Fears Not Dust

Degas fears not dust, but the hand of man.
His art is that of motion not of bronze.
His shuttered frame’s neither still nor frozen.
From moment to moment his art responds.
He seeks the illusion of transfered weight;
forward leaning movements lunging at space.
He seeks expression through a fluid state;
liquid locomotion spilled into place.
See the bathing women, the jockeyed horse,
the ballerinas giving curtain call,
the girls with flowers, and himself of course;
none paint a picture showing life at stall.
. The subtle suggestion of swing and sway,
. Creates the impression of dance at play.

© Tim Grace, 4 November 2012


To the reader: “What’s more static than a statued dancer?” Degas was challenged by the limitations of ‘snapshot’ art. The idea of capturing a static scene brought him little interest. His more intriguing challenge came through art that suggested something beyond the instant of creation. Through pose and posture, Degas gave his subjects impetus; his scenes momentum. Therein lies the power of degas … in every moment there’s fresh potential.

To the poet: Like moths to light, experts love controvacy:”Degas, one suspects, was turning in his grave. Before his death in 1917, he repeatedly expressed concern that charlatans might highjack his legacy by casting his sculptures in bronze and selling them to collectors, and is said to have told his fellow painter Georges Rouault, ‘What I fear most is not dust but the hand of man.'” And that article in Bloomberg Business (by William D Cohan) triggered my poetic interest.


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