Posts Tagged ‘Still lifes’

Blackpaint 134

May 14, 2010


I’m informed that what I wrote yesterday was not complete – there were landscapes done as frescoes on the walls of Pompeii and according to Wikipedia there is some evidence of ancient Greek landscapes, although none survive ( I have to say that I could find no examples on google images, apart from some garden scenes and one of animals charging; plenty of interesting erotic ones however).   Wiki also mentions the various Books of Hours, notably the Limbourg brothers’ one made for the Duc de Berry, in which the passage of the seasons is portrayed as a backdrop to human activities.  So the British Museum claim that the Leonardo landscape of 1474 was the earliest European landscape is not quite right.

Still Lifes 

Again, according to Wiki, there were Greek examples, but most notably, Egyptian funerary ones, consisting of goods and articles that the dead might want in the afterlife.  The earliest European examples after the Romans were religion based – assemblages of articles of religious significance.

Philip Pearlstein

At life drawing today, we looked at this artist’s work – bit like Lucian Freud nudes.  The lecturer remarked that he preferred Freud because Pearlstein’s surfaces showed little trace of the artist’s brushwork, while Freud’s were visibly worked over, with a lot of the changes, or working on show.  It struck me that this was a good illustration of the difference between the traditional (for want of a better word) view of excellence in painting and the “modern” view; many people would say the surface should show as little working as possible.  The object is to produce a perfect illusion of reality – impossible, of course, but to be pursued nevertheless.

This is overstating it, I know;  more and more people are prepared to accept and like different representations of reality – the brushwork and structural lines, for example.  There’s still that gap when it comes to abstract stuff, though; people want to read “things” into a painting.  They want, or feel the need to, see people or houses or trees or whatever.  Some will ask you “What’s happening in this one?”  Others will tell you what they see in it.  Fair enough; once it’s done, and on a wall for public appraisal, the painter doesn’t own it any more and anything can legitimately be “read” in it.  Or maybe not – comments?