Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from The Reaction

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Whether you have the "Christ" in it or not, and we generally don't, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at The Reaction.

(And Happy Holidays, of course, speaking more generally.)

And personally, I want to wish the same to my friends and family, and especially in this context to my wonderful co-bloggers, without whom this blog wouldn't be nearly what it is, and to my many friends and acquaintances throughout the blogosphere, wherever they may be on the political spectrum.

Thank you, friends. Thank you, readers. Have a safe and happy day.

**********

I don't blog about art nearly as much as I used to, but here, to mark the seasonal occasion (even if its not exactly a white Christmas here in the Toronto area), is the very lovely Rabbit Warren at Pontoise, Snow (La Garenne à Pontoise, effet de neige) (1879) by Camille Pissarro, now at the Art Institute of Chicago:


As Richard Brettell writes in A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape (yes, I'm pulling out the research for this):

This one... is doggedly complex and difficult. There is nothing pleasant about the subject; its pictorial structure is highly idiosyncratic and even unclear; its facture is almost messy. Pissarro seems to have reveled in the ugliness of winter, and neither space nor sunshine gives us relief from what is little more than a tangle of vegetation in the dirty snow. None of this is made any pleasanter by the fact that the painting depicts a rabbit warren; the viewer is therefore called upon to imagine a group of shivering rabbits living together in the cold.

I'm not sure if Pissarro meant this to be an existential metaphor, but of course you may take it as such, for the human condition may well be akin to "a group of shivering rabbits living together in the cold."

Whatever the case... Merry Christmas!

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