Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Autumn is in full vigor here in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is my favorite season, partly because its apex is the briefest. The leaves outside my window present a rich palette, but the rain predicted for later today and tomorrow may knock them all to the ground, leaving us to contemplate the coming of winter.

Perhaps that contemplation is the meaning of autumn: a time to draw inward and come to terms with inevitabilities. Mary Cassatt painted her beloved sister Lydia, whose health was failing. Lydia's cloak and bonnet bear the colors of the changing leaves and identify her with autumn. Her face, however, is clear, pale, delicate, beautiful, and deep in thought, thereby internalizing the true spirit of the season.

Autumn, by Mary Cassatt; 1880. Click on the picture for a closer look.


Janie B said...

I'm not familiar with that Cassatt, so thank you for sharing it. It's lovely.

DUTA said...

This is the kind of post I like to read more than once.
The topic of autumn (favourite season), the painting of Marie Cassatt, the language used to describe things - all fascinate me.

The lady on the bench seems completely at one with the autumn background. Her profile reflects the autumnish well-known symptoms of sadness and anxiety. The colours of her clothes are the same as those of the autumn leaves.

The knowledge that she's the painter's sister and she is ill - adds a special dimension to the picture and to the entire topic.

TallTchr said...

@Janie, I'm very glad you saw this posting, and thanks for the comment.

@Duta, while there certainly is a note of melancholy in her face, I would not go so far as to say that autumn is a time of sadness or anxiety. Save those for winter! Sometimes we derive great comfort in watching the seasons change. And, the colors of fall are spectacular. Anyway, thanks as always for your comments.