Saturday, March 26, 2005

Deja Vu: Plaza After the Rain

The branches of the trees in the picture are naked, songs without words, a quality I have only recently learned to hold dear. But the painting itself has long been my favorite. Plaza After the Rain used to have a space among the impressionists in one of the main galleries at the St. Louis Art Museum. But it has now been relegated to a spot next to the elevator on the ground floor, where some ill-informed bureaucrat has chosen to protect the work by covering it in glass. Paul Cornoyer's painting depicts a street scene at the turn of the last century. A woman in a long dress is approaching in the distance her children in tow. The chill air is wet, as winter refuses to yield to the inevitable. A moment captured like a memory from another lifetime.