Arty quotes

Julian Barnes

"The Raft of the Medusa"
To make the shadow as black as possible, Géricault used quantities of bitumen to give him the shimmering gloom he sought. Bitumen, however, is chemically unstable, and from the moment Louis XVIII examined the work, a slow, irreparable decay of the paint surface was inevitable. 'No sooner do we come into this world,' said Flaubert, 'than bits of us start to fall off.' The masterpiece, once completed, does not stop: it continues in motion downhill. Our leading expert on Géricault confirms that the painting is 'now in part a ruin'. And perhaps if they examine the frame they will discover woodworm living there. (Julian Barnes from "Keeping an Eye Open")
The Raft of the Medusa (Scène de naufrage)