21 May 2017

Art’s Timelessness

One of the exciting changes that can happen to you with an EPPH perspective is to discover that we all have the ability to see links between very different images. And the ways we do that are so far removed from conventional understanding that the method and its results never cease to surprise....

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01 Aug 2015

Joanna Woodall on Cooking Artists in Dark Rooms

Many are the ways to demonstrate that a given picture represents the artist in his or her mind: resemblance, pose, apparent errors, "nonsensical" shading, tools expressed in metaphor, etc. We have shown you at least thirty different methods, most of them unknown to art historians in...

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26 Mar 2015

Ssh! The Secret of Picasso’s Ear

Ears make sense as one of the five: touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. But who thinks about Picasso's ears? We mostly remember his eyes: deep, dark and powerful. Yet he himself - as I don't think has been noted before - seems to have been very conscious that he had large ears. Noddy, a...

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05 Mar 2015

Picasso runs his fingers through her hair

No doubt in life Picasso did run his fingers through his girlfriend's hair. In the drawing (left) from 1906 he did so too, turning an image of Fernande into a representation of himself. He might have learnt the method from any number of artists including Michelangelo or Fra Filippo Lippi....

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05 Feb 2015 | 2 Comments

Do you draw your own features unintentionally?

Readers, especially artists, I could do with some help. Do you reproduce your own features without meaning to? Do you have examples? Many initial viewers, usually those who can draw, ask me whether artists fused faces (see above) intentionally or unintentionally. They say that it’s well-known...

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26 Jan 2015 | 2 Comments

Male Artist on Female Figures

Facebook comments can be revealing. Alan Feltus is a contemporary artist whose work I have written about before. He just posted photos on his FB page of 3 paintings done while he was a resident Fellow at the American Academy in Rome in the early 1970's. It was there that he started painting...

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23 Oct 2014

The Male Artist and His Female Muse

Mona Lisa was Leonardo’s muse and he kept the portrait with him until his death. The beautiful, semi-nude La Fornarina was Raphael’s. Titian’s muse and Palma Vecchio’s are both called Beautiful or La Bella in Italian. Parmigianino’s is known as Anthea. Today not one of these women has...

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24 Sep 2014 | 2 Comments

Reading Art: Manet, Picasso and Alfonso Ponce de Leon

My vision, like most people’s, is often cloudy which is why when the sun breaks and I gain some understanding, I get excited. You must excuse me. It may sometimes seem as if no-one before me has made similar observations. After all, all my entries on EPPH must include something unknown to...

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01 May 2014 | 1 Comments

An Intriguing Self-portrait, c.1345 BC

One of the earliest surviving self-portraits from antiquity is that of Bak, chief sculptor to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. It is beautifully preserved in Berlin (above) and is very intriguing given Western art history’s traditional description of Egyptian art as something foreign.


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14 Apr 2014

Joseph Cornell gives birth to a box…

Birthing, physical birth, is one of poetry and art’s most powerful metaphors used for many centuries, perhaps ever since art first appeared. It plays on the relationship between sexual conception and mental conception while often conveying that our physical bodies do not determine our soul....

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13 Apr 2014

The Artist is Always Present

Very few novels use the first person pronoun, most using an impersonal narrator to describe the scene. The author David Henry Thoreau noted that, with the ‘I’ omitted, the reader forgets that it really remains there because the novelist is confined to his theme by the narrowness of his own...

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10 Mar 2014

Egon Schiele’s Green Belly

There is no such thing as art for art’s sake. It is a contradiction in terms. The early 19th-century art historians could see little beyond narrative so when art started to lose its connection to an apparent subject, they assumed such works were composed for visual effect alone. That, of...

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10 Feb 2014

The Poet’s Eye

What you see may not be all you see because somewhere inside most true artworks one form is laid over another. Here's a simple example from a print made by Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), a leader of the New York School in the mid-twentieth century. If it were not titled The Poet's Eye, you...

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05 Jan 2014 | 2 Comments

How God became Woman

Art is so pregnant that it can take months for its hidden meaning to emerge in your thought. That’s why we try to enter the artist's mind, not just through social customs and the religious dogma of a period but also through art's own culture which, though barely known, is simpler to recall...

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10 Aug 2013 | 2 Comments

Soak it up! The Story of Degas’ Sponge.

Degas was a well-known miser so some people might still think of him as a sponge. That would be appropriate. Artists don't always handle brushes; they use anything that works, sponges included. A selection sold for use by artists is illustrated (above right). Degas, for instance, might well...

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