"When I talk about a painting, I worry about not hitting off the effects of the colors, for that is the most important aspect. I can simply mention red, green, blue and yellow, but these words convey nothing visual. I have noticed that clever commentators overcome this inadequacy by resorting to metaphors. This seems to satisfy everyone. But can anyone say they have seen a picture when it is described for them in words? To depict it in terms of feeling (which seems better at first) is confusing in the end. The truth is, you need a universal alphabet to express the impact of a painting. Stefano's Madonna made me think of the meadows of Monte Viso in full flower (which gave me a similar pleasure). But who was present in the meadows of Viso on 6 July 1915 at exactly the same time as me, in precisely the same light, in exactly the same state of mind, and with the exactly the same angle of vision? The ideal person would also have to have been twenty years of age, a private soldier in the 159th Alpine infantry regiment, in a company commanded by a good sergeant, have come to a halt and be hungry as a wolf, have opened a tin of sardines in oil, be sure that there was a good hour's rest for his feet, and know that there was still a full month to go before leaving for the front. Not to mention the letter from home which I received the day before, and the money order inside it. A particularly good friend was also sitting next to me, and it was ten o'clock exactly. (By half past ten the situation was quite different, for the wine in my canteen had turned quite sour on the march.)"
Jean Giono: "An Italian journey"("Voyage en Italie", 1953). Marlboro Press/Northwestern University Press, 2001.
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