07 Mar 2016 | 1 Comments

Try Sleeping on Dürer’s Pillows

Surprise, surprise. In great art you never stop seeing new perceptions in long-familar images because art by its very nature exists on multiple levels. And seeing them without help from others is both edifying and deeply satisfying, certain to brighten your spirits on a dull day. Our subject...

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29 Feb 2016

Re-writing Writers on Art

Years ago I thought that the Renaissance humanists who fought to have painting accepted as a liberal art knew a lot about the subject. It seemed a natural assumption but I was wrong. For us in search of art’s underlying meaning, it’s more important to absorb literature's philosophy and...

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21 Feb 2016

Harper Lee on Every Painter Paints Himself

Harper Lee’s passing reminded me of a deservedly famous line in To Kill A Mockingbird: "You never really understand a person… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." To my mind she was not just portraying a wild imagination, as a surface reading suggests, but that what seems...

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20 Feb 2016

What are you?

If you follow EPPH and look at art as we do here, what are you? Art lover is too general and largely meaningless. Anyone can love art, even the seeker of a selfie with the Mona Lisa. You are more serious. You cannot be an art historian because we seek to uncover art’s ahistorical meaning, its...

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14 Nov 2015

Balla’s Initial Idea

The house in Rome of Giacomo Balla (1871-1958), an Italian Futurist painter, is a kaleidoscope of color and creativity. I haven’t visited it but came across this photograph online of four of his clothes hangers. A commentator transcribes the handwritten inscription on one of these household...

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04 Nov 2015 | 2 Comments

Giacometti Paints Himself (1966 Video)

In a 1966 video (link below) Alberto Giacometti paints a portrait of Ernst Scheidegger, a Swiss photographer. We see how carefully and precisely he builds up the geometric structure of a face. What caught my attention, though, not knowing German, was the English transcript of the dialogue. In...

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29 Oct 2015

On Art’s Unity

If anyone doubts that there is more unity to visual art than is currently recognized or imagined, think about what Maya Angelou, the American poet, had to say about art in general. She was not given to hyperbole or exaggeration and chose her words carefully.

"All great artists draw from...

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10 Aug 2015

Eye-Opening: Michelangelo, Goya and Pixar’s Inside Out

Don’t get misled by Pixar's new Inside Out. It's not for children. It’s an animated film so obviously based on the paradigm of Western art that it demonstrates what EPPH has often argued: that ever since the 1940’s many, if not most, successful Hollywood films have been made according to...

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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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25 Jul 2015

Gauguin’s Nose

This is a little-known self-portrait of Paul Gauguin. The features seem to add up. That lantern jaw, signature moustache and the long, curling hair have been seen before. But, stop! What did he do to his nose? It's classical, Roman and as straight as a brush. It looks nothing like his true one....

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10 Jul 2015

Hair, Brushes and Art

In pointing out yesterday that George Romney’s The Clavering Children (above) is more about Romney and his art than his young sitters, I left out a few points. Hair and its resonance.

Hair resembles a paintbrush and is brushed and, like art, is styled. Both have hairlines which is the...

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05 Jul 2015

How Every Writer Writes Herself

Short sayings like "Every Painter Paints Himself" are liable to shallow interpretation. How many, for instance, on first hearing those four words will recognize a whole philosophy? I didn’t and still haven’t plumbed its full depth and meaning. It grows and grows. You need time - and lots of...

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04 Jul 2015

Miró‘s Advice for Young Painters

The just-published entry on Joan Miró's Self-portrait (1919) shows what he meant when, in a recording from 1951, he reminds young painters not to copy  nature as taught in academies of art.

"He who wants to really achieve something has to flee from things that are easy and pay no...

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17 May 2015

Bread, art and metamorphosis

I just spent the past week learning how to bake bread properly, taught by an artisan baker. The effects were startling. Time passed unnoticed; the scraper became an extension of my body; and only by thinking of what it was like to be the dough did I learn to handle it gently. Anything done with...

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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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