Impression: soleil levant ( Impression: Sunrise) Claude Manet
This painting was exhibited in the first Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1874. Whether or not it gave its name to the movement, it exudes a confidence in the inner responses of the viewer that could without much exaggeration be called revolutionary.
I post the painting only to point to another of Elizabeth Jennings poems, this time her tribute to C V Wedgewood who taught her how to look, see, enter and inwardly absorb the vision of the artist, and the gift of his and her art. This may well be an example of contemplative prayer, the unselfing of our looking in order to see that which is beyond us, and calls us beyond ourselves.
Looking at Pictures
In Memory of C V Wedgewood
Your presence lit the paintings for me but
Only to show more radiantly how each
Impressionist, say, in his own way caught
A slant of sun, a pool of shade. To teach
Like this is not to teach at all but fill
Another's eyes with your own way of seeing.
You let the biggest buffet go so still
That I too entered the painter's being.
And so we walked from galleries to see
A world transformed. That every visit went
When you were picking paintings out for me
Making the shortest time a large event,
Now I'm alone but you have set me free
In all art's history by those hours we spent.