EN3246   Literature and the Other Arts: Poetry and Painting

Rajeev S. Patke



Lecture 3  William Carlos Williams, Pictures from Brueghel


  Lecture Sections:

                1. Review questions to be answered in the analysis of ekphrasis

2. William Carlos Williams: Backgrounds

3. Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c.1525/30-1569)

Pictures from Brueghel                      



1    Review questions to be answered in the analysis of ekphrasis


        A     Intrinsic features (pre-iconological analysis

1.1  What are the key features that distinguish the pictorial elements: (a) line, (b) space (shapes, forms), (c) colour (light, tone, colour-combinations), and texture? 

1.2  What are the key features that distinguish its composition (design): (a) unity & variety (balance, emphasis & subordination); (b) directional forces (& contrasts); (c) repetition (& rhythm), and (d) scale and proportion? 

1.3  What is the role of the temporal dimension (its narrative potential) in the picture?              

B     Extrinsic features (iconological interpretation

1.4  What does the title provide by way of allusions and clues to interpretation? 

1.5  What can you identify of the picture’s relations to other pictures, and to the history of art, in terms of (a) Genre, (b) Period, (c) Convention, (d) Motif, and (e) Style. 

C     The ekphrastic relation 

1.6    Where does the verbal text place itself on the spectrum ranging from “close description” to “weak and casual allusion”? That is, how closely does it adhere to (or how much does it depart from) the key features of the picture? 

1.7    Does the poem “invent”/”ascribe” as a narrative dimension “latent to”/“implied by” the picture? 

1.8    In what senses does the poem “interpret”/”evaluate”/”criticize” or “diverge from” the picture? 

1.9    How do you evaluate the relation set up by the verbal text to the picture in terms of the issues and values (in art and life) that are activated by the interaction? 

1.10 What does the verbal text “add to” or “subtract from” the picture? What is the nature of the imaginative engagement of the verbal arts with the plastic arts?



2     William Carlos Williams (1883-1963): Backgrounds 


 2.1          Biographical information 

                Links:     The Academy of American Poets:  http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/119

                                 Cary Nelson: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/s_z/williams/williams.htm

                Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Carlos_Williams

                 NUS CL Video: Voices & Visions series:              

CL Multimedia (Loans Desk 2)

 PS614 Voi 1999  videocassette (Carlos) 



                NUS CL: Williams on Art: A recognizable image : William Carlos Williams on art and artists . Ed. Bram Dijkstra, 1978.

  CL Closed Stacks (Loans Desk 3)  N7445 Wil     352868   REQUEST ITEM

    2.2          Verbal images, imagery, and imagism

                   Link: A brief guide to Imagism: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5658

                   Link: The Red Wheelbarrow: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15537

                   Link: Ecphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5918

                   Link: The Armory Show of 1913: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armory_Show

                   Link: Online recreation of the Armory Show: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MUSEUM/Armory/entrance.html

                   Link: Video Clip (“The Great Figure”): http://www.learner.org/catalog/extras/vvspot/video/williams.html

                   Link: Bonnie Costello on Williams & Paintings: http://www.bostonreview.net/BR04.6/costello.html



3      Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c.1525/30-1569)     


Link: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/brue/hd_brue.htm

Link: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/bruegel_the_elder_pieter.html

Link: http://www.artchive.com/artchive/ftptoc/bruegel_ext.html  [Read the extract from E. Gombrich on "Picture of a Country Wedding".]

Link: http://sunsite.sut.ac.jp/cgfa/bruegel1/index.html

Link: http://www.wga.hu/html/b/bruegel/pieter_e/painting/index.html



4      Ekphrasis: Pictures from Brueghel


On poems by Williams that refer to paintings:

Link: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jconte/Williams.html

Link: http://www.bostonreview.net/BR04.6/costello.html

Link: The Poet Speaks of Art (Harry Rusche, Emory Univ.): http://www.english.emory.edu/classes/paintings&poems/titlepage.html

Sample Exercises {ideal for class presentations}

Exercise 1: Compare Auden's ekphrastic references to the Brueghel painting "Landscape with Fall of Icarus" with those in the Williams poem.

Link to Image & Auden text: http://www.english.emory.edu/classes/paintings&poems/auden.html

Exercise 2: Compare John Berryman's ekphrastic references to the Brueghel painting "Hunters in the Snow" with those in the Williams poem

Link to Image & Berryman text: http://www.english.emory.edu/classes/paintings&poems/berryman.html



4     Brueghel/Williams: Self-Portrait


Jean Fouquet, "The Court Jester Gonella" (c.1442, once wrongly attributed to Brueghel)

Source: http://www.abcgallery.com/F/fouquet/fouquet14.html

Brueghel: Self-Portrait

 Source: http://www.atelier-rc.com/Atelier.RC/ArtistBase-B/Bruegel.Pieter.html 

William Carlos Williams, Self-Portrait (1914)


 Source: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jconte/Williams.html





Last Updated 6 February 2012