My daughter asked me, and I ask the list: Has anyone ever tried to 
paint this image of a motor car, as described in Pnin?  If not, what 
a pleasant cross-curricular project.
Jamie McEwan
<if Degas could immortalize a calèche, why could not Victor Wind do 
the same to a motor car?
One way to do it might be by making the scenery penetrate the 
automobile. A polished black sedan was a good subject, especially if 
parked at the intersection of a tree-bordered street and one of those 
heavyish spring skies whose bloated gray clouds and amoeba-shaped 
blotches of blue seem more physical than the reticent elms and 
evasive pavement. Now break the body of the car into separate curves 
and panels; then put it together in terms of reflections. These will 
be different for each part: the top will display inverted trees with 
blurred branches growing like roots into a washily photographed sky, 
with a whalelike building swimming by -- an architectural 
afterthought; one side of the hood will be coated with a band of rich 
celestial cobalt; a most delicate pattern of black twigs will be 
mirrored in the outside surface of the rear window; and a remarkable 
desert view, a distended horizon, with a remote house here and a lone 
tree there, will stretch along the bumper. This mimetic and 
integrative process Lake called the necessary "naturalization" of man-
made things. In the streets of Cranton, Victor would find a suitable 
specimen of car and loiter around it. Suddenly the sun, half masked 
but dazzling, would join him. For the sort of theft Victor was 
contemplating there could be no better accomplice. In the chrome 
plating, in the glass of a sun-rimmed headlamp, he would see a view 
of the street and himself comparable to the microcosmic version of a 
room (with a dorsal view of diminutive people) in that very special 
and very magical small convex mirror that, half a millennium ago, Van 
Eyck and Petrus Christus and Memling used to paint into their 
detailed interiors, behind the sour merchant or domestic Madonna.>


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