Paris lay still below them. From where Sophie stood, with both her hands wrapped round the neck of a carved saint, it was a mass of silver, except where the river shone a rusty-gold colour in the lamplight. (p.224)
The way she adds the 'rusty-gold' to the 'mass of silver' - what a lovely contrast of warm and cold metals... and look at those tiny yellow specks from 'the lamplight', which you can just see, can't you, on the surface of the Seine?
I love the fact that it's a child seeing all this from above, from a place that people generally don't go to, and that she's there with her arms hugging a stern, stone figure - as if trying to give it the affection it's never had. For me, it's this painting:
|Gustave Caillebotte, Rue Halévy (1878)|
|Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (1490?)|
|it's a story full of Boschian owls, that's all I can remember...|
Generally, it happens with very famous rather than obscure works of art, perhaps because those tend to stick in one's head more. In children's literature, here are other associations, personal and therefore not always logical, though some are much more obvious than others:
|Lois Lowry's The Giver and the 1956 French film The Red Balloon|
|Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses and Norman Rockwell's 'The Problem We All Live With' (1964)|
Sally Gardner's Maggot Moon is Anselm Kiefer all the way. Anne Fine's The Tulip Touch is this Edward Hopper...:
|yep, it's the Bates Motel, too... not a coincidence, I'm sure.|
I didn't like Neil Gaiman's Coraline very much (sorry), but it was Louise Bourgeois's 'Maman' spiders:
Some authors make explicit reference to paintings, films or other visual art forms, like Marcus Sedgwick in Midwinterblood. I love that - I love looking up the works of art mentioned in books, especially when I have no clue what they are and it throws a completely new light on the text. Some painters, some paintings and some movements seem to crystallise writers' attention. Da Vinci, of course, but also the Surrealists in general, it seems.
Similarly, when I write, I never really picture my characters in my head, but there's always a lot of colours, and many static images, like paintings or stills from films or photographs. Fun adventure stories, whether I write them or read them, look quite like Sonia Delaunay's circles and spirals:
Clementine Beauvais writes children's books in French and English. The former are of all kinds and shapes, and the latter humour/adventure series - the Sesame Seade mysteries with Hodder, the Holy-Moly Holiday series with Bloomsbury. She blogs here about children's literature and academia and is on Twitter @blueclementine.