Saturday, December 14, 2013

A friend in Context asks, how to frame a masterpiece

giver of problems

The Huntington, the hometown library
and bicycling destination of my ear-
ly years, presents a Christmas study
place, and shows off a nifty margin-
al autograph in a copy of Julius Cae-
sar from a circulating library. But
nobody goes to the Huntington with-
out visiting the Gainsboroughs, and
of anyone old enough to stand. I re-
member this because I was mastering
both tricks when I first laid eyes
upon it. At the time, I thought he
was awfully big, but not unpleasant,
very high, but in no way haughty -
I was too young to know suspicion -
and mesmerisingly wrapped. Unchar-
acteristically, I discover that time
has not diminished it, even as gasp-
ing and standing have lost a little
of their original edge. Maybe frames
are replaced every so often, to the
refreshment of how a canvas appears;
but I'm content that this one bears
unchanging delight to children, for-
ever. (My marginalia, anyway).

For the camellias, I have only
treasurings of sweet memory. They
were propagated in our own garden,
nearby, by my father, who delight-
ed in original graftings of his
selections. How interesting, it
strikes me, for no reason what so
ever, that those camellias have
long been mulched for the enrich-
ment of others I've never seen.
It is a fact that reacquaints me
with my sense of his fatherhood,
and this contents me, too, as a
frame for my undoubted degradation.

But we are willing to accommodate
ourselves to the framing of any
masterpiece. After all, it's also
a protective act, and offers con-
soling conservation. Yet, I don't
mind to concede, that one can't be
framed and still be seen, whole. 
It is a problem we have with the
photographs of Valéry Lorenzo -
they don't mesmerise, they remind.

    Steady, like a log
    riding a sawmill's spillway,
    the steady coydog.

Paul Muldoon
Moy Sand and Gravel
  News Headlines from
  the Homer Noble Farm
op. cit.

iv  photography Valéry Lorenzo©

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