Cowart's Common Room
Shift over the camels are coming...

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What would Christmas be without its camels? And here we have them ,for Fennie who is,I fear, as I am cursed with a dromedarian obsession, Tissot's rendering of "The Journey of the Magi" painted from life in Palestine, although to be fair, if they were the genuine article they were running a trifle late as he painted it in 1894.

Tissot was a Breton, well naturally, and when his divorced mistress and muse of many years standing ( or in her case lying down and coughing), killed herself rather endure the agonies of the last stages of consumption, he disappeared from the art scene (Catholic guilt about living in sin and suicide got him in the end) and he legged it to Palestine to complete a series of 700 paintings of The Life if Christ. His religious art is bursting with realism and a long way away from other artists sacred images, so much so I suspect it was the scenery and not God at all that caught his eye, but then as it says on the Isle of Wight coat of arms "All this beauty is of God"...except possibly Sandown and Lake which I am certain God cannot have created even on a very very off day...but that is only my personal opinion.

I rather like, despite its striking lack of camels, another of his works entitled "As seen from the cross" reminds me irreverently of that old joke about Jesus leaning down from the cross and whispering to Peter

"" Peter Peter.."
"Yes lord?"
"Peter come closer I want to tell you something.."
"I am here lord"..
"Peter... I can see your house from here.."

James Jacques Joseph Tissot was born in 1836 and died in 1902 at the Abbey of Builon in Burgundy still working on his portfolio of religious art still labouring for brownee points in heaven one presumes.

Posted at 16th Dec 2008 - 09:59PM   Posted by Unpeuloufoque   Shift over the camels are coming... Comments: 11

Withy Brook's Avatar Even if it was the scenery, not God, his talent was God-given.
I love that picture. Might you show us more over time?

Posted by: Withy Brook on 16th Dec 2008 at 10:25PM

Elizabethm's Avatar Now how did I know, reading this on a tiny screen, that this post was you UPL?

Posted by: Elizabethm on 16th Dec 2008 at 10:56PM

Frances's Avatar Yes, Elizabethd, I always know before the scrolling tells the tale.

Beautiful post Un Peu. We are giving art, history, a bit of seasonal observance, and more of your wit and wisdom.

All beautifully presented


Posted by: Frances on 17th Dec 2008 at 12:12AM

Camilla's Avatar Really lovely post Un Peu, I hope that you may show us some more please. I love hearing about the history to an art painting.


Posted by: Camilla on 17th Dec 2008 at 12:18AM

Pondside's Avatar You and your camels!! This is a gorgeous painting, with the barren hills and the long line of camels - just enough action so it doesn't look like a set piece or a still life.
Thanks for the little art lesson! I feel just a tad more cultured each time I read one of these.

Posted by: Pondside on 17th Dec 2008 at 01:18AM

When was a train ever on time?...sorry..couldn't resist....

Posted by: @themill on 17th Dec 2008 at 08:26AM

Fennie's Avatar I see the Loufouques and retainers are off to Morocco again! Of course it had to be you UPL. Camels in art. Deserves a book in itself.

What is it about a figure on a camel that looks so magnificent? The height of the camel helps, but then there's the furniture and the rugs, the harness and all the folds of the robes and headdresses - all in the vivid harshness of the desert light. This picture is Christian art and almost monochrome (did Tissot have a job lot of yellow ochre to use up I wonder?), but Islamic pictures I have seen paint vivid cobalt and ultramarine, scarlet and vermilion into the accoutrements, with the camels almost grey - leaving one quite scared lest one should ever meet a single Berber or Bedouin, let alone a tribe.

But what is that on the ground between the second and the third camel? I hope Loic has not fallen off? And you might tell those at the back to get a move on - otherwise you'll be a Jacques and some few sardine gutters light by the time you make Casablanca.

Posted by: Fennie on 17th Dec 2008 at 09:34AM

KittyB's Avatar I'm with you on the camels - have two lovely watercolours from the auction house in my sitting room, blue skies, golden sands, arabs and camels. Brill.

Posted by: KittyB on 17th Dec 2008 at 09:52AM

Tattie Weasle's Avatar I really love it! Don't know why perhaps it's the camels...

Posted by: Tattie Weasle on 17th Dec 2008 at 09:53AM

Thanks for sharing that wonderful painting. Camels always look so deeply disdainful, don't you think? I've tried on occasion to mimic that gaze but I think I lack the eyelash volume.

Posted by: AerialArmadillo on 17th Dec 2008 at 10:37AM

Mootia's Avatar What a striking image, UPL. Funnily enough, this morning I was writing about camels' milk being drunk by the Bedouin...when camels are dehydrated their milk becomes more there's a thing - all down to hormones, 'pparently. Wink

Posted by: Mootia on 17th Dec 2008 at 02:59PM

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