Re these List protagonists of yore, it would be most interesting to hear anything of them currently [for example think R Ingelbein is an Assistant Professor at a Belgian university now and no doubt young Arwin has gone far in one direction or another.....] Regards David In a message dated 22/12/2006 07:21:15 GMT Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes: Dear Rickard, Many many thanks for the web research you may have conducted to find the posts of the year 1998, by the memebers who are not anymore active on the list. In fact you gave me the full reconstruction of what I vaguely rememberd as something very impotrant for my current resecarch. Could I ask you to do me a favour and let me know if someday you come across with any further information on the subject? Any detection of TSE-Flemish/Dutch visual arts ties would be highly appreciated. Thankfully, Temur Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 07:37:37 -0500 From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: TSE Digest - 17 Dec 2006 to 18 Dec 2006 (#2006-310) Temur Kobakhidze wrote: > > Sorry for having sort of jumped into your discussion of Four Quartets, > and many thanks for the links. I still think the best link to the Ghent > Altarpiece is http://www.wga.hu/index1.html , and that is Web Gallery of > Art. I have to disagree about where the best pictures are. Wikipedia's can be enlarged by clicking on the picture seen on the article page for one thing. It also discourses on the alterpiece. Either Wikipedia ignored the part of the panel with the Sybil or I missed it so I clicked the link to Wikicommons' pictures of the alterpiece and I picked up a 1 MB screen-filling (944x1760 pixels) detail of just the part of the panel containing her. > I vaguely remember a discussion of the topic here on this list years ago, > but sadly the archives are inaccessible, and I don't remember who the > participants were. The posts that you've mentioned are by Raphael Ingelbien in November, 1998. There was some discussion of panels in art work (St. Sebastian, I think) and Raphael wrote an aside: Speaking of panels: I recently had another look at Van Eyck's Mystic Lamb, this time with possible Eliotic allusions in mind. It was rather intriguing. Eliot's hippopotamus started drifting into the cathedral... Jim Loucks replied to Raphael with: Can you elaborate on your last remark about the painting [and] TSE's hippo? Before Raphael replied there was some silliness on the list about the hippo and TSE and anti-semitism that Raphael continued a bit before getting more serious. I'm adding a few of Raphael's posts below my signoff. > I can understand, that one can see no hippopotami in the paintings of > van Eyck, but the whole thing does not seem as simple as that. What I am > asking for is your comment. To what extent the suggestion that TSE > parodied Adoration in The Hippopotamus is true? Now that I've got Raphael's suggestions to steer me I'll see where they'll take me. Regards, Rick Parker P.S. - And an aside from me: Later that month Arwin van Arum also wrote: Not to mention Theophile Gautier's "l'Hippopotame" of course, but you knew that. ============================================================================ > Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 21:14:38 +0000 (GMT) > From: "R.J.Ingelbien" > Subject: Re: Lamb/hippo On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, james loucks wrote: > Can you elaborate on your last remark about the painting the TSE's hippo? You see, Jim, it was in Ghent's marvellous cathedral that things suddenly fell into place: looking at Van Eyck's Mystic Lamb, I got the revelation that Eliot was not just a misogynist, a fascist, a racist, a bigot, an antisemite, a thief (it was he who stole the lost panel of course) but that he was indeed the Antichrist himself... OK, here is what I noticed: - the lamb, washed as white as snow, if you like, - the true church, looking on, - the choir of the martyred virgins, - lurking in a corner, our old TWL friend the Sibyl of Cumae. There might have been some other things as well, which I don't remember right now. I didn't take notes, sorry. I was also looking at the painting for itself. Besides alluding to Van Eyck, 'The Hippopotamus' also alludes to _Heart of Darkness_ of course. More specifically, to the dead hippo meat that the cannibals take with them on the boat, and which the pilgrims (another version of the supposedly true church that Eliot also satirises) chuck into the river since they can't bear its stench. By letting the dead hippo, washed as white as snow, ascend to heaven, Eliot redeems it from Conrad's heart of darkness. The pilgrims remain confined to it, sailing on one of the rivers of hell as others in Eliot remain stuck on the shores Dante's Inferno - most notably the Hollow Men, who can only see that 'Mistah Kurtz, he dead'. Kurtz himself can only exclaim 'the horror!' because he worships the false whiteness of ivory. Had he helped himself to the hippo's meat, he would have glimpsed the possibility of redemption - in Eliot's reading, if not in Conrad. Instead, he sits upon the shore, fishing for the bits of dead hippo meat unwisely discarded by the pilgrims. The dead hippo lies at the bottom of the river, full fathom five: the hippo is the Jew of course, i.e. the only one who, like his derided brother Bleistein, will find grace in God's eyes. ============================================================================ > Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 15:00:02 +0000 (GMT) > From: "R.J.Ingelbien" <[log in to unmask]> > Subject: Re: Van Eyck On Sat, 28 Nov 1998 [log in to unmask] wrote: > If people ask you what you think of the van Eyck, you'll ordinarily > say a few sentences, and it isn't going to be as revealing of your ideas > as, say, your writing a 15-page essay on the painting. A bit much to ask at this point, I would say. I was only suggesting that Eliot may have remembered the painting when he wrote 'The Hippopotamus'. > 1) I wasn't aware he had visited Ghent, so fill me in. If he didn't, this > isn't fatal because he could have known the painting through a postcard or > reproduction. He did visit Ghent shortly before W.W.I, as well as Bruges and Antwerp. That's mentioned in his letters, as well as in Gordon. You say that he was more into Italian art than in Flemish/Germanic painting: this may be true, but he may have been particularly impressed by some of the paintings he saw in Flanders. Again, which painting of St Sebastian struck him most? I can't remember for sure right now, but from what I remember of Gordon I think it was something he saw in a Flemish museum. Correct me if i'm wrong. As you point out, it is also true that Northern painters took Revelation as their subject more often than their Italian counterparts. As for postcards or reproductions: Van Eyck's triptych is quite a tricky thing to reproduce, what with its three panels (some of which are painted on both sides) and its sheer size. > 3) Here's the biggest problem. The Ghent Altarpiece is based on imagery, > especially the mystic lamb, from the book of Revelation. True. What makes it quite interesting is that it condenses Revelation in a visionary mode rather than a narrative one. Thus, the central panel has the Lamb at its centre, with various groups looking on (groups of Eliotic interest here: the martyr'd virgins, the confessors). In other words, it is an extremely synthetic condensation of images. I am not sure Eliot liked it - certainly his response to the Flemish art towns was not wholly enthusiastic. He complained of their slightly musty atmosphere, the old miasmal mist hanging about the place. > possibility A--Eliot and van Eyck both borrow imagery from Revelation. > > possibility B--Eliot borrows from van Eyck, who borrowed from Revelation Or a mixture of both. > The Biblical book is bizarre and "surrealistic." Many artists tone down > the imagery. In Revelation, for example, the mystic lamb has "seven horns > and seven eyes." Van Eyck trimmed this back to a normal number of eyes > and no horns. On the other hand, he still adopts a visionary rather than a narrative approach. He was no Bosch OK, but he did adopt a challenging method. > Now if you seriously felt the van Eyck was relevant, why not lay out your > reasoning? Maybe you see something I'm not noticing. I don't have a 'reasoning' at this stage, beyond the suggestion that Van Eyck may have been part of the kind of religiosity that Eliot was satirising in 'The Hippopotamus'. I don't think I know enough about Eliot's response to the visual arts to develop this much further, but since some people on the list are rather gemmed up on that aspect I thought I would float the idea of a connection and see what they could make of it.