[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]
The painter Kramskoy has a remarkable painting entitled The Contemplator; it depicts a forest in winter, and in the forest, standing all by himself on the road, in deepest solitude, a stray little peasant in a ragged caftan and bast shoes; he stands as if he were lost in thought, but he is not thinking, he is "contemplating" something. If you nudged him, he would give a start and look at you as if he had just woken up, but without understanding anything. It's true that he would come to himself at once, and yet, if he were asked what he had been thinking about while standing there, he would most likely not remember, but would most likely keep hidden away in himself the impression he had been under while contemplating. These impressions are dear to him, and he is mot likely storing them up imperceptibly and even without realizing it--why and what for, he does not know either; perhaps suddenly, having stored up his impressions over many years, he will drop everything-and wander off to Jerusalem to save his soul, or perhaps he will suddenly burn down his native village, or perhaps he will do both. There are plenty of contemplators among the people.
Posted by mariadib on 05.10.2009
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