Ceremonious and jocund, Melk is high noon. Meridian glory surrounded us as a clock in the town struck twelve. The midday light showered on the woods and a yellow loop of the Danube and a water-meadow full of skaters, all foreshortened as they wheeled and skimmed beneath the flashing line of windows. We were standing at the centre of a wide floor and peering—under a last ceiling-episode of pillars and flung cloud where the figures rotated beneath a still loftier dayspring of revelation—at a scene like a ballroom gallop getting out of hand. Draperies whirled spiralling up biblical shanks and resilient pink insteps trod the sky. We might have been gazing up through a glass dance-floor and my companion, touching me on the elbow, led me away a couple of paces and the scene reeled for a second with the insecurity of Jericho, as trompe l’oeil ceilings will when a shift of focus inflicts the beholder with a fleeting spasm of vertigo. He laughed, and said: “On se sent un peu gris, vous ne trouvez pas?”

A bit tipsy... It was quite true. We had been talking about the rococo interplay of spiritual and temporal, and for a few instants
at these last words, my companion was transformed as well: habit, scapular, cowl and tonsure had all vanished and a powdered queue uncoiled down his brocaded back from a bow of watered silk. He was a Mozartian courtier. His light-hearted voice continued its discourse as he stood with his left hand poised on his sword knot. With explanatory sweeps of a clouded cane in his right, he unravelled the stratagems of the ceiling-painter; and when, to balance the backward tilt of his torso, he advanced a leg in a Piranesi stance, I could all but hear a red heel tap on the chessboard floor.

Patrick Leigh Fermor - "A Time of Gifts" (1977)

@темы: fermor, patrick leigh, f, english-british, deutsche-oesterreichisch, baroque, art, architecture, 20