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中英:月亮和六便士(44)

2006-08-22 21:40

    Chapter XLIV

    A certain importance attaches to the views on art of painters, and this is the natural place for me to set down what I know of Strickland's opinions of the great artists of the past. I am afraid I have very little worth noting. Strickland was not a conversationalist, and he had no gift for putting what he had to say in the striking phrase that the listener remembers. He had no wit. His humour, as will be seen if I have in any way succeeded in reproducing the manner of his conversation, was sardonic. His repartee was rude. He made one laugh sometimes by speaking the truth, but this is a form of humour which gains its force only by its unusualness; it would cease to amuse if it were commonly practised.

    Strickland was not, I should say, a man of great intelligence, and his views on painting were by no means out of the ordinary. I never heard him speak of those whose work had a certain analogy with his own —— of Cezanne, for instance, or of Van Gogh; and I doubt very much if he had ever seen their pictures. He was not greatly interested in the Impressionists. Their technique impressed him, but I fancy that he thought their attitude commonplace. When Stroeve was holding forth at length on the excellence of Monet, he said: "I prefer Winterhalter. " But I dare say he said it to annoy, and if he did he certainly succeeded.

    I am disappointed that I cannot report any extravagances in his opinions on the old masters. There is so much in his character which is strange that I feel it would complete the picture if his views were outrageous. I feel the need to ascribe to him fantastic theories about his predecessors, and it is with a certain sense of disillusion that I confess he thought about them pretty much as does everybody else. I do not believe he knew El Greco. He had a great but somewhat impatient admiration for Velasquez. Chardin delighted him, and Rembrandt moved him to ecstasy. He described the impression that Rembrandt made on him with a coarseness I cannot repeat. The only painter that interested him who was at all unexpected was Brueghel the Elder. I knew very little about him at that time, and Strickland had no power to explain himself. I remember what he said about him because it was so unsatisfactory.

    "He's all right, " said Strickland. "I bet he found it hell to paint. "

    When later, in Vienna, I saw several of Peter Brueghel's pictures, I thought I understood why he had attracted Strickland's attention. Here, too, was a man with a vision of the world peculiar to himself. I made somewhat copious notes at the time, intending to write something about him, but I have lost them, and have now only the recollection of an emotion. He seemed to see his fellow-creatures grotesquely, and he was angry with them because they were grotesque; life was a confusion of ridiculous, sordid happenings, a fit subject for laughter, and yet it made him sorrowful to laugh. Brueghel gave me the impression of a man striving to express in one medium feelings more appropriate to expression in another, and it may be that it was the obscure consciousness of this that excited Strickland's sympathy. Perhaps both were trying to put down in paint ideas which were more suitable to literature.

    Strickland at this time must have been nearly forty-seven.

    对于其他大师的绘画艺术看法如何,是一件相当重要的事;我在这里自然要记叙一下思特里克兰德对过去一些伟大艺术家的意见。我怕值得我写下的东西实在不多。思特里克兰德不善讲话,他根本不会把自己想要说的用精辟的言辞讲出来,给听的人留下较深的印象。他说话没有风趣。如果说我多少还成功地记录下他的一些话语,从中可以看出他的某些幽默感,这种幽默也主要表现为冷嘲热讽。他辩驳别人话的时候非常粗野,有时候由于直言不讳,会叫你发笑;但是这些话之所以让你觉得滑稽,只是因为他的话说得不多。如果他一开口就是这样的话,人们也就不觉得有什么好笑的了。

    我应该说,思特里克兰德并不是一个智力超群的人,他对于绘画的见解也丝毫没有什么独到之处。我从来没有听他谈论过那些绘画风格与他类似的画家,例如塞尚,凡。高等人;我很怀疑他是否看过这些画家的作品。他对于印象派画家似乎不怎么感兴趣,这些人的技巧留给他一定的印象,但是我猜想他也许认为他们对待艺术的态度是平庸无奇的。有一次施特略夫正仔细评论莫奈的卓越艺术,思特里克兰德突然插口说:“我更喜欢温特尔哈尔特①。”我敢说他说这句是有意气一气施特略夫;如果他确实有这个意思,他算成功了。

    ①弗朗兹。伊可萨维尔。温特尔哈尔特(1805?—1873),德国宫廷画家。

    我感到很失望,不能写下他在评论一些老派画家时的谬论。他的性格既然如此怪异,如果他在品评绘画时也有一些奇谈怪论,我笔下的这个形象就更加完美了。我觉得我很需要叫他对过去的一些画家发表些荒诞的理论,但是我还是得讲老实话,他同一般人一样,对这些画家也是赞不绝口,这叫我非常失望。我看他根本不知道谁是埃尔。格列柯。他对委拉斯凯兹相当敬佩,尽管怀有某种厌烦不耐的情绪。他喜欢夏尔丹,伦勃朗则使他感到入迷。他给我讲伦勃朗的绘画给他的印象时,用的语言极其粗鄙,我在这里无法引述。谁也想不到他最喜爱的一位画家竟是老布鲁盖尔②。我当时对老布鲁盖尔不太了解,而思特里克兰德也没有能力表达自己。我之所以记得他对布鲁盖尔的评论是因为他这句话实在太词不达意了。

    ②彼得。布鲁盖尔(1522?—1569),佛兰德斯画家;其子扬。布鲁盖尔(1568—1625)亦为画家。

    “他的画不错,”思特里克兰德说,“我敢说他发现画画儿是件受罪的事。”

    后来我在维也纳看过彼得。布鲁盖尔的几幅画以后,我想我才懂得为什么这位画家引起了思特里克兰德的注意。这是另一个对世界怀着自己独特幻觉的画家。我当时作了大量笔记,准备将来写一本关于布鲁盖尔的书,但是这些材料后来都遗失了,留下来的只是一种感情的回忆。在布鲁盖尔的眼睛里,人们的形象似乎是怪诞的,他对人们这种怪诞的样子非常气愤;生活不过是一片混乱,充满了各种可笑的、龌龊的事情,它只能给人们提供笑料,但是他笑的时候却禁不住满心哀伤。布鲁盖尔给我的印象是,他想用一种手段努力表达只适合于另一种方式表达的感情,思特里克兰德之所以对他同情,说不定正是朦胧中意识到这一点。也许这两个人都在努力用绘画表现出更适合于通过文学表达的意念。

    思特里克兰德这时大概已经四十七岁了。

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