Time Passing

Cézanne’s card players have come up before on this blog. I find them puzzling. The subject is boring and the manner is uninspired, even if the pictures do contain lots of typical Cézanne. But maybe time does pass without much incident, or at least seems to, from more than one perspective. It only appears to move along smartly in a work of fiction; otherwise, the long view (say cosmology) is pretty much one of sameness, and the short view (moment to moment) likewise. History, as we tell it to ourselves, usually needs the qualities of fiction to be intelligible. The idea that an artist’s time passes in a flat but fascinated sameness, modulated by a few mild waves of enthusiasm and depression, is posited in Richard Shiff’s recent book on De Kooning, also previously mentioned. Certainly there must be a temporal position from which this is true. I could put these remarks into context by discussing the over-capacity of the imagination.

Paul Cézanne, Card players, 1890-92

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