Friday, August 2, 2013

Viva Artistas, Viva Espana!

What do you get when you cross Marc Chagall and Grandma Moses?  The paintings of Flannery O'Connor, of course!  While I don't know if O'Connor was influenced by Grandma Moses, she certainly had a high opinion of Marc Chagall and I think you can see traces of his influence in her art work.  In any case, he was one of Flannery's favorite artists.  In the letter to Janet McKane that I referenced last week (The Habit of Being,  p. 531) she thanks her friend for sharing a recently published article on the artist.  "I was delighted to read the piece on Chagall.  I never see the Atlantic so I would have missed it altogether and Chagall is one of my favorites. Last year I saw a television interview between Chagall and a young man from the museum in Boston.  I think it was - educational TV.  The young man was very arty. He started exhibiting his own learning along the way, giving everybody including Chagall a lecture on the nature of influences on the artist.  When he finally gave Chagall a chance to answer, Chagall said in the simplest way possible that his greatest influence was his mother. It took the poor young man an instant or two to get his bearings after that."  Further on in this letter Flannery makes an oblique reference to Picasso.  While O'Connor was certainly a capable artist, we would not be talking about her paintings today were it not for the fact that she was one of the most important short story writers of the twentieth century.  We do have to talk about the Spaniards, however, because the history of world art is incomprehensible without Velasquez, El Greco, Picasso, et. al.  For my Georgia readers who might be interested in learning more about the country that produced so many great artists, tune into GPB television tonight at 7:00 p.m. for a program hosted by noted  travel writer Rick Steves called Viva Espana!.  The region of Spain Steves is focusing on is - what else - Andalusia!
- Mark

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