A reply.

Did he look at her with the eyes of an artist or with the eyes of a man?

The bright metal suspended below her ear, the light bathing the blue of the cloth, saving her face from shadow. Mouth ever so slightly open, the gleam of her lower lip.

And she? What was she thinking?

The book has given her a name, given her a life, given her thoughts and dreams and desires and loves. But she lived long before the book was born.

It doesn't really look as if she's thinking deeply, does it? It looks like she's simply turned her head, a tint of exasperation perhaps, a hint of what-do-you-want-now, interwoven with something else I cannot name. Innocence? Perhaps. Or knowledge. Strange how the same look can come from two very different fountainheads.

Why do we look at paintings of people we don't know, people who weren't anyone really, just anonymous faces, not even beautiful, who were lucky enough to be captured by someone whose long fingers created what eyes saw, what most eyes do not see?

Ordinary, so ordinary. Mona Lisa, whoever she was, was also probably ordinary. An enigmatic smile means nothing, just as these eyes, so wide set, mean nothing.

Ordinary people. Many days worth of gazing and the sharp lines of pencil on canvas and blue being painted over black to settle next to yellow. Hours of, not inspiration, but banal work.

All for what?

A face set in a single brief moment and centuries later, a strange longing to know more about the person it belonged to. There is no point, really. It's just age old human curiosity.

1 comment:

M said...

Its a Jan Vermeer. Girl With the Pearl Earring. It hangs at the JP tea stall as well. I go there often to have iced tea. Its lovely.