Friday, 9 April 2010

My Inkstand is my Palette. Victor Hugo.

Almost all his drawings are commentaries upon his thoughts, writes Barbou in Victor Hugo and his Time. His pen had more charms to him than his pencil and with a hat as his easel, Victor Hugo discovers that drawing from nature can be combined with his literary pursuits. "A chance blot of ink will soon be subject to the most startling metamorphoses, art coming in to finish what fancy begun".
My inkstand is generally my palette; if I want a lighter shade, a glass of water is my only requisite, though a few drops of coffee are occasionally very useful.
 Many of his compositions, writes Barbou, are of the banks of the Rhine with their castles and ruins and he has got a loving veneration for the Middle Ages. "He takes an evident delight in the dilapidated fabrics, the crumbling ceilings and the broken mullions, deprecating from his very soul all modern attempts to restore them".

Alfred Barbou, Frewer Ellen Elizabeth, Victor Hugo and his Time, New York: Harper Brothers, 1882. Cornell University Library. Internet Archive. See also Florian Rodari, Shadows of a Hand. The Drawings of Victor Hugo, Merrell Holberton 1998.

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