NaPoWriMo Quarantine Edition – Exercise 27

And yet again, it’s  ekphrastic time! Hooray!

Today’s image is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and their wonderful online collection. I’m a little obsessed at the moment with their 15th Century Netherlandish genre paintings – there’s just something about them that really grabs me. Hopefully you will also feel the attraction.

I’ve given you some prompts to guide your poem in response, but of course you are free to ignore them whenever you feel so inclined. (How on earth would I even know?) You can click on the image below to open it up into a bigger form, or click on the title link below the picture to go to the Met’s page for it, which has historical info as well as an even more detailed image for you to examine. (Just don’t do it if you’ve only got a couple of minutes to spare – seriously, it ’s a time-sinkhole!)

Portrait of Tommaso di Folco Portinari and Maria Portinari, ca. 1470
by Hans Memling

Write a poem in response to this painting from the point of view of someone coming across it in a gallery, first thing in the morning, before anyone else is in the building. Try to incorporate multiple perspectives – try close up focusing on a single detail, and then from a long way away so that you can only just make out the faces and basic shapes. Ask the painting questions. Lots of questions. And right at the end, have one of the figures in the painting answer you.

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