nous persuader
Au souffle berceur et doux
Qui vient à tes pieds rider
Les ondes de gazon roux.

Et quand, solennel, le soir
Des chênes noirs tombera,
Voix de notre désespoir,
Le rossignol chantera.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 731 other followers