Thursday, 13 January 2011

I Found My Word!!

If you don't love words like I do, I'm sure you'll think I'm mental.  Perhaps you're right, but way back in 2009 we visited a gallery in Sydney.  You remember, don't you?  I told you all about it.  I was excited at learning a new word, the word for when a painting is painted on top of another, hidden, one.  I took a photo of the placard that gave the word, but my photo didn't come out and as much as I Googled, I couldn't find it.

Enter Encyclopedia of the Exquisite.  Amongst the p-words (punto in aria, pell mell, perfume) was PENTIMENTOan underlying image in a painting.  It comes from the Latin paenitere, "to regret".  Jenkins, the author, doesn't talk about Goupil's Village Girl, however.  She tells a story about a 19th Century French painter, named Gustave Courbet (her dates for his lifespan are at odds with Wikipedia and the Musee d'Orsay, so I wouldn't pin any money on these facts, but the story is interesting nonetheless).  

In 1973 an x-ray revealed another painting beneath The Wounded Man, which depicts a defeated, dying dualist with a sword at his side.  This is not one that the artist ever sold, but kept it with him even when he left France to live the rest of his life in Switzerland.

The painting beneath has his love of fourteen years in place of the sword; her head is on his shoulder and they are napping under the tree.  She left him and took their young son, so Courbet painted his regret into the new painting.  You can see it here.  I shall try to remember this as his 'penitent momento' and perhaps hang on to my new word.

Have you found any new words lately?


Jg. for FatScribe said...

glad you found the word! my friend calls me every six months or so to ask about a word i used years ago, "conflate." he'll call and say, "now, what was that word you used?"

but, you. your word rocks. love that word: pentimento. i'll try it out this week.

i thought you were going to say, provenance, ownership record of a painting used by galleries and museums to verify authenticity. but, that's a word for another day!


Shelley said...

Jg - Hmmm, I'm thinking your word is tougher than mine. I worked out about conflation with respect to identities, but the part about logic lost me. 'Provenance' is a cool word, too, sort of like Provence, eh? It has a lot of authority to it as well; must find a way to use it sometimes soon!