A Wall in Naples (1782-2010)
I’ve viewed my favourites in The National many times –
Van Eyck, Uccello, de Hooch, Turner, but never noticed
this wall before, a small oil by Thomas Jones – a building block
of beautiful yellow ochre runs into a strip of sky, a small balcony
hangs out the washing, the rendering flaked in large patches
reveals the brickwork as one more venue for the substance of light.
A week later inside the Madre with art behind me, I’m looking out
onto weathered walls, flowering weeds and bricked-up windows.
Mr Jones saw this and much more besides with his direct stare
and application. This city avoids spring-cleaning, but seems to
work inside out and its sky performs bright blue dances day after day.
The Jones painting is at the National Gallery.
The Ravello images are from the Villa Cimbrone, a haunt of the Bloomsbury Group
Gore Vidal said it possessed the most beautiful view in the world.