By Guy Davenport
Airborne dirt and dust jacket notes: "The portray of Balthus, enigmatic, poetic, and arguable, is either deeply conventional and substantially glossy. In tracing a few of its kinship with the poetry of Rilke (Balthus's formative years mentor), with Picasso and others, man Davenport makes an attempt during this set of meditations written over numerous years in his notebooks to put Balthus because the glossy grasp in whose arms the good culture of Western work now mostly lies. those terse notes recommend readings of numerous of the key work, hint topics and habitual photographs, and pose speculative rules in regards to the which means and nature of Balthus. those notes are usually not an orderly argument through an paintings critic yet a development of responses, kind of aim, through a author who sees Balthus as a very good poet in addition to a very good painter."
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Additional resources for A Balthus Notebook
New York: Modern Library, 1957. Comfort, Alex, Darwin and the Naked Lady: Discursive Essays on Biology and Art. New York: George Braziller, 1961. Dobyns, Stephen, The Balthus Poems. New York: Atheneum, 1982. Klossowski de Rola, Stanislas, Balthus. New York: Harper & Row, 1983. Levi-Strauss, Claude, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, tr. James Harle Bell, John Richard Sturmer, and Rodney Needham. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. , The View from Afar, tr. Joachim Neugroschel and Phoebe Hoss. New York: Basic Books, 1985.
Their differences are many: Eakins has none of Balthus's irony, wit, or comedy. Their sensuality, surprisingly, brings them together, for both insist that the body has a mind, and that its intellectual, speculative, thinking life is integral to the sensuous life of the body. They share a candor expressed in exactitude and honesty. Eakins shared Whitman's vision of the erotic, and painted wrestlers as intimately entwined as lovers, and male swimmers as comradely as in an Athenian gymnasium frequented by Alcibiades.
It seems to me wrong to see a philosophical abstraction when the artist has given us flesh and blood, a perfection of tone and moment, a magic stillness of time, accurate perceptions of moods which few painters or poets can equal. Young Girl at a Window (1955)-a girl with her left leg resting on a chair, her arms on a windowsill, seen from behind, looking out on boughs, bushes, a barndefines so well the pensive quiet of the moment that archetypes and emblems add nothing to the painting's beauty or its success.
A Balthus Notebook by Guy Davenport