Craft
What is drawing? How does one come to it? It is working through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do. How is one to get through that wall - since pounding at it is of no use? In my opinion one has to undermine that wall, filing through it steadily and patiently.
- Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, 22 October 1882

Some Officers Of The Great War

My notes on a John Singer Sargent painting at the National Portrait Gallery, “General Officers Of the Great War”:

These men are sated,
satisfied, tried and true,
censured and cinched,
catalogued and decorated,
and are those spurs
on their jackboots too?

Botha proud like a superman,
Allenby an Arabian beauty, half-horse,
Smuts white as a ghost,
and Field Marshall Haig right at the front,
front and centaah, SAH!!

Sargent made them round about life size –
22 men, hard, stiff,
behind them a gloomy looming tomb vault
or some edifice of state.
Top brass done up in the colors of sand,
of peaches, and leather buffed bright –
the hues of WWI –
and cadmium red kept well out of sight.

General Officers Of The Great War by John Singer Sargent

General Officers Of The Great War by John Singer Sargent

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