1, 2, 3. Please start here.

Detail of Manet's Olympia

"The poets", a great literary critic once wrote, "do not read the same books as the academics or do not read them in the same way." She added, to explain how all great poetry is on the same path, that the gnosis of mind, or inner wisdom they search for, has been known and formulated in every civilization.1That's why we read art differently here and different books too. We try to look at art the way artists do, read the books artists read and try to capture their thoughts. It is a holistic view that treats artists as though they are in tune with one another, each learning from the other, and not on different wavelengths. We also believe, like artists, that self-knowledge is the only path to wisdom and psychic peace. For those new to the site I thought it might be useful to highlight the three areas that led me to this approach. You should probably read them first. That way you can gain the proper perspective from which to make use of these new methods, at least new to most people. You may already know a vast amount about art but unless you are an artist (and, perhaps, even if you are) you will probably find all three explanations quite startling:

1. Edouard Manet's earliest masterpieces between 1859 and 1863 were my initial introduction. I do not know how I made sense of them in the absence of any other knowledge. No idea at all. Nevertheless it was through them and the means Manet used to open my eyes (why else would he leave the hints?) that I learned how to look at all art. Read in this order if possible: The Absinthe Drinker (1858-9), Mlle. V in the Costume of an Espada (1861), Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe (1863) and Olympia (1863).  

2. Michelangelo's masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel. Manet's method helped me make sense of Michelangelo's art four centuries earlier. The Sistine Chapel is the be-all and end-all of Western art. In comparison, Mona Lisa is small potatoes. Nevertheless, the poetry behind all Renaissance art and all subsequent art emerges from the seeds Michelangelo sowed in the Sistine Chapel. I'd be surprised if what I show you there does not blow your mind; it blew mine.

3. Portraiture. Long after I had discovered that every painter paints himself I could not make portraiture fit the theory. How could a portrait of someone else be a portrait of the artist? The answer in most cases, especially in iconic portraits of the world's leaders by the world's most famous artists, is so deceptively simple that Occam's razor suggests it must be true.

Do take the time to follow the links above and read the descriptions. I doubt that you will ever look at art the same way again. 

1. Kathleen Raine, The Inner Journey of the Poet (New York: George Braziller) 1982, p. 21

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