Posts Tagged ‘Caravaggio’

Blackpaint 612 – Murder, Suicide, Sex and Some Art

December 12, 2017

Modigliani, Tate Modern

Enormous exhibition, rammed to the gills when I went, a couple of weeks ago when it had just opened.  Best or most interesting ones are Nudo Dolente (1908), very rough, upward looking; the breastless nude girl on the reverse canvas in the first room; the Gaston Modot portrait with the long, thick neck (maybe because it’s the fabulous Modot, the mad-eyed hero of l’Age d’Or and the violent gamekeeper of Regle de Jour);



The portraits of Cendrars, Cocteau and Brancusi, on the reverse of the Cellist.

Blaise Cendrars

There is a corner of beautiful nudes at the end of the exhibition; these, I think, are marred a little by the come hither or demure expressions worn.

I was interested by the eyes – Modigliani has a habit of blacking or scratching out the pupil of one eye in many of the portraits; I was beginning to think he had problems with aligning the gaze, but then noticed several where the pupils were not effaced and were correctly aligned.  So that remains a puzzle.  I also have to say that the pictures of Jeanne Hebuterne (Modigliani’s lover, who killed herself after his death, by jumping, pregnant, from a window) don’t look at all like her photograph.

Caravaggio, Sebastian Schutze (Taschen)

Ploughing on through the Taschen book, I notice that there is a marked change in the flesh tones and dark backgrounds he used in several paintings done in Sicily in 1608/9; the Burial of St. Lucy, for example, and the Raising of Lazarus both have a dusty golden flesh tone and a warm brown background darkness, contrasting with the starker contrasts and whiter flesh of earlier and later paintings.  Maybe its to do with the light in Sicily; I’m sure the repros are not at fault, as Taschen is pretty reliable.

Happy End (Michael Haneke, 2017)

Saw this at the Ritzy in Brixton and was unable to make sense of the first 20-odd minutes, due, I thought, to some demented soul drumming on the wall of the cinema.  When I could stand it no more, I stormed out to complain and discovered it was flamenco dancing night in the studio upstairs.

I eventually (after the dancing ceased) managed to make sense of the story – mostly – but the difficulty might have been just as much a result of Haneke’s narrative style;  things happen and you find out what’s going on later.  Quite common now and OK, as long as the flamenco dancers keep away…

There are some other typical Haneke tropes; the lack of sentimentality, to put it mildly, and the sudden violence.  I was reminded of the sudden, shocking suicide in Hidden.  It also recalled Festen in places, notably the scene where the son turns up at the engagement dinner, with a reluctant group of African asylum seekers in tow.  Isabelle Huppert is her chilly “self” and Jean-Louis Trintignant is brilliant as a determined, wheelchair-bound, would-be suicide.  It’s a black comedy, apparently…

Walter Hopps, The Dream Colony – A Life in Art (Bloomsbury, 2017)

This cost me £30, which I thought was a lot for a book of 300-odd pages, but I’m so glad that I bought it.  Hopps was the founder of the Ferus Gallery in LA and later, a groundbreaking curator in museums and collections in California.  He was running a gallery, working nights in a mortuary, addicted to speed, living hand to mouth, nurturing wealthy collectors – simultaneously.  He drops into the narrative – it’s “as told” to Deborah Treisman of the New Yorker – surprising asides such as “My mother was dating an actor named Marion Morrison, later better known as John Wayne”, or “at the time I was living with Charles Mingus”…

The story of Ferus, Hopps’ relationship with the smooth Irving Blum and with the macho Ferus artists is also told in the film “The Cool School” and the book has some interesting contrasts with the film, notably in the area of Blum’s marriage to Hopps’ ex- wife, Shirley Neilson and Blum’s re-purchase of the Warhol soup can pictures.  And, of course, there are the  passages on the great Ed Kienholz and the tragic story of the collector Edwin Janss, who threw himself out of a 12th floor hospital window, following an incapacitating stroke.

So, sorry – suicide in Modigliani, Haneke and Hopps; not in Caravaggio, however; he killed Tomassoni in a brawl in Rome and then, maybe, wounded another in a brawl in Malta.

Two new pictures to end with:

Red Plume


Green Plume






Blackpaint 611 – Caravaggio, de Ribera and the Catflap

November 28, 2017

National Gallery – de Ribera, Caravaggio

I got the Taschen Caravaggio for my birthday and I have to say that I’ve revised my whole system of preferences on 16th/17th century art: the stylistic realism (Death of the Virgin, for instance; an actual dead body, no choirs of angels on cloudbanks), the drama and focus of the figures emerging from the gloom and the subtle use of colour (green, blue, red and ochre in The Entombment of Christ) – and those muscular arms, hands and feet (The Crucifixion of St. Peter); fantastic.  Unfortunately, only two Caravaggios currently on display at the NG and none of those I’ve mentioned.  The NG has The Boy Bitten by a Lizard and a Supper at Emmaus; both brilliant but very familiar.

Entombment of Christ

Crucifixion of St. Peter

Akin to Caravaggio in style, born 20 years later  in Spain but moved to Rome, de Ribera is another stunning painter of twisted bodies emerging from a surrounding darkness.  His bodies tend to be white, shading into the murk in a sort of dry sfumato; they are often sprawling across huge canvases, as in the Prado.  Exhibition coming to Dulwich Picture Gallery next year, which will be one not to miss.

Lamentation over the Dead Christ, Jusepe de Ribera

Again, only two Riberas on show in the NG; this one, and another of some biblical character – Laban? – with a goat.  No chiarascuro (the Spanish followers of the Caravaggio style were called Tenebrists); looks like a completely different painter.

In Holofernes’ Tent, Johann Liss

I had to include this; Caravaggio did the same subject, setting it a few seconds earlier, when Judith was sawing the head off.  This one though has the most remarkable rendering of the folds and billows of Judith’s white chemise.  The detail hasn’t come out so well in the photo – it needs to be seen on the wall.

London Group Open Exhibition, The Cello Factory, Cornwall Road – last day Friday, 1st December

Great little gallery in the streets behind the South Bank opposite the ITV tower.  London Group venerable, founded by Camden Town and Vorticist painters (Gilman, Gore, Wyndham Lewis et al).  There is a Frank Bowling – you can see it below, pink, grey and yellow in the middle, end wall on right – at £48,000, but the others are more reasonably priced;  my partner’s diptych, “Catflap” (below) , for example.


Catflap (diptych) Marion Jones

It’s a very eclectic collection; the one thing I noticed was that there were a lot of windows in the paintings.

Monochrome, National Gallery

If the London Group was “diverse”, this outstrips it by a mile; Mantegna, Van Eyck, Bruegel, Memling, Moreau – to Stella, Malevich, Ellsworth Kelly, Picasso, Marlene Dumas.  It ends with a room suffused with orange light, by Eliasson.  It goes from grisaille and drypoint to the black square, Stella’s thin white geometric lines, a Las Meninas sketch by Picasso.  Some great works but a little colourless….




My latest to finish with-









Blackpaint 463 – Awkward English Painters, Campion and Amis

September 30, 2014

The Later Turner, Tate Britain

Well, all the usual suspects are there; the Slave Ship, Sea Monsters, Burial at Sea, Steam Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth,  Parliament burning,  Rain Steam and Speed, Exile and the Limpet, the whaling pictures – and some of the most hideous gold frames you could imagine.  Apart from those paintings listed, the sketches of Venice and elsewhere in Italy and Switzerland are, of course, fantastic.  Maybe I’m Turnered out, though; I’ll go again this week and see if there’s anything new to say.



Storm at Sea; Steam Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth  

Sickert and Bomberg on BBC4

Two great programmes (I missed the one on Paul Nash).  The Sickert one showed direct lines back to Degas and TL, and forward to Auerbach and even Bacon (the self-portrait).  The paintings from photographs – Edward VIII and the Italian Count (didn’t get the name) after the conference – were linked by Andrew Graham – Dixon to Warhol.  This was not such a radical idea; I came across the suggestion in Robert Hughes’ “Nothing if not Critical” the next day.


The Bomberg prog did justice to the variety of his styles during his career and showed how his “Sappers” painting – is it still on exhibition in Tate Modern? – was based on the Caravaggio Crucufixion of St.Peter.  There’s an exhibition of Dorothy Mead, one of his best disciples, on in London at the moment.

bomberg sappers

 Bomberg, Sappers Under Hill 60

caravaggio st peter

 Caravaggio, Crucifixion of St.Peter 

Portrait of a Lady, Jane Campion

Watched a DVD of this film starring Kidman and Malkovich, and I was astounded to see a sequence in sepia straight out of Fellini – like “The Ship Sailed On”.  Moments later, it turned into Bunuel, when a plateful of ravioli pockets, I think, developed mouths and started speaking to Kidman.  Then it was gone and we were back to relative naturalism.

Zone of Interest, Martin Amis

This is the first Martin Amis I’ve read; it is gripping, and Amis has done the research on Auschwitz and the Holocaust that the subject requires.  He does, however, use the camps as the setting for a story about the commandant and his wife; not sure about this.  Maybe the only story should be the story OF the camps. He has a Jewish girl point at herself before her murder and say “Eighteen years old”.  I came across the source of this in “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, in the evidence of a German civilian who saw the incident at a massacre by an einsatzgruppe at Dubno in Ukraine, not in Auschwitz.  She was 23, not eighteen.  Still, there’s a good essay by Amis at the end and I don’t think it insults the memory of the victims.  Probably more on this next blog.



Cretan Plants (a Figurative Interlude)



Blackpaint 428 – Light, Frozen Horses, Murder in England

January 3, 2014

Sources of Light (cont.)

I was pursuing Morton Feldman’s schema last week, in which he says that the light in Rembrandt’s pictures is “without source”, Caravaggio’s “raking light”, etc.  Here’s another couple of examples:

caravaggio st paul

Caravaggio, St.Paul

Light from above and front right?

night watch

Rembrandt, Night Watch

Light from the front?  I can’t really see any real difference in the approach to lighting of these two artists.   Feldman might mean that there is no obvious source of light in the picture, window or candle, say – but its the same for Caravaggio surely….

Amy Sillman – One Lump or Two

My partner got this fantastic book for Christmas; I’ve written about her once before, but then I think I’d only seen a couple of her paintings.  She reminds me a bit of Brett Whiteley or Albert Oehlen, in that she often mixes up figurative with abstract; her drawing line is a little like Whiteley’s, too and hence like Roger Hilton.  But the colours are very distinctive – the reds, oranges and greens.,

My favourite paintings in the book are Birdwatcher (below) and A long Drawing, again reminiscent of Whiteley.

amy sillman birdwatcher


So, I strongly recommend that you buy this book – my partner tells me the text is not great; that thing where critics can’t resist telling you what pictures they can see in abstracts – but the pictures make up for it.

My Winnipeg

Guy Maddin’s 2007 fantasy biography of his snowbound, sleepwalking hometown, where in 1942, fake German soldiers invaded the town to promote the sale of (Allied) war bonds – true – and racehorses escaped from a stable fire to plunge into a local river and be instantly frozen, with their heads and necks poking up through the ice – legend.



On TV over Christmas, Ben Wheatley’s uncomfortable comedy murder spree around the blue john mines and the pencil museum.  A while through it, I realised it was a sort of twisted (per)version of Mike Leigh’s “Nuts in May” – in this version however, the self-righteous countryside guardians are brained or run over by Wheatley’s even more self-righteous anti-hero.  He also kills litter louts, though.  Seen three of his now; A Field in England, Sightseers and Kill List – all worth watching, if you like the English countryside as a backdrop to quite serious, nasty violence with a touch of paganism.

One more film – an old one, Chabrol’s Les Noces Rouges (1973)

Michel Piccoli and Stephane Audran as the lovers who murder her husband in a Postman Always Rings Twice burning car set-up.  As soon as these two come on screen, it conjures Bunuel, of course; Discreet Charm and Belle de Jour, and is the better for it.  Not really obvious why they murder the husband, since he is willing to ignore their affair in exchange for Piccoli’s collusion in some mildly dodgy land deal; maybe Audran couldn’t accept her husband’s acquiescence.  seems psychologically plausible, anyway.


In The Studio

Cap Frehel

Cap Frehel – an old one, but no new ones painted yet



Blackpaint 427 – Sources of Light, Crime and Punishment

December 26, 2013

Light Sources in Painting

Still reading Morton Feldman’s articles in “Give My Regards to Eighth Street”,  which are full of interesting assertions (backed by no evidence whatsoever) about painting and music.  As a composer, he can claim to be an expert; he knew many of the Abstract Expressionists, spent time with them at the Cedar Tavern, so can claim expertise there, too.  Here is what he says about light in painting; I haven’t investigated fully – see if you agree:

“Light from nature

raking light: Caravaggio, Vermeer

overhead light: Watteau, Courbet, Pissarro

refracted light: Monet

intellectualised light: Seurat

Pictorial light, not from nature

constructed light: Giotto, Mantegna, Picasso, de Chirico

invented light: Piero della Francesca, Rothko

non modulated light: Mondrian, Pollock

light without source: Rembrandt”

I reproduce some paintings by these artists; you can check the light.



Caravaggio – raking light?  Yes, from left.



Vermeer – right again.  That is – from the left.



Courbet – above?



Rembrandt – light without source?

I’ll look at some more next blog.

Team Nigella

After writing about Citizen Kane last week, I remembered that Kane (Hearst) was proud of making the news, not just reporting it.  A number of lesser examples of the same have been provided by the leftish press recently – no doubt the right-wing press do it all the time, but I don’t read them.  The Guardian and the Observer tend to be self-righteous about distortion, so these are the examples I offer:

David Cameron did not say he was on “Team Nigella” – he agreed with a reporter who used the term.  Little thing maybe, but I think it’s different.

He did not announce that it was “Mission Accomplished” for British troops in Afghanistan; the phrase was suggested by a reporter, and he agreed to it in a strictly limited definition (preparing the Afghan army to defend the country from the Taliban).  What else would he say?   “I’m bringing them home, job not done, leaving the Afghans in the lurch”?

An Observer headline stated that the Bulgarian PM had “issued a fierce” condemnation of the government’s attitude towards EU immigration; in fact, the paper was referring to remarks he had made in the course of an “exclusive” interview with the paper (presumably at the request of the Observer).  That’s not what I would call “issuing”.

The Desolation of Smaug

Serious signs of padding in this latest 3 hour stretch of a trilogy sort of based on Tolkein’s children’s book; brilliant battle scenes, great Orcs and the introduction of an Elf woman-warrior called Tauriel, who isn’t a real character – that is, she’s made up by the film writers, not Tolkein.  I was impressed by the dragon, until the final close-up of its face, when I got a flash of the original “Night of the Demon”, a film I love, but one in which the demon is not wholly convincing.  Left the cinema with my 3D specs on again, as in Gravity.


From the ridiculous to the – not sublime, but serious anyway.  Watched Dekalog 5, which is actually Kieslowsky’s “A Short Film about Killing”; only an hour long, I think, but it lingers.  A youth in 80s Poland strangles and beats a taxi driver to death in a protracted sequence, is condemned to death and hanged on screen.  The hanging takes place in the execution shed, there is a drop of only a couple of feet, a tray has been placed at the bottom of the pit to catch urine; the hangman’s assistant shouts and yells repeatedly in the seconds before the lever is pulled, presumably to confuse and distract the victim.  The taxi driver is portrayed as sleazy; he propositions a young girl.  He avoids picking up customers he doesn’t fancy taking; if he’d done his job properly, he wouldn’t have picked up the murderer…


And another hanging.  I must admit I was surprised, shocked even, when Brody was hanged on a crane in Tehran.  Even though the execution was public, I was expecting some ruse by which he survived and escaped – such is the conditioning of TV.




On the Way to Somewhere


Boxing Day, 26th December 2013.

Blackpaint 272

May 8, 2011

Bela Tarr

A top shot, from a bridge maybe, of travellers disembarking with suitcases from a ferry and boarding an old dockside train; it’s twilight, puddles, cobbles, steam…  Yes, they’re still coming – how many is that?  A mournful, haunting accordion plays a slow melody, over and over.  We watch the back of a man’s head as HE watches through steamed-up glass…  Later, a violent incident happens away at the top of the screen, in the darkness, on the quay – something, or someone hits the water…  A violent argument takes place between the man and the proprietress of a grocery, in the shop itself.  As they scream and tussle,  a man emerges from the freezer room at the back with a giant fish on his shoulder, slaps it on a slab and starts to chop it up.  The fight ends, the two antagonists leave – and the camera lingers on the man chopping.  He chops the fish 47 times before the scene changes…  We watch, through the window of a shabby room, with another smoking man, cable cars going to and from a factory or colliery, across a smoke -stained landscape, many times.  Mournful music plays.  Outside a dingy neon-fronted bar, ferocious rain teems down and ferocious scavenging dogs scour the mud…

These are moments – all in black and white. and beautifully shot and recorded – from the fims of Bela Tarr, my current obsession.  More to follow.

Violence in paintings

Since last blog, or maybe the one before, I have come across a number of old paintings depicting violent incidents in surprising ways – or perhaps with surprising subjects.  I was writing about Caravaggio’s “Abraham and Isaac” in the Uffizi, how brutally realistic is the violence, even though the angel prevents the “sacrifice” before Abraham can use his knife.  In the Domenichino version of the same scene, the angel, flying across the picture, brushing against Abraham’s shoulder, and grabbing the knife in his hand.  It actually looks as if Abraham is doing a judo throw on him – a poorly executed Kata-Guruma.  Everyone, including the ram, looks skyward piously- Abraham mildly startled, though.

Bernardino Luini tackled “The Executioner presents John the Baptist’s head to Herod” around 1530.  The headsman holds it by the hair, as if scrutinising it for nits, while Salome, looking very like a Leonardo saint, turns her gently smiling face away with lowered eyes, too modest, it appears, to accept the gift (Herod not in my version – must be a detail).  Even John looks demure and thoughtful – politely, he refrains from bleeding, though there is  a basin, which Salome caresses.

Rosso Fiorentino – “Moses and the Daughters of Jethro”.  From 1523,  a near naked young Moses gets stuck in to the seven shepherds who are being mean to Jethro’s daughters.  In an amazing Mannerist triangular pile of flesh, he is putting a shoulder hold on one, while two more are already laid out on the ground.  Behind him, another shepherd appears to be hurling a bludgeon at a mildly alarmed daughter in the background, clad in a blue gown, revealing the right breast.  Luckily, it looks as if it will miss her – the bludgeon, I mean.

Domenichino is in the Prado; the other two are both in the Uffizi.  More violence next time.

Gregory Woods

Attended the launch reading of his new poetry book, “An Ordinary Dog” in Honor Oak last evening; brilliantly structured, very funny, moving, full of classical references and pretty explicit in several verses.  It reminded me of the best of Thom Gunn’s work.  On sale from next month and I did the painting on the cover – which, of course, has no bearing on my opinion of the work.



Blackpaint 269

April 25, 2011


Watching this great Polanski film the other day (starring Catherine Deneuve), I was staggered when a character started telling Deneuve the plot of a film she had just seen – starring Charlie Chaplin, in a tramp role!  “Repulsion”, for those who might not know, is set in the 60’s, around South Kensington.  Maybe they still showed Chaplin shorts at the old cartoon picture houses, along with Bugs Bunny and the Cockerel newsreels – I’m far too young to know.

Also in “Repulsion” – briefly, before Catherine slices him up with a cutthroat razor – is Patrick Wymark.  He strikes me as a perfect Francis Bacon character; thick neck, squat, erect body, sneering lips, braying voice, sweaty face, pushy, bullying, canine.  Surprisingly, the Deneuve character is not impressed.  He joins the rotting rabbit carcase and that of the previously murdered John Fraser in the stinking apartment, while Catherine is groped by the (imaginary) hands that emerge from the walls.  And a jazz score by Chico Hamilton.


In one of the Saturday papers, Guardian or Telegraph, a drawing of a man’s head, newly discovered (loose) in a Leonardo sketchbook.  An Italian academic has claimed it as a Leonardo original – rashly, I think.  It looks more like a picture from a serial in the old Eagle Annual.  Something very modern about it; it’s not sculpted, in the way Leo’s other drawings are.  Italians seem prone to rushing in with these things – see previous Blackpaint entries (Blackpaint 111,212 and 215) on the Michelangelo Sermon on the Mount “discovery” .  Still, maybe I’m wrong and my hard-earned reputation will be destroyed.


Looking again at the Uffizi catalogue and there are three Caravaggios listed:  Medusa, The Adolescent Bacchus and the Sacrifice of Isaac.  The last is quite startlingly brutal – Abraham is distracted by the angel as he is about to cut Isaac’s throat.  He holds the knife very convincingly and is forcing the yelling Isaac’s face down against a boulder by a hand round the back of his neck, the thumb mashing into his cheek.  Isaac is not looking submissive and reconciled to his fate – not one little bit.

Medusa, also apparently yelling, stares out in horror or shock from a lozenge of green.  Glistening snakes writhe round “her”  head – but it’s the face of a young man, surely.  The blood squirting from the neck gives the picture the air of a waxen guillotine victim at Tussauds.

The Bacchus picture shows a fleshy young boy, crowned with flowers and rouged, holding a big, shallow glass of wine over a bowl of rotting fruit.  The text refers to symbolism, but why?  Corruption, I suppose – but maybe Caravaggio just thought rotting fruit was more interesting.

El Greco

There is a large El Greco in Dulwich Picture Gallery at the moment – The Opening of the Fifth Seal, the Vision of St. John, which is so roughly finished and “modern” in its general aspect that it looks, to me at least, like a Kokoschka.  When you have checked out the El Greco, have a look at the Friends Open in the same gallery; one of mine is in there.

Sorry, old one – having to revamp this week’s, which I screwed up last night.



Blackpaint 165

July 11, 2010

God in the Brain – Michelangelo

My youngest son told me a week or so ago that some scientists had recognised the odd surround from which God reaches to Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as being an exact match for a cross section of the brain.  Then, last night, the same theory popped up on QI – Stephen Fry said it was three or four scientists and the whole thing was the more plausible because Michelangelo famously conducted (illegal) dissections.

So it’s clearly nonsense, according to Blackpaint’s Law of Spurious Plausibility.  This states that the likelihood of a theory being bullshit increases proportionate to its plausibility (to a disinterested and rational public).  We’re talking here about plausibility, not evidence, I emphasise.  The fact that  four scientists believe something is true is not evidence, unless its in their own field – maybe not even then; professional magicians love to have scientists observe their tricks, because they are really easy to fool – I suppose because they take a linear approach.


Blackpaint’s Law probably applies to the Caravaggio camera obscura theory too.  Martin Gayford was writing about this in the Telegraph yesterday – the gist was that certain oddities in the way C. paints could be explained by his having used a camera obscura to “trace” some figures and then sort of reassemble them on canvas – an early variety of cut and paste, I suppose.  Sounds plausible – I think Hockney came up with it in that book he wrote a few years back.  There’s that question of the outstretched left hand in the “Supper at Emmaus” (too small in relation to the right one – see Blackpaint earlier this year) – not sure how that fits in.  Anyway, it’s plausible, but no evidence, so Blackpaint’s Law says BS.

Gillian Ayres

Below is my latest painting, that I thought was a pretty good effort, a re-working of an old canvas called “Bad Boy” that was OK at the time I did it but crap in retrospect.  The new one is called Bad Boy 2 (Falstaff), for obvious reasons.  After finishing it, and sticking it on the wall for appraisal, I happened to see a painting by Gillian Ayres, entitled Hinba, in a book.  Same reds and pinks, infinitely more interesting.  I wasn’t conscious of any influence, but it seems to me that I must have registered the Ayres somewhere in the back of my skull before painting; bit of a choker, really.  I suppose that sort of thing happens all the time.

Private View 

Last Thursday, in a swish health centre on Chelsea Wharf.  Amazing how much better your pictures look when they get a big chunk of pristine white wall to themselves.  A few glasses of red wine also improves their appearance, but best of all is a cheque (rare occurrence).

BB Falstaff by Blackpaint

Listening to Friends in Low Places, by Garth Brooks

“Blame it all on my roots – I showed up in boots

And ruined your black tie affair…”



Blackpaint 83

March 9, 2010

Ad Reinhardt

Quote of the week from above: “Art is art; everything else is everything else”.  I think that about sums it all up.

Thomas Demand

Great name; like Fischli and Weiss, he creates perfect facsimiles of reality – only he makes them out of treated paper, as miniatures.

Chris Ofili

I’ve been reading the interview he gave in this month’s Tate magazine and came across this: “..the minute I make the first move with the brush, I have to make a decision either to refer to the drawings I’ve been working on, or to start having a more direct discussion with what’s in front of me.  At first I work with photos or sketches….and after a while, this thing starts to talk back….this thing starts to make firm demands, and you start to risk losing your original plan.”  Later, he refers to “that point where the material starts to do things for you…”.  So there it is again; over and over, from figurative as well as abstract painters, that idea of the painting doing itself through the painter.  Ofili puts it in such a way, though, that you don’t immediately reject it as pseudo-mystical, New Age crap.  Not immediately.

Perspective and foreshortening

Doing this last week at life drawing, I was struck again by how huge those close sheep are (or in this case, feet); it’s always a surprise.  I was most struck (stricken?) however, years ago, copying an equestrian statue from the rear, by the size of the horse’s arse.  Funny though, how in the Caravaggio below, the right hand of the gesturing man is the same size as his left, which being towards us, should be much bigger – but yet, it doesn’t look wrong.


Here’s my latest, in which foreshortening is not an issue.