Watching the minimalist batsman, Mahela Jayawardene, at Lord’s today and at Headingley three days ago brought to Third Man’s mind the paintings of, Robert Mangold, the American artist who the Squire has patronized since the 1960s, and who when turning out for the Whirled’s End XI has constructed many a fine innings himself.
To borrow shamelessly from Wikipedia’s review of Mangold, a Jayawardene innings is comprised often of simple elements which are put together through complex means.
As Robert Kushner wrote of some Mangold paintings, so it might also be written of some Jayawardene innings that, “underneath the composure of their execution, there is an almost romantic vividness of experience. The contrast of this veiled undercurrent and the Apollonian restraint of the presentation make these … both powerful and poignant.”
In the Squire’s private collection is a painting of the “square” at Lord’s by Mangold, which is published at the top of this post for the first time.
For those who have not yet encountered Mangold’s power and poignancy of stroke Third Man has provided two more examples not in the Squire’s collection.
It is a puzzle that others have not detected Mangold’s obsession with cricket expressed so eloquently, if symbolically, in these works. But, then, perhaps they have not been to Lord’s, have not seen Mahela bat and don’t know that, as these works vividly reveal, a square isn’t square in this post-Euclidian universe.