carnation, lily, lily, rose

carnation, lily, lily, rose

John Singer Sargent, 1885-6.

I saw this painting when I was a child and found it utterly beautiful, but it mostly stuck with me because I remembered that the artist only painted for a few minutes each evening to make sure that he captured just the right light. The effect is almost magical, and it is easy to see how it appealed to my younger self. The sense that every day there is a liminal time between day and night, lasting only a few moments but recurring consistently over time so that I can still recognise the very light that Sargent painted, is a powerful notion. Though things inevitably change – Sargent had to use artificial flowers once autumn came – there is at least something connecting us all; I am so different to the child who first saw and loved this painting, and yet I can still feel its timeless beauty.

The painting is currently on display at the Tate Britain, London.

For more, see the Tate website.

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