It was a shame there was nobody alive with that kind of spirit, she thought, but then Victorine and she wouldn’t understand each other. Only in paint and canvas. She read French, but spoke it excecrably.
(And that was just how her professor had described her accent: execrable, with that turned-up voiced vowel at the end where the English would have a silent ‘e’.)
Minneapolis and St. Paul had been settled by fur traders, French some of them, and there were places all over town with French names where they weren’t corruptions of Ojibwe or Dakota, or pasted-on Anglo… but nothing was pronounced as it had been. Time corrupted everything, drew it away from the purity of the original, or made it into something new.
[Author’s note: Angie Stavros is looking at the painting Woman with a Parrot, in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Victorine Meurent (1844-1927) worked with Eduoard Manet as a model, and was a painter in her own right. The portrait is in the Metropolitan Museum. See also this 2008 article from the Guardian, on the occasion of the discovery of one of Meurent’s paintings.]
thank you for the background and the article – are you an artist (other than the written word) also. Not only was it an excellent snippet – but I learned something too
Yes, I’m a visual artist as well. My work runs the gamut from print-making to painting (acrylic, though I’m reasonably well-read on oil technique) to sculpture to theatrical mask-making. This story draws on reading I did in the line of duty for that work.
Oh, nice background and even nicer six.
Your voice is always so rich and complex. Well done!
Love that last line about time corrupting and changing. You’ve connected the past with the present beautifully with these six.
Very interesting 6, though I found I needed that information snippet to fully understand what you were getting at. How much of that information will be in the story itself?
Oh, and I’m FASCINATED to hear you make theatrical masks!!! Do you have any images of ones you’ve made?
I continue to be fascinated by these snippets. I’m no artist, but I’ve always had a fascination with stories that explore artists and their psychologies.
Direct influences include the memoirs of the art forger Eric Hebborn, Henry James’s short stories The Real Thing, The Liar, and The Tone of Time, Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, and to some extent the sentient portraits in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Eunice Lipton’s Alias Olympia and Woman with a Parrot were the inspirations for the passage in which this snippet occurs.