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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02 Dec 2014 | 11 Comments

Your Go: Explain this picture!

OK, readers, this a chance to practice your own powers of perception and interpretation before I comment: 

Explain below what this Crucifixion scene might mean and the oddity of Christ’s loincloth. I am drawing attention to that particular detail because, as always, oddities, "errors" and...

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17 Oct 2014

Brushing up on the Painter’s Sword

The mind of an artist is poetic so, if you want to understand painting and sculpture, read poets. Their literary metaphors are the artist’s visual ones. However, beware: poets understand visual art no better than most people. Emile Zola, Charles Baudelaire and Stéphane Mallarmé all wrote...

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25 Mar 2014 | 1 Comments

Lights on Rembrandt

What does Rembrandt mean? Not his art but his name. No-one's asked that before. In a beautifully written essay Zhenya Gershman, a successful artist and EPPH follower, reveals how its meaning is reflected in all his art and even his very being. She also demonstrates how he signed himself on his...

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16 Feb 2014

Is Stoning Stephen Grinding Colors?

In the wider world of art history where the word "art" has not been properly defined, the search for meaning is more complex and difficult than it is here. If biologists studied different types of trees without agreeing on what a tree was, they too would sound confused. That's why the search...

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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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09 Oct 2013 | 1 Comments

Artist Crucified in his Studio

No-one you know thinks of themself as Christ which may be why most people find it so impossible to believe that artists do. My continual harping on this theme can sound like madness. One new reader, clearly dedicated to her Church, complained vociferously last week. Yet it is true because...

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17 Jul 2013 | 1 Comments

Michelangelo Rocks in The Battle of Cascina (1504)

This post explains additional obervations not included in the original article here on Michelangelo’s The Battle of Cascina, a 1504 cartoon for a never-completed mural in the civic heart of Florence. It is one of the most celebrated and influential works in the history of art. A composition...

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03 Mar 2013

Gauguin Wrestles with Art

Gauguin's great painting of Jacob wrestling with the Angel is commonly known as Vision after the Sermon, perhaps to make sense of the women who were obviously not present in the Bible story. Two years ago I explained the scene as taking place in Gauguin's own mind as the painter, represented by...

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16 Jan 2013 | 2 Comments

Sotheby’s Head Turner

Two years ago, shortly after I began this website, Christie's sold one of the most important Old Master paintings to come on the market for years: Poussin's Ordination from the collection of the Duke of Rutland. The auction house helped by Poussin scholars wrote a comprehensive catalogue entry...

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29 Oct 2012

Leonardo’s Hurricane Sandy

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast of the United States tonight, I thought I should take the opportunity to tell our users there that we are thinking of them and wish them well. We're in it too. If you have a second to take your mind off the monstrous storm outside - before the...

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12 Jul 2012

Ink Flies in a Mind

If anyone doubts that St. Sebastian holds a special place in the creative mind as a symbol of the artist’s self and the idea that every painter paints himself, then take a look at Jaff Seijas’ self-portrait above. It is not proof but it is telling. I came across it on the web a few days...

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