14.1.21

Aesthetic Thursday: Poussin’s Poetic Painting "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recently went to the Met — and I wandered the newly renovated European Paintings galleries and I fell in love with the French artist Poussin's painterly image of a wandering giant looking for the sun.
The painting "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun" is an oil painting on canvas by French artist Nicolas Poussin
Nicolas Poussin, French Les Andelys 1594-1665 Rom — "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun," 1658 (oil on canvas). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. 24.45.1 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently renovated its European Paintings galleries. The skylights have been fixed and apparently more artwork has been hung on the walls. I like to wander the galleries without a goal in mind — however, I lie just a bit, here. Because I did have a goal in my wanderings — mainly to find the Met's Caravaggio's. But it's always the serendipitous finds that stick with me. And Poussin's "Blind Orion" caught my attention. I know nothing of Poussin — so my interpretation of the painting is more of a first blush. But I am a lover of myth and poetry — and this painting draws you into a mythological world. At first I thought the giant figure carrying a man on his shoulders was Saint Christopher — the legendary boatsman who carried the Christ child on his shoulder crossing a river. But that is not the subject of this painting. It's a depiction of the blind giant Orion, who carries his guide Cedalion, as they look for the rising sun. The museum placard indicates that Diana, the moon goddess, who appears a diaphanous blue, stands watching in the clouds. It's a magical story; obviously one fit for myth — but the scene resonates with me because I think of myself as somewhat of a wanderer. And Orion is also the name of one of my favorite constellations. So it is befitting. Here's to searching. For the healing sun.

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