Sunday, June 21, 2009

Still Life With Fish and Other Stuff


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Chardin's Still Life With Fish


In Jean-Siméon Chardin's "Still
Life with Fish, Vegetables, Gougères,
Pots, and Cruets," the paint becomes
Plexiglass because it seals off odors
I seek. Or should I say "aromas"--odors
that are formally attired? Chardin's

manipulation of pigment teases me
with an imaginary robust stench of
a French kitchen, dead cool slimy fish
hanging over vegetables and such.
Chardin invites me to the unstill
kitchen, then closes the glass door

firmly, and I'm left with an inedible,
unsniffable scene. Well done, monsieur,
to taunt the nose of an olfactory voyeur
in the deep-freeze of an art gallery.


Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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