Dolce far niente, such a wonderful phrase literally; “sweet doing nothing, sweet idleness”, a celebration of indolence and why not celebrate the occasional indolence. I have been feeling quite wiped out in the post Christmas lull, so many good intentions, so many things to catch up on and yet all I want to do is lie around and daydream, lulled into sleep at Morpheus whim, sweet, sweet idleness, there is much to be said in its favour.

I have been feeling particular uninspired, lazy, unmotivated, I have much I could be doing but simply no energy or desire to do. I should be composing blog posts but when even my journal is more effort than I feel like making I know I am in trouble, sometimes the best thing to do is to just give into the apathy and let time work its own magic. This morning when I picked up my journal, thinking I must at least spend some time on reflection, the postcard of the above painting slipped out, serendipitous, it seemed to perfectly evoke how I am feeling. I pick up postcards of art on our travels as reminders, they get used as bookmarks or are sources of on going contemplation. Dolce far niente was a common theme in aesthetic paintings of the 19th century but the Waterhouse painting above was not one I had seen previously. It was part of the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the national gallery earlier this year, on loan from a private collection. Lucky private collector I thought, who would not want such a lovely image on their wall. It is a fairly unassuming painting, a relatively small canvas, it simply celebrates beauty and idleness. Languid and lovely it invites us to join in idle contemplation and relaxation and languid summer days seem ripe for idle contemplation. I will always have a fondness for the beauty of the Pre-Raphaelite and aesthetic movement art, the sumptuous fantasy of such paintings. Waterhouse’s painting is evocative of the pinnacle of such paintings, Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June, a dreamy image if ever there was one. Sometimes dreamy idleness just allows creative batteries to re-charge and is therefore, not without justification and if nothing else indolence inspired a blog post, so not a total waste of time.

3 thoughts on “Dolce far niente – in praise of idleness

  1. Hmm, indolence must be in the air. I too have been feeling somewhat uninspired and unmotivated, despite the best of intentions. Perhaps it is best just to go with the flow and hope that our daydreaming will lead to a renewal of passion and vigour. I do love Flaming June – just beautiful.

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