Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I went for a walk this weekend with my family along the 'Chemin de Jean Racine' close to the Convent of Port-Royal which was razed by Louis XIV in an effort to suppress Jansenism, a branch of the catholic faith which followed St. Augustine and believed in predestination.

It is beautiful tract of countryside: seemingly endless forests with paths where weekenders on mountain bikes, ramblers and horse-riders come and go. We were impressed by the number of large black beetles that each pile of horse dung attracted, by the vivid green of spring growth on the steep valleys sides and the shimmering of silver birch leaves in the breeze. Here, surely, is the true source for poetic inspiration: nature itself.

It made me think of the origin of the revolution that was Impressionism: simply taking the artist out of his studio and into the open air. The open air, where light changes, where leaves flutter, where water flows. The technical innovations that marked impressionism sprung precisely from this 'activity', this need to capture the fleeting moment in a manner that was urgent, spontaneous, not predestined...


Lucy said...

Lovely breath of fresh air, Jonathan.

Jonathan Wonham said...

Thanks Lucy. Apart from the horse dung maybe?