terça-feira, 5 de junho de 2012

Painting the End of the World: Apocalypse Umbrian Master, about 1490 by Hans Magnus Enzensberger in The Sinking of the Titanic (1978)

Apokalypse. Umbrisch, etwa 1490

Er ist nicht mehr der Jüngste, er seufzt,
er holt eine große Leinwand hervor, er grübelt,
verhandelt lang und zäh mit dem Besteller,
einem geizigen Karmeliter aus den Abruzzen,
Prior oder Kapitular. Schon wird es Winter,
die Fingergelenke knacken, das Reisig
knackt im Kamin. Er seufzt, grundiert,
läßt trocknen, grundiert ein andermal,
kritzelt, ungeduldig, auf kleine Kartons
seine Figuren, schemenhaft, hebt sie mit Deckweiß.
Er zaudert, reibt Farben an, vertrödelt
mehrere Wochen. Dann, eines Tages, es ist
unterdessen Aschermittwoch geworden
oder Maria Lichtmeß, taucht er, in aller Frühe,
den Pinsel in die gebrannte Umbra und malt:
Das wird ein dunkles Bild. Wie fängt man es an,
den Weltuntergang zu malen? Die Feuersbrünste,
die entflohenen Inseln, die Blitze, die sonderbar
allmählich einstürzenden Mauern, Zinnen und Türme:

technische Fragen, Kompositionsprobleme.
Die ganze Welt zu zerstören macht viel Arbeit.
Besonders schwer sind die Geräusche zu malen,
das Zerreißen des Vorhangs im Tempel,
die brüllenden Tiere, der Donner. Alles
soll nämlich zerreißen, zerrissen werden,
nur nicht die Leinwand. Und der Termin
steht fest: Allerspätestens Allerseelen.
Bis dahin muß, im Hintergrund, das wütende Meer
lasiert werden, tausendfach, mit grünen,
schaumigen Lichtern, durchbohrt von Masten,
lotrecht in die Tiefe schießenden Schiffen,
Wracks, während draußen, mitten im Juli,

kein Hund sich regt auf dem staubigen Platz.
Der Maler ist ganz allein in der Stadt geblieben,
verlassen von Frauen, Schülern, Gesinde.
Müde scheint er, wer hätte das gedacht,
sterbensmüde. Alles ist ocker, schattenlos,
steht starr da, hält still in einer Art
böser Ewigkeit; nur das Bild nicht. Das Bild
nimmt zu, verdunkelt sich langsam, füllt sich
mit Schatten, stahlblau, erdgrau, trübviolett,
caput mortuum; füllt sich mit Teufeln, Reitern,
Gemetzeln; bis daß der Weltuntergang
glücklich vollendet ist, und der Maler
erleichtert, für einen kurzen Augenblick;
unsinnig heiter, wie ein Kind, 
als war ihm das Leben geschenkt,
lädt er, noch für den selben Abend
Frauen, Kinder, Freunde und Feinde
zum Wein, zu frischen Trüffeln und Bekassinen,
während draussen der erste Herbstregen rauscht.



He is not as young as he used to be. With a groan
he chooses a sizable canvas. He broods on it.

He wastes his time haggling about his commission
with a mean Carmelite monk from the Abruzzi,
prior, or canon, or whatnot. It is winter now.

His finger joints start cracking like the brushwood
in the fireplace. With a groan he will ground
the canvas, let it dry, ground it once more,
will scrawl his figures, impatiently, ghostlike,
on small cartoons, and set them off with white lead.




He temporizes and idles away a few weeks,
rubbing down his colors. But at long last —
Ash Wednesday has gone by, and Candlemas —
early one morning he dips his brush in burnt umber
and starts painting. This will be a gloomy picture.

How do you go about painting Doom? The conflagrations,
the vanishing islands, the lightning, the walls
and towers and pinnacles crumbling ever so slowly:
nice points of technique, problems of composition.
Destroying the world is a difficult exercise.

Hardest to paint are the sounds — for example

the temple veil being rent asunder, the beasts

roaring, and the thunderclaps. Everything, you see,

is to be rent asunder and torn to pieces,

except the canvas. And there can be no doubt

about the appointed time: by All Souls’ Day

the frantic sea in the background must be coated

over and over again with a thousand layers

of transparency, with foamy green lights,

pierced by mastheads, by ships reeling, plunging down,

by wrecks, while outside, in mid-July,

not a dog will stir on the dust-covered square.
The women have left, the servants, the disciples


In the forlorn town only the Master remains.
He looks tired. Who would have thought that he, of all people,

would look dead tired? Ochre — everything seems ochre now,

shadowless, standing still, transfixed in a kind

of evil eternity, except the picture. It grows

and darkens slowly, absorbing shadows,

steel-blue; livid, dull violet, caput mortuum,

absorbing demons and horsemen and massacres,

until Doom is happily consummated and the artist,

for a brief moment, is, like a child, unmindfully merry,

as if his life had been spared, and in his relief

on this very night he asks his friends to a feast

and treats them to truffles, to grouse and old wine,

with the season’s first rainstorm pounding away at the shutters.

Já não é mais um rapaz, suspira,
tira uma tela grande, cisma,
negocia, pertinaz, com o cliente,
um carmelita sovina do Appennino Abruzzese,
prior ou capitular. Está chegando o inverno,
as articulações dos dedos estalam, os gravetos

estalam na lareira. Suspira, prepara a tela,
deixa-a secar, passa-lhe outra mão,
rabisca, impaciente, em pedacinhos de papelão
suas figuras, como sombras, salienta-as com um branco opaco.
Hesita, esfrega tintas, desperdiça
várias semanas. Depois, um dia, já é
quarta-feira de cinzas, ou Candelária
mergulha o pincel, bem cedo,
na terra-de-Siena queimada e pinta:
nasce um quadro escuro. Como pintar
o fim do mundo? Os incêndios,
as ilhas fugitivas, os relâmpagos, os muros
que desabam estranhamente devagar, ameias e torres:
problemas técnicos, dificuldades de composição.
Destruir o mundo inteiro dá o que fazer.
Particularmente difícil é pintar os ruídos,
ou o rasgar-se do véu do Templo,
o rugir dos animais, o trovão. É que
tudo deve rasgar-se, ser rasgado,
menos a tela. A data
já está fixada como prazo final: Finados.
Até lá, nos fundos, o mar furioso
deve ser coberto com velaturas, mil vezes,
com luzes verdes espumosas,
perfurado por mastros, navios que afundam

verticalmente nos abismos, destroços,
enquanto lá, fora, em pleno julho,
nenhum cachorro se mexe na praça poeirenta.
O pintor está sozinho na cidade,
abandonado por mulheres, alunos, criados.
Parece cansado, quem diria, morto
de cansado. Tudo é ocre, sem sombra,
imóvel, mantém-se rígido num tipo
de eternidade maligna; só não o quadro. O quadro
aumenta, escurece, devagar, enche-se
de sombras, azul de aço, cinza de terra, violeta fosco,
caput mortuum; enche-se de diabos, cavaleiros,
chacinas; até a feliz conclusão
do fim do mundo, eis o pintor,
aliviado, durante breve momento;
com serenidade louca, como uma criança,
como se fosse um indultado da pena de morte,
convida, ainda para aquela mesma noite,
mulheres, crianças, amigos e inimigos
para vinho, trufas frescas e codornas,
enquanto na rua rumoreja a primeira chuva de outono.

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