Sunday, June 5, 2016

La Communiante (1875)

Jules Bastien-Lepage: La Communiante

The young communicant is sitting in perfect frontal, facing the viewer. She fixes him with an amazingly expressionless gaze. Her eyes and hair are the only dark details of the canvas. Her skin (face, wrists and arms in the light gauze) is the only colorful appearance. All the rest is bathed in shades of white and gray, as her long communion dress that stands out from the wall with consummate monochrome technique. She joined her gloved hands in her lap. Because of severe frontal of the subject and the complete lack of decor, the regard of the viewer is led back to himself. He can not escape the disturbing presence. And, in contrast to the fixed, the girl, his gaze passes from her hands in a back-and-forth incessant following of the curve of her arm. For details of the hands is not innocent. Jules Bastien-Lepage did not painted them in such a precise way by chance. He wants the viewer to always return to them. We immediately see that the fingers are not crossed. Instead they slightly brush against each other, the tips of the thumb and forefinger of her left hand against the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. Furthermore we note that below, her knees are politely pressed against each other. Is she trying to fold the hands or, conversely, to uncross them, or she looks for a capacity constrained and knows what to do with his hands? Still, the space created between the fingers is an invitation to look much as it is a ban. An invitation is also a ban? But to what? Do not play the frightened innocent. It is an invitation/ban which now makes her a woman and wants to hide as much as show. [histoire de l’art]

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