terça-feira, 11 de setembro de 2012

Retrato I

Visconde de Meneses, Retrato da Exmª Viscondessa de Menezes, D. Carlota (1862, MNAC).
Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Portrait of Madame Barbe de Rimsky-Korsakov (1864, Musée d'Orsay, Paris)
Picasso terá dito algo como «Good artists copy, great artists steal». Contudo não é o caso destas pinturas, apesar das proximidades estéticas entre ambas. É interessante notar que foram realizadas num período cronológico muito próximo, por dois pintores praticamente contemporâneos. A primeira é do Visconde de Meneses (1817-1878), retratando a sua mulher. A segunda é de Winterhalter (1805-1873). Certamente Meneses conheceu a obra de Winterhalter, mas não este retrato, que é dois anos posterior ao seu. São dois retratos românticos, procurando captar a "alma" das retratadas, dando-lhes uma aura de beleza e de mistério. A obra de Meneses é mais académica, na medida em que é mais detalhada. A sua mulher apresenta-se condignamente vestida e bem arranjada, ao contrário da senhora de Winterhalter, mais sensual, sobretudo devido aos cabelos soltos. No entanto, apesar das diferenças, as semelhanças de pose são significativas, demonstrando que existia uma mesma expressão de sentimentos na Europa, que correspondia ainda à estética do Romantismo. E, também a propósito destes retratos, lembro um conto, também romântico, um pouco anterior (1850) de Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1949): The Oval Portrait:

«(...) The portrait, I have already said, was that of a young girl. It was a mere head and shoulders, done in what is technically termed a vignette manner; much in the style of the favorite heads of Sully. The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair melted imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow which formed the back-ground of the whole. The frame was oval, richly gilded and filigreed in Moresque. As a thing of art nothing could be more admirable than the painting itself. (...) With deep and reverent awe I replaced the candelabrum in its former position. The cause of my deep agitation being thus shut from view, I sought eagerly the volume which discussed the paintings and their histories. Turning to the number which designated the oval portrait, I there read the vague and quaint words which follow:
"She was a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than full of glee. And evil was the hour when she saw, and loved, and wedded the painter. He, passionate, studious, austere, and having already a bride in his Art; she a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than full of glee; all light and smiles, and frolicsome as the young fawn; loving and cherishing all things; hating only the Art which was her rival; dreading only the pallet and brushes and other untoward instruments which deprived her of the countenance of her lover. It was thus a terrible thing for this lady to hear the painter speak of his desire to portray even his young bride. But she was humble and obedient, and sat meekly for many weeks in the dark, high turret-chamber where the light dripped upon the pale canvas only from overhead. But he, the painter, took glory in his work, which went on from hour to hour, and from day to day. And be was a passionate, and wild, and moody man, who became lost in reveries; so that he would not see that the light which fell so ghastly in that lone turret withered the health and the spirits of his bride, who pined visibly to all but him. Yet she smiled on and still on, uncomplainingly, because she saw that the painter (who had high renown) took a fervid and burning pleasure in his task, and wrought day and night to depict her who so loved him, yet who grew daily more dispirited and weak. And in sooth some who beheld the portrait spoke of its resemblance in low words, as of a mighty marvel, and a proof not less of the power of the painter than of his deep love for her whom he depicted so surpassingly well. But at length, as the labor drew nearer to its conclusion, there were admitted none into the turret; for the painter had grown wild with the ardor of his work, and turned his eyes from canvas merely, even to regard the countenance of his wife. And he would not see that the tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sate beside him. And when many weeks bad passed, and but little remained to do, save one brush upon the mouth and one tint upon the eye, the spirit of the lady again flickered up as the flame within the socket of the lamp. And then the brush was given, and then the tint was placed; and, for one moment, the painter stood entranced before the work which he had wrought; but in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and very pallid, and aghast, and crying with a loud voice, 'This is indeed Life itself!' turned suddenly to regard his beloved:-She was dead!».

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