On the Framing of the Light

“We have art that we may not perish from truth” Nietzsche

Far from Brexit, Trump, climate change, phosphate depletion, poverty - you get the drift - there is... Monet. 

So, for respite, I spent half an hour at the National Gallery in room 33, where he hangs out, as it were.

Four paintings presented themselves (click to see them with proper copyright etc):

There are striking similarities between these four paintings: they each have a dark triangular form that reaches towards the centre of the frame from the right-hand side; they all guide the eye towards a point just left of the centre of the picture; and they all use shading and structure to produce a particularly intense sense of illumination at and just above that left-of-centre point.  

More than anyone else, I think, Monet was able to paint the light - and, god knows, in these dark times, we need some of that.

He achieves this, it seems, by framing: all the elements of the painting combine to emphasise the light.  It seems actually to glow, to shine.  No matter where you stand in the gallery, your eye is drawn to the light.


Thus primed, I left the gallery and stood in Trafalgar Square, with no option but to follow the light, wherever it was best framed.  It being early afternoon in late December, this meant heading west.  It looked like this:

Trafalgar Square to Park Lane

Hyde Park

Kensington Gardens, Kensington High Street

Holland Park

Shepherd's Bush and Ravenscourt Park

Not Monet, to be sure, but a wonderful few hours and miles of light... well-framed by the London I love.


Popular Posts