Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Venice by night

Mikhail Vrubel found Venice boring. It was of interest "only for his palette." That was not my experience. Even at night, when your palette shrinks to greys and only a muddy simulacra of the daylight colours are visible, the city remains beautiful and ominous. It's a place to feel lonely in.

And to paint. Watercolour at night is not easy. I was alone, and wandering the sestiero di San Marco, but I had my paints and I had plenty of time.

How Vrubel, a painter at once romantic and nihilistic, could have rejected Venice, the most romantic and abnegatory of cities, is a mystery. Perhaps they were too much alike. Sometimes you have to be a little bit dull in order to appreciate the magical. Tolkien retired to the most tedious suburb imaginable. Perhaps magicians read only non-fiction.

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