This painting William A. Bouguereau did of his daughter, Henrietta (the painting is also called Head of A Girl) is a fantastic example of why I love Romantic Realism. This means it displays reality in a romantic fashion, which means in the highest possible sense known to man, i.e., a romanticized version of reality. You see, Bouguereau made it his business to paint skin in the most sublime way possible, the kind of perfect, flawless, peaches and cream skin that just makes one gape at it in awe and disbelief, as it looks so perfect and lifelike on the canvas. Whether he painted a beautiful, flourishing maiden or a paltry beggar, the subject is always so beautiful as to be considered heavenly. The skin, the fabric, the color, the view, are all painted in the utmost care and with a reflection of the artist’s passionate soul.
If you like this work, look up William Bouguereau online. You will find more than 800 jaw-dropping beauties. If you’re lucky, you may even discover a piece or two in your local museum, where you can go and take it in in all its glory for as long as you like.
What makes Greta Garbo The Divine One? Why does she captivate us so? What does she, above any other actor or actress, manage to convey that no one before or since has managed to enliven?
When I watch a Garbo movie – and she is the star of two of my five favorite movies of all times, Ninotchka and Queen Christina – I see in every movement of her body and in every expression of her face a response to life itself. Her urgent way of moving, speedy but controlled, conveys how precious our limited time on this earth is. The way she tilts her chin up and closes her eyelids halfway convey her adoration of her male partner, and also of life itself. You can see her powerful zest for life in every little detail that makes up this fabulously feminine woman. She shows us the greatness of life and of being alive. And that is why we call her The Divine One.
Writing a scene means focusing on the details of that particular moment you’re trying to create. You must try and invoke all the senses in the reader’s imagination, so that the reader can imagine the place, the characters, and their actions.
It might sound obvious, but it takes years to become really good at this. Here’s an example of a painting masterpiece by French painter Alexandre Cabanel. I am including a close up of his painting, Fallen Angel, so that you can see how he perfected a certain detail. The result gives me chills!
Underneath all her flashy clothes and bright smiles, Louisa Clark is scared to really live life. When she’s hired to take care of Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who depends on other for everything, no one can imagine he’s the one who’s going to end up helping her live a better life. His effect on her is the best part of the story.
What frustrates me about this story is that Lou’s immense benevolence toward life does not effect Will. And no, I am not complaining that he didn’t change his mind at the end. Here’s the deal: as much as he claimed he loved his life prior to the accident, it didn’t seem so great to me. He was a shallow, rich guy, dating a shallow, rich gal, with not much prospect of having a deeper way of life in the future. The funny “glimpse into the future” that Louisa has about his ex girlfriend/best friend five years into their marriage – well that could have easily been Will’s future with Alicia.
It seems like he’s never given the time of day to women like Lou. But here they are now, together, in love. And yes, I do understand his frustrations about what he can’t have (as much as an AB like me can get it), but what about the spiritual side? How about a spiritual, philosophical change?Louisa offered him access to the fundamental benevolence of life the likes of which he was not able to perceive before. Sadly, her mental effect on him was nearly nonexistent. She made his last days less awful, and that’s it. So at the end, it felt like something was missing.
As for the movie, it felt hurried. My favorite part is picturing Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin as the stars in my Travel Secrets trilogy. Oh yea!