Thursday, August 26, 2010


"Night, Seaport by Moonlight"         Joseph Venet

"This Hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with marineres
That come from a far countree.

He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve--
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump. "

From  "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Painted about 1771, this oil resides in the Louvre in Paris and looks a bit worn here in this depiction.  I wonder if the artist was using lantern-light while painting and how that affected his selection and laydown of color.
  After sometimes months at sea, sailors must have really appreciated stomping around on solid ground, building a fire and talking with the pretty ladies of the port.  I saw somewhere while researching this painting that it is the port of Palermo shown here.  Makes me wonder if the white building shown on the hill still exists and if one  could get away with building a fire near the shoreline in these times.


  1. I've seen photos of this painting before and have always loved it. There is something about the bright moonlight, the fire, and the people gathered around it which twigs something inside of me.

    I miss being able to build a good fire outside, burning all the branches and gardening detritus in the fall and then having the kids roast wieners or marshmallows. One of my former neighbours always had a huge bonfire in the fall and we always came with the kids into the late hours. He's not allowed to have it anymore because of restrictions and bylaws. That's both a good thing and a sad thing...

  2. I remember having to memorize this poem at school and these many decades it is with me still.
    The painting is lovely - I am always fascinated by the moodiness of landscapes in this era. While age of course has a good deal to do with their darkness still they are quite mesmerizing drawing the viewer into the depths of that darkness.

  3. Both the picture and the poem are lovely...very moving!

    Hope you are well, goatman x

  4. this is one of the paintings where the light simply hypnotic! i love the way you framed it with the verse and the words.

  5. HI Goatman,

    I clicked on this painting to enlarge it. It is rather interesting to wonder how the artist got that kind of light in this painting. Moonlight sheds on the firelight? Yes, perhaps he had a lantern lit up of some is however eye stunning and quite a beautiful painting.

    Love, Peace and Angel Blessings,


  6. Its been awhile, its so delightful to be here with you

  7. i love the painting and the poetic words- lovely match here,goatman. looks like your muse's GPS is working jes'fine!

  8. That is a beautifully mesmerising painting, with the light in the sky and the fire so luminous. I just keep staring at it, the shadows and the light in the various elements.. water, sky and the fire on land.. Someone once told me that painting light was the next revolution in art, during the renaissance. Why do you say if painting it by the light of a lantern could have affected his choice of color? I'm just curious.

  9. mystic rose,
    Its just that his seeing the color of the scene, then trying to duplicate or imitate it with his oils under the light of lantern must have been tricky. But maybe the objective is to portray the feeling of the light rather than specific colors. (I guess I am thinking too much in terms of camera capture rather than emotion capture -- which is all they had in those years)

  10. I have stolen this post.....

    Thanks it helped :>)

  11. wow, i hope i could paint something like that. i fell inlove with it. such a nice poem. both requires skills and talent. leaves me wondering too. :)

    have a great one goatman! nice to be here!

  12. Love this constellation
    a very artful post, I must say.

    Here we still make a fire by the shoreline, due to "allemansrätten"
    (in Eng. the right of public access to the wilderness or the right to roam, sometimes called he freedom to roam, or everyman's right is the general public's right to access certain public or privately owned land for recreation and exercise.)

    Have a lovely week

  13. what marvellous points of light in this

    great match between the painting and the Coleridge

  14. How are you doing Goatman? Let me know? I think of you often and hope you are doing better.

    Love and Blessings,


  15. mesmerizing painting and to combine it with that lovely verse.. completes an aesthetic post! everything connected with sea (waves, ships, ports, sailors and so on) are so very intriguing ..

  16. Done with the wood chopping?
    Great to have free work-out! ;-)