07 September 2010

Here am I shedding one of my life-skins, and all they will say is, 'Bernard is spending ten days in Rome.'

Painting: Virginia Woolf by Vanessa Bell, 1912
"Now I sit on a stone seat in these gardens surveying the eternal city, and the little man who was shaving in London five days ago looks already like a heap of old clothes. [...] I sit here like a convalescent, like a very simple man who knows only words of one syllable. 'The sun is hot,' I say. 'The wind is cold.' I feel myself carried round like an insect on top of the earth and could swear that, sitting here, I feel its hardness, its turning movement. I have no desire to go the opposite way from the earth. Could I prolong this sense another six inches I have a foreboding that I should touch some queer territory. But I have a very limited proboscis. I never wish to prolong these states of detachment; I dislike them; I also despise them. I do not wish to be a man who sits for fifty years on the same spot thinking of his navel. I wish to be harnessed to a cart, a vegetable-cart that rattles over the cobbles."

- Virginia Woolf, The Waves
Image: "Virginia Woolf" by Vanessa Bell, c. 1912

3 comments:

elisabetta said...

Sorry I forgot to add something:

Hello! I have found this post while searching for images of Vanessa Bell's paintings. I was looking for a portrait without the facial features of the sitter. Here it is! How strikingly similar to the current fashion of depicting people without noses, eyes and lips!

This search began after watching the film "The Hours" and the DVD special features.

Both Vanessa' painting and Virginia's words touch a cord in my own 'interior' world...

the curator said...

Thanks for the comment. I haven't seen The Hours yet, largely because I also haven't read the book yet.

Vanessa Bell's portrait often reminds me of another semi-faceless sitting portrait, Francis Bacon's "Study After Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X". Here is a link to it.

elisabetta said...

Funny that you mention Francis Bacon's work. I am thinking about him while recreating Vanessa's painting in my head and trying to capture my face on paper...A kind of 'congested' process...
(FB is one of my favorite painters of the 20th century, a bit 'dark', though...)