Sunday, March 27, 2011


Professor Whistler circled the podium slowly.

"The problem," he said, "with Claro's work, and a problem that many argue the artist never overcame was his inability to describe certain situations."

Whistler paused. "In fact, there is a type of situation in particular-- the adoration, bordering on worship, of a beautiful woman by the... should we say soulful? Deep--feeling? In any case artistic gentleman.

"Claro approaches this scenario again and again and again in his body of works. It seems to be a fascination for him. Other, less charitable critics" -- here Whistler raised his eyebrows and pointed to himself with his thumb, getting a laugh from the class-- "less charitable critics would call this an obsession.

"The man seemed intent on putting to paper in exacting detail this feeling that he evidently experienced so profoundly. He wanted the common man to read his description of this feeling and not only to understand it, but to begin to feel this within himself."

Whistler was rubbing the sides of his mouth, where his mustache did not quite succeed in joining with his beard. We did not move. We watched him; we did not want to interrupt what he was thinking now, what he would share with us.

He spoke slowly. "Now... a man like Claro, should he succeed in a task like this, should he describe so perfectly that adoration of the earthly divine... many believe he would have been content to leave it at that. That fact that he continued attempting this description, in one story after another, implies to many critics that Claro never was content that he'd done his job of putting this feeling to paper-- that he died with his body of work incomplete."

Whistler shrugged. "Artists," he said, and we all laughed.