I spent so much time looking again & again at the Bruegels in the Kunsthistorische Museum, that I missed out, I see, on an apparently unrepeatable Durer exhibit at another museum (which the NY Times told me about this morning). Bruegel has a hypnotic affect on me. (I seem to be susceptible to these mild trances, as with Mandelstam in translation, or the scent of pine needles, or Wanda Landowska playing Mozart; could be a character flaw, or a throwback to a hunter/gatherer instinct, or too much reading in childhood, or dropping acid in the 60s, or all, or none. . .)

I like everything about Bruegel, but especially the warm-mute colors (could be simply an effect of aging, or ripening), and the little details in the distance, people, trees, houses. . . feel like if I keep looking, soon I'll be able to go around the corner of one of those narrow streets (I used to like miniature toy soldiers, too). In one of his Seasons paintings (there were 6 seasons in the Middle Ages), late autumn, with the bringing in of the herd in the foreground - I noticed that the outline/shaping of the cattle closely resemble the prehistoric cave-paintings in France.

Bruegel's Seasons are local-cosmological; he is a realist, whose vision nevertheless plays chords on several emotional-intellectual octaves at once; the mundane-goofy Now harbors a muted background, a vanishing point. Such slow painting gathers Now into "transhuman" time; absorbed in these scenes, I felt that Bruegel's Now was overtaking & replacing my own.

It's like the slow painting of Proust, gathering experience to a point of retrospective epiphany, which sets the immediate & the mundane glowing in a strange way. Joyce, also a natural Bruegelian.

(Bruegel shows up on page 2 of Stubborn Grew, & many times after; in that book I try to be local-cosmological & comic-deep also. The larger poem (Forth of July) tries to ring changes on this concept of a retrospective (or recapitulatory) Now, to link the aesthetic & the cosmological, somewhat in the direction of Crane's Bridge. I wrote more about this early on here in hgpoetics, around January.)

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