Sunday, July 22, 2012


Van Gogh's Roses was completed in 1890, the last year of his life. As you can tell from the picture above, the painting features rich swirls of paint that stand in for thick petal ridges.

But a closer look reveals that the original texture of the canvas has also been left raw and on display, contrasting with the thickly layered pigment and adding relief. Raw canvas is a rare sight in a museum hall, but here I can't help but think that it has been used very well. An unpainted canvas by itself perhaps doesn't seem organic, but in the contrast here with the rich pigment it seems exactly that, and helps convey the sense of looking at something from nature.

I was reminded of the importance of texture recently while drinking these two wines from Overnoy-Houillon, both Ploussards.

While it was true that both wines displayed rich aromas of pink roses, I greatly preferred the 2010, here the glass on the left, because of the unvarnished texture of the wine. Here, I thought, was Ploussard without addition, and without distraction. Certainly it held my attention. However the ripeness and roundness of the 2009, the glass on the right, were too much for me, and the alcohol even stung my eyes. What was lost under the weight of the fruit in the 2009 was the sense of the organic wine.

I preferred the Ploussard that hadn't been covered over.

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