“The same blue rocks and spectral grottos could be seen in Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks” | J.G. Ballard

by Biblioklept

From J.G. Ballard’s short story “The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon”:

‘There’s a postcard from your mother. They’re near Malta, somewhere called Gozo.’

‘Give it to me.’ Maitland felt the card in his hands.

‘Gozo – that was Calypso’s island. She kept Ulysses there for seven years, promised him eternal youth if he’d stay with her forever.’

‘I’m not surprised.’ Judith inclined the card towards her. ‘If we could spare the time, you and I should go there for a holiday. Wine–dark seas, a sky like heaven, blue rocks. Bliss.’

‘Blue?’

‘Yes. I suppose it’s the bad printing. They can’t really be like that.’

‘They are, actually.’

Still holding the card, Maitland went out into the garden, feeling his way along the string guiderail. As he settled himself in the wheelchair he reflected that there were other correspondences in the graphic arts. The same blue rocks and spectral grottos could be seen in Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks, one of the most forbidding and most enigmatic of his paintings. The madonna sitting on a bare ledge by the water beneath the dark overhang of the cavern’s mouth was like the presiding spirit of some enchanted marine realm, waiting for those cast on to the rocky shores of this world’s end. As in so many of Leonardo’s paintings, all its unique longings and terrors were to be found in the landscape in the background. Here, through an archway among the rocks, could be seen the crystal blue cliffs that Maitland had glimpsed in his reverie.

 

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One Comment to ““The same blue rocks and spectral grottos could be seen in Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks” | J.G. Ballard”

  1. Exquisite painting. Lovely writing.

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