By Guy Davenport

Airborne dirt and dust jacket notes: "The portray of Balthus, enigmatic, poetic, and arguable, is either deeply conventional and appreciably sleek. In tracing a few of its kinship with the poetry of Rilke (Balthus's formative years mentor), with Picasso and others, man Davenport makes an attempt during this set of meditations written over a number of years in his notebooks to put Balthus because the glossy grasp in whose arms the nice culture of Western work now mostly lies. those terse notes recommend readings of a number of of the foremost work, hint issues and habitual pictures, and pose speculative rules concerning the that means and nature of Balthus. those notes aren't an orderly argument via an paintings critic yet a development of responses, kind of target, via a author who sees Balthus as a very good poet in addition to an excellent painter."

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And ed. Jonathan Mayne. New York: Phaidon, 1955. Colette, Mitsou, tr. Raymond Postgate, in Six Novels by Colette. New York: Modern Library, 1957. Comfort, Alex, Darwin and the Naked Lady: Discursive Essays on Biology and Art. New York: George Braziller, 1961. Dobyns, Stephen, The Balthus Poems. New York: Atheneum, 1982. Klossowski de Rola, Stanislas, Balthus. New York: Harper & Row, 1983. Levi-Strauss, Claude, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, tr. James Harle Bell, John Richard Sturmer, and Rodney Needham.

New York: George Braziller, 1978. , O n Walter Benjamin: Critical Essays and Recollections. Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, 1988. Stein, Gertrude, Picasso. London: B. T. Batsford, 1938. Welty, Eudora, Acrobats in a Park. Northridge, CA: Lord John Press, 1980. Zolla, Elemire, Archetypes. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981.

Balthus's girls are sexy, charming French adolescents painted with a fresh reseeing of the human body, with humor, with wit, with clarity, and with an innocence that we can locate in adolescent idealism itself rather than in an obsession. The young body has not yet accepted the permanent mask of clothing, as the faces of the young are not yet masks. It seems to me wrong to see a philosophical abstraction when the artist has given us flesh and blood, a perfection of tone and moment, a magic stillness of time, accurate perceptions of moods which few painters or poets can equal.

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