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09 July 2015


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William R. Cumming

A wonderful post IMO! AH! THE PEACEABLE KINGDOM! Rousseau a wonder! And yes not intentional but nevertheless a fact the US FP establishment has long lost PERSPECTIVE. Why?

Washington all about choosing up sides and little to do with policy formulation and implementation! Why? Then you can skip GOVERNANCE and just worry about your CAREER!

The current destructive cross-pollination of goals between Washington and Wall Street and Academica is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER!


Walrus, thank you for the thought provoking post! I'd like to offer another viewpoint (pun intended) on this thesis. The use of formal perspective was an important advancement in art during the Renaissance, however, it also created the illusion of being a more advanced form of art; There are many ways of creating the illusion of space and perspective, for example Chinese painting was very advanced, indeed ancient, by the time of the Renaissance, yet it has never used perspective. Thus, the illusion of being more advanced was a cornerstone of Renaissance thinking which has remained to this day, which carries along with it the illusion of Western supremacy of thought.

This conceit is apparent in the formal description of naive art that is quoted above, that Renaissance art is the most advanced art because it is more 'realistic' - a formula which was turned on its head in the 20th century by many schools. One does not have to appreciate Modern art to accept this statement, because it is proven by many means, including the fact that photography did not kill painting.

Getting to my thesis, I would in fact link Nuland, Power and neoliberal American foreign policy to the side of Renaissance thinking, which automatically places the West in the most favored position; In perspective-based art, there is one dominant viewing position where the painting or drawing is viewed as 'correct' - from other viewing angles, the piece tends to look distorted. By placing itself above other so-called 'primitive' techniques, Renaissance art theory was a key intellectual foundation for Western colonialism.

Interestingly, the viewing experience of Rousseau, Gauguin and others is immediately accessible and requires no theory to be understood. As a fan of Rousseau, you know his work is often describe as 'dreamlike,' revealing the inner life of the subject, and by extension, the viewer. In this painting, despite the carnage, the subject is clearly triumphal, and so invites the viewer to associate with that viewpoint, rather than the dead and vanquished. This, I would say, is where the real naive viewpoint lies.


Thanks for indulging my long-winded post - it's nice to put my fine arts education to use!


Nuland,Power and S Rice. The
Witches of Eastwick??


Walrus, let us know, what you find interesting in the field of visual arts, will you? If that is too boring, reflections on Venice would be good enough.

You can leave out Baselitz, or Hans-Georg Kern, I am no fan of his. ;)



The caption image is quite appropriate. That angel of retribution is only killing white people; which explains why those Azov battalion flags CP provides such good documentation of in his post are just the sort of flags our President and advisers approve of waving around.

Mark Logan

Steve G.

They are haunted by the screaming of (Rwandan) lambs.

cville reader

Well, Nuland and Power are apparently not the only naïfs in DC.


How does this fit in with your narrative of childlike simplicity?



First, thank you, Walrus.

This work by Rousseau is, no doubt as intended, very disturbing. A few observations...

The horse is deformed, its head and neck are not equine, but rather serpentine; the head is too small, the tongue lolls. A demon horse.

The woman is not actually riding the horse; she is not astride the horse, she is not sitting side saddle (if that were the case, the left leg would be forward), instead she is racing alongside the horse in mid-air. The hair on the right of her head streams out in echo of the tail of the horse, animalic. The torch she bears in her left hand emits no light, only darkness and smoke. Observe how she holds the sword in her right hand. Her fingers are wrapped around the quillons, not a proper grip for wielding the sword as a weapon at all. To my mind, it is fit for only one thing, to present the image of the inverted cross, a satanic symbol. Her face is fixed in an open-lipped Gorgon stare, empty of emotion, and is if anything more terrifying than if it were fixed in a rictus of hate. Spiritually empty, remorseless

Altogether, the woman and the horse are demonic in their effect.

The bodies are strewn about, some mutilated, contorted in the grip of rigor mortis. The pallid head in the foreground, eyes open in death, appears to be severed from its body. Carrion birds flap about, gorging themselves on the corpses. The trees, blasted and ruined, drop their shattered limbs and blackened leaves. Sullen and unnatural clouds float in the preternaturally blue sky.

Satanic, hellish, demonic...a thoroughly frightening image, a warning to mankind of the evil that is unleashed through war.

As a musician, I am reminded of the powerful evocation of just such a nightmarish vision conveyed through music composed by Gustav Holst as part of his suite, The Planets, specifically in the movement depicting Mars, the Bringer of War. I have played this work (along with the rest of the suite), and I can report truthfully that the menacing tread of this music can be as terrifying as Rousseau's vision.


So yes, Obama's harpies blithely unleash these horrors; it matters little trying to identify which one of them is more accurately depicted, as any of them are candidates.

P.S.: While digging around on the internet for more information on this work, I ran across this fascinating article from a few years back that draws connections between Rousseau and Picasso, and specifically on how this contact may have had an influence on Picasso's work, Guernica.



Another interesting connection is that the two principal figures are flying well above the fray, much like their disgusting, warmongering counterparts in the real world who face no danger themselves.

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