As/Is







6.13.2015


Euphoria and Form: Keats/Ingres


The better part of two centuries has gone by: has anyone dared to do a substantial critical chiasmus between English Romanticism and French Neo-Classicism? The vision (for instance) of Ingres's Odalisque with Keats' odal Psyche- for me, it has to do with euphoria generated from the apotheosis of aesthetic formality or (if you will) formalism- the most perfect possible artistic forms (Keats' prosody, Ingres's color harmonies and uniquely postured Muse), which innovate and conserve so seamlessly (Greece to England, Greece to Frannce) that what is ecstatic or euphoric in the consciousness of the viewer or reader is the realization of possibilities of "universe structures." That intended effect of aesthetic beauty, of form, lost/corroded in the twentieth century via the perceived desirability of aesthetic hovels (irony precluding euphoria), is shared by the erotics of Keats/Ingres in such a way that, as they reach backwards to the classical and forwards to us, we may understand why the twentieth century lost its sense of possible ecstasy/euphoria in its myopic insistence on "singular time."