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Saturday, July 15, 2006

More Millicent

Hi. We're in one of the reading rooms in the Millicent Library in Fairhaven Massachusetts here. When I see the facility with which artists used to be able to depict cloth hanging over the human frame, I sometimes think that we're going backwards, instead of forwards, in the art world. They call that a "drapery study," and this is a really fine one. Modern art looks like cave paintings compared to this, at least to me.

I'd love to tell you who the painting is about, and who painted it, but I can't. The public computer is directly below it, and a young fellow, dressed like Alan Iverson, was sitting there and downloading pornography or bomb recipes or stock quotes or al qaeda instructions or My Little Pony trivia questions or something, and didn't like me looking over his shoulder.

And so I left him, and the lovely lady seated over him, to their mysterious pursuits.

2 comments:

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do you think that modern photography made it no longer essential for artists to paint something close to reality?

SippicanCottage said...

I don't think so.

The purpose of a portrait is to capture the person in it. That's more than a representation of their appearance.

In a way, it's just as hard to capture a person photographically as on a canvas. Photography brings all sorts of things into the equation that an artist would leave out. The extraneous competes with the essential.

Technical precision cannot counterfeit insight, but a lack of it makes it harder to do what you're trying to do.

If you're illiterate, you'e unlikely to write the great american novel.