An almost first attempt at figure. After I sketched about a dozen marble statues in the Art Institute I felt brave enough to try for a finished figure drawing. This is a graphite study for a painting. I am still working on a painting, and if it will come out decent I will post it here.
A couple of words about the title. “For being alive” is a half a line from an English translation of a Russian poem by Osip Mandelstam. The poem was written in 1909.
For my guests who read Russian, here is the first stanza:
Дано мне тело – что мне делать с ним,
Таким единым и таким моим?
За радость тихую дышать и жить
Кого, скажите, мне благодарить?
And a translation by A. S. Kline:
What shall I do with this body they gave me
so much my own, so intimate with me?
For being alive, for the joy of calm breath,
tell me, who should I bless?
This is not a bad translation, better than many I come across while trying to bring my husband to the magic of Russian poetry. The mood and quiet intimacy of the original poem was nicely preserved. Unfortunately the music and the cadence of Mandelstam’s wordsmithing are lost in translation, as is the case with too many poems of that period. I guess there is no helping that.
9″ x 12″ (23 x 30 cm) graphite on paper