killing hours at at the palazzo reale milano, in the company of manet and his parisian contemporaries;
carolus-duran’s moody portrait of fantin-latour and oulevay from the musee d’orsay catches my attention, i recall a distinct similarity with his other portrait of fantin-latour only, which sold in new york for almost five times the estimate a few years ago; the same loose hair and challenging stare, perhaps just a little less serious.
what are these two men about, a conversation interrupted or a moment of idle disinterest; it looks more like separate portraits sharing a canvas; their distracted proximity echoes uncomfortably in a personal memory of us, i move on bothered by my own illusions of togetherness.
not surprisingly the rooms of the exhibition are a mix of the elderly and museum staff; a family noisily scatters between some landscapes and a still life. in the corner are two young firemen and a renoir. i assume they are part of the standard museum security contingent, they turn in my direction and i imagine a question about suspicious behaviour as they pass the cezanne, too slowly for an inspection and with more than expected interest; they stare at it and suddenly start talking about it in animated whispers.
between a mild self loathing and disgust, a bitter taste in the back of my throat; i was caught out with a bad case of prejudice.
i never thought of you as far away but i guess you always were
now i found the in between and pretend you never were
in a different part of the building i come across the two firemen again, attentively enjoying the instructions of a guide at the damiani exhibit, too engaged to even notice me taking their photo.