The Fountain of Indolence

I dis­cov­ered Sal­vador Dalí, I think, in my first year of Uni­ver­si­ty, back in the ear­li­est of the 90s. Some­thing about his art struck a chord in me, and I’ve been fas­ci­nat­ed by him ever since. So when I found out that I had­n’t missed see­ing his paint­ings at the Win­nipeg Art Gallery, of course I went to check it out.

But a fun­ny thing hap­pened. Of all the paint­ings and sculp­tures I saw (and let me tell you, friend, I saw a lot), the one that struck me most was­n’t a Dalí piece at all.

It was The Foun­tain of Indo­lence, by Joseph Mal­lord William Turner.


Some­thing about it — the tree, the foun­tain, the moun­tains in the dis­tance and the rev­el­ers in the fore­ground, the nar­row chan­nel of water pass­ing into the front — real­ly called out to me. It put me in mind of the feel­ing I got when read­ing Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun, though I’m at a loss to explain why.

It got me, the way that art some­times does, in a vis­cer­al way; a way that bypassed my brain entire­ly, and went straight for my gut.