Universiteit Leiden

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Lezing | Studium Generale

Proust and Painting

donderdag 10 november 2022
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

“Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, whether it is called Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance.”
From: In Search of Lost Time, volume 7, Time Regained

Marcel Proust enjoys using art objects to tell stories. In In Search of Time Lost, references to classical paintings can be encountered everywhere. From the renowned examples like Botticelli's Primavera and Rembrandt's De Nachtwacht to lesser-known works like Vittore Carpaccio's Apotheosis of St. Ursula: over one-hundred painters or works are mentioned. A part of Lingyun Lai’s PhD research on Proust is focused on how paintings stimulate Proust’s protagonist’s imagination in his cognitive development. In this lecture, he will shed light on how Proust’s narrator cleverly uses the famous paintings as vehicles to articulate “things inaccessible to language,” as well as on how the narrator uses images and events that are hidden in the paintings to enrich his storytelling.

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