A portrait that molds color and shadow: it is a vision that shifts and trembles with the vagaries of light and trembles on the precipice of change.
The light is as thick and rich as cream. It pours in brilliant skeins across the girl’s shoulders and neck, forming streams and rivers – a cartography of chaste color. The artist’s brush was heavy with paint, dripping with illumination: when it touched the canvas, she came to life in a sculpture of incandescence and dusk.
Highlights glide down the slope of her nose, to mold a generous, blushing silhouette. Glistening daubs contour her lower lip into a seductive, endearing curve. A single spot of light rests in her eye like a distant sun. It glimmers dimly beneath the lid, on the outskirts of the dark iris. Free of outline’s curse, she grows out of the hothouse air like an orchid.
The baubles that hang from her ears seem to glow internally, seething with white-hot galaxies. Her cloak is thick and modeled, cut deeply into shadow, like blue snowdrifts. Her red hat stretches over her like an exotic awning, its flush echoed in her cheeks and mouth. It casts a shadow over her face, a seamless puzzle of planes and depths.
No one can be sure if this lady existed. It is possible that the artist caught a glimpse of her, the fleeting, dissolving mesh of light, the parted, expectant mouth – the impossible red hat. Or perhaps he imagined her, a feminine equation who waited in a humid and bronzed room, warm with clinging illumination.
She is a masterpiece of color and light – warm and dimensional, melting yet sculptural, a soft design of texture and pattern. She is a sum of radiant molecules suspended in ether, where a sudden breath – a shattering of air – will forever alter her, or cause her to disappear completely.