Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bond and Free - Frost & Francois Boucher

'Fountain of Venus', 1756, Francois Boucher, French Oil on Canvas
CopyRight at bottom of page from Cleveland Museum of Art
Bond and Free

Love has earth to which she clings 
With hills and circling arms about-- 
Wall within wall to shut fear out. 
But Though has need of no such things, 
For Thought has a pair of dauntless wings. 

On snow and sand and turn, I see 
Where Love has left a printed trace 
With straining in the world's embrace. 
And such is Love and glad to be 
But Though has shaken his ankles free. 

Though cleaves the interstellar gloom 
And sits in Sirius' disc all night, 
Till day makes him retrace his flight 
With smell of burning on every plume, 
Back past the sun to an earthly room. 

His gains in heaven are what they are. 
Yet some say Love by being thrall 
And simply staying possesses all 
In several beauty that Thought fares far 
To find fused in another star.

~Robert Frost, 1916

The Toilet of Venus, 1751, Francois Boucher, French, Oil on Canvas
Copy Rights at the end of this post from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Boucher utilized earth tones for the background and drapery around Venus so that when he used his delicate tones on Venus the viewer is immediately drawn to her.  The diagonal lines and implied lines draw the viewers' eyes around the canvas noting every detail of her toilet.  Boucher is famous for his use of color to portray a mythical event which invites the viewer into a world which is only achievable through art.  

Boucher's portrayal of Venus, the goddess of love, is in her toilet and as a fountain (in the painting above) grounding in earth and in earthly things.  This is quite common in portraying Venus after her 'birth'.  In relation to Frost's poetry the two artists are actually portraying a similar theme.... love exists here, on earth.... grounded by nature and our human needs and desires...

Frost initially compares love as being bound and confined while thought is free.... Love leaves marks as in the sand and snow... Thought has shaken it's ankle free.... By the 4th stanza Frost begins to show that thoughts must travel to the stars "And sit in Sirius' disc all night, Till day makes him retrace his flight..." while love in stanza 5 does not have to leave to effect anyone, it possesses all without ever going anywhere... Frost is emphasizing the importance of love and gentleness as thought is shackled without love...

Fountain of Venus, Boucher - This image was provided by The Cleveland Museum of Art. Contact information: Kathleen Kornell, Rights and Reproductions Coordinator, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland OH 44106, (216) 707-2498 (ph), (216) 421-8815 (fax), 

The Toilet of Venus, Boucher -This image was provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Contact information: Image Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028, (212) 396-5050 (fax), Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

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