Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lautrec, as a Hunter

"I knew that you would not miss the pleasure of hunting"
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec parents were divorced in his childhood. He lived with his mother. He got an inborn disease that made his bones fragile causing him bilateral femoral fracture when he was around the age of ten, a thing that hindered his growth. His father loved hunting. While Lautrec was 37, his already devastated body by alcoholism was reaching an advanced degree of syphilis, and in his bed, a night before he died, he wrote this simple line to his father:
"I knew that you would not miss the pleasure of hunting".

I am not in position to talk about Lautrec's Oedipal wounds, but, at least, about hunting. A hunter needs a trained horse and a trained dog. Tamed horse and dog. Systematically trained to follow the orders to aid in the hunting of free birds and gazelles, among other "beasts". The hunters stop for sometimes motionless to focus on the target and then shot their bullets into the birds' and gazelles' bodies declaring their death with the proud of human superiority over animals. A human that knows how to draw strait lines to tam animals, and knows how to shot accurately to kill "beasts".
There is another kind of animal hunter, the photographer who also search for animals, and in their presence, like a hunter, he keeps quite, sometimes breathless, he slowly draw his camera and took his shot. He let the animals to behave freely and learn the lessons of instinct. He can show us those lessons on National Geographic.
There are other types of hunters. The poet who hunts for words, and the painter who hunts colors and shadows.

Lautrec wasn't lucky enough to have a colored camera, and his bones didn't help him to go to the jungle, although he did paint few paintings about horses and hunters, instead, he headed for another jungle, the city night life in cabarets, bars, and brothels. He took his colors and draws for history and time what lies behind the scene, in the coulisses, where the dancer is changing clothes, the clown is without makeup, and the whore is tiredly lying speechlessly.
Lautrec, you who's body was hunted by bone fragility, syphilis, and alcohol addiction, had hunted for us those moments at the end of the 19th century, so thanks a lot for letting us share you those moments.

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