Monday, August 07, 2006

Pieter de Hooch



He would begin with the sustained violin tremolos that are heard alone for a few measures, occupying the entire foreground, then all of a sudden they seemed to move away and, as in those paintings by Pieter de Hooch, which assume greater depth because of the narrow frame of a half-open door, away in the distance, in a different color, in the velvet of an interposed light, the little phrase would appear, dancing, pastoral, interpolated, episodic, belong to another world.

--Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

The Lydia Davis translation does note that de Hooch was a Dutch painter known of his handling of light and perspective, but a visual of a mother looking for lice in her daughter's hair is always of use, is it not?

(Cross-posted at Involuntary Memory)

3 comments:

  1. That's what makes Proust and de Hooch so impressive. They take mundane things that we do everyday (granted we don't look for lice everyday,) and make them grand. Reading a book, listening to music, sitting with your child, take on more gravity and somehow seem more worthwhile.

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  2. There's a chapt in How Proust Can Change Your Life on this very subject. :)

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  3. Having examined school children for lice, it's something intense and caring, intimate. In that world, no doubt it was a daily exercise.

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