landscape after Brecht poem Reminiscence of Marie A.

painting about a love poem

Lately, I’ve started some work on clouds. The point is not to represent different cloud formations true to nature, but to give the clouds a meaning that goes beyond “being a cloud”.

landscape after Brecht poem Reminiscence of Marie A.

The starting point was a poem by Berthold Brecht.

The title of the poem is: Reminiscence of Marie A. (Erinnerung an die Marie A.)

Of course, I know a lot of poems, especially the Chinese and Persian ones, and yet this one is one of the few that I know by heart and that has been one of my favorites for decades. So first the poem:

Reminiscence of Marie A.

One day in blue-moon September
silent under a plum tree
I held her, my silent pale love
in my arms like a fair and lovely dream.
And above us in the summer sky
was a cloud that caught my eye.
It was white and so high up.
And when I looked up, it was no longer there.

An jenem Tag im blauen Mond September
Still unter einem jungen Pflaumenbaum
Da hielt ich sie, die stille bleiche Liebe
In meinem Arm wie einen holden Traum.
Und über uns im schönen Sommerhimmel
War eine Wolke, die ich lange sah
Sie war sehr weiß und ungeheuer oben
Und als ich aufsah, war sie nimmer da.

(Wikipedia translation)

The picture I painted for it certainly has some weak points. After 2 attempts that approached the topic in a completely different way, this came about. What I like about it is that the cloud has now become very dominant. An amorphous, white thing that is very present up there and yet it resembles the impermanence par excellence. With its light, it interacts with the lower levels of perception, but like the dream, the memory also picks out details that can seem very precise even after decades, while the overall picture is blurred and reflects more of a mood and memories.

landscape after Brecht poem with clouds detail

Actually, I would like to add a few more accents, but I am aware that the dreamy overtone would lose with every change.

So I’ll probably leave it that way and better try to refine some thoughts in a new picture on this topic.

landscape after Brecht poem detail Reminiscence of Marie A.

Incidentally, I recently painted a picture for a story by the same author that reflects the essence of the poem in an original way.

If Sharks were People

If you haven’t checked recently, I have revised my catalog and added new works: gestural painting. Similar: If sharks were people.


13 responses to “painting about a love poem”

  1. swabby429 avatar

    I see animal like images in the lower portion of the painting. They contrast beautifully with the etherical clouds.

  2. avatar

    Thank you! Yes, contrasts are very important to me. But more in the Chinese “yin-yang” sense. However, one has to be very careful and not set these contrasts too clearly, otherwise the whole thing will become “cheap”. As for the animals – the cloud can be seen like one as well and that reinforces the aspect of “conversation” in the painting.

  3. Martha Kennedy avatar

    It’s pretty difficult to write or paint evanescence (or love). I think the reason I don’t much like either of my cloud paintings is because they are static even if, as paintings, they’re more-or-less successful. For me the sky is a wonderful paradox; far more enduring than I (or anything else) yet transient, mutable, constantly changing.

  4. Ana Hernandez avatar

    I will be brief: I enjoy your work very much. I have always liked art which has a nexus between the conceptual, the visual and the literary. Thank you. A Library Rat

    1. avatar

      Thank you so much Ana! I am happy to hear you like that concept too. One of the reasons I like Chinese painting very much is because it is so closely related to poetry. And it is conceptual art too.

  5. gwengrant avatar

    Love poem and painting.

    1. avatar

      Thank you, Gwen! I am happy to hear! All the best!

  6. appamprawns avatar

    It’s an interesting take of art being without boundaries – how it transcends from poems to paintings!

    1. Zettl avatar

      Thank you for your kind words! One of the reasons for this picture is that painting in ancient China (which I like very much) was always closely linked to literature. The painters were very often writers and great calligraphers. From my point of view, modern painting usually has too little reference to poetry and so I wanted to see how far I am able to build this bridge myself.

  7. appamprawns avatar

    I also have written the verse before adding them to photos I have taken ovsr the years. Am sharing the poem – enjoy 🙂

    1. Zettl avatar

      Many thanks for the link! Wonderful! I see that you also wrote a poem: Poems in a pandemic. Again a beautiful one. I’m also currently working on a cycle on the pandemic that I plan to exhibit next year. I think it would be an interesting project if different artists would present their work on this topic together. And such a project could also do a lot to ensure that readers and those interested in art can better process and reflect on their personal experiences

      1. appamprawns avatar

        Thats an excellent idea !!

      2. Zettl avatar

        Ok, then let’s do it! Please allow a couple of days so I can think how this project can be realized in a proper way. Suggestions are welcome.

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