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예이츠의 「청금석 부조」와 예술가의 비전

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Yeats’s “Lapis Lazuli” and His Artistic Vision

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One of Yeats’s distinguished later poems, “Lapis Lazuli”, which was inspired by a Chinese lapis lazuli carving he received as a gift from a young man of letters, declares the values of artistic activities as a creator as well as preserver of civilizations. In the poem, the poet as a poetic persona constructs vivid vision beyond the real world, breathes in the invisible fragrance that doesn’t really exist and appreciates the unheard melodies from the still object of art. The old ascetics imagined out of the carved still-life meditate upon the tragic scenes beneath their feet from the mountain they ascend towards. Fictitious creatures in a created world of sculpture stare on the real world with old wisdom transfiguring dread. Yeats had not presented all the significant experiences as successfully as he illustrated in this poem. He made the real fictional and in turns, turned the fanciful ideas into real things. The old glittering eyes of those Chinamen in the last stanza are more authentic than the hysterical women who complain with wrong, shrill and cracking voices in the first stanza. The roles of the poet also become mythic as the Chinese do who are distant, old, wise and gay in the hard stone. The poet penetrates into the domain of art work silently and looks back on a poor play of life from the gaiety of his own art. The description of the last stanza in a form of sonnet is much like the controlled carving of a sculptor. And it eternalizes artistic performances by transforming a visual art into a linguistic imagination, and thus by re-creating the scene depicted in the stone in a pleasant manner. As the artist imagines scent and music and movements in the given poetic object, the sculpture attains values stimulating observers’ perception permanently. The Chinese art work with two ascetics and one pupil carrying a musical instrument will continue to mutate in the mind of readers as it receives multiple senses through the poem.

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