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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18 May 2015

Still-lifes by Peale and Core

Names are important in art. The American master Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) had three sons who became painters: Rembrandt, Raphaelle [sic] and Titian. His fourth son was Rubens. Raphaelle is thought to be America’s first still-life painter who, on occasion, punned on his name as in the...

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06 Mar 2015

C.S. Lewis on a Poetic Method

The late Sidney Geist, a sculptor and controversial interpreter of Cézanne's art, invited me about 12 years ago to come and see him at his studio in Manhattan. I had spent the past year studying everything about Edouard Manet and was excited to discuss with him some of what I had discovered....

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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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17 Apr 2014

Manet’s Spanish Singer Raises a Leg

Inspiration can come from anywhere so it's a good idea to look at the art of all periods. Artists do so, no matter which century they live in. A few days ago I solved one of my long-standing problems with a picture by the19th-century artist Edouard Manet (left) while I was studying a...

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09 Feb 2014

Artists and the Thumb-hole of a Guitar

I read once that Cézanne prepared his palette with as many as 18 pigments and lined them up in a series like musical scales.1 It’s an apt analogy because painters have long portrayed musicians as an allegory of their own poetic performance in the studio. When Manet and Courbet painted...

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13 Oct 2013

Higgs Boson and Mistakes

So, not long after the discovery of the Higgs boson and half a century after they predicted its existence, Higgs and Englert win the Nobel Prize in Physics. I don't often relate to advances in science but this one's a biggie. Last year, on news of the discovery, I wrote about how the knowledge...

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28 Sep 2013

How Manet and other artists shoot their paintings

Have you ever shot your mother? Directors shoot movies and nearly everyone has made a snap-shot with a camera but few imagine that artists shoot paintings. In fact they have shot nearly every canvas with a gun in it since the devilish implements were invented. The Irish poet Seamus Heaney...

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09 Sep 2013 | 2 Comments

Art’s Unknown Frown

Artists frown. Constantly. Why? Charles Darwin considered the corrugator, the muscle which results in a frown, as the most remarkable of the human face because it irresistably conveys the idea of mind.1 And that's why, in my opinion, artists have used it for centuries not only in their own...

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26 Mar 2013

When Degas made a boob ...on purpose

In a new entry published today you can see for the first time ever how Edgar Degas turned his friend, Edouard Manet (above), into the driver of a carriage holding his whip as a paintbrush flecked with white paint. He then transformed the artist's coat into a single-breasted jacket.1 The...

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20 Mar 2013 | 2 Comments

How Degas drew a top hat…

Art is so pregnant that even in a "simple" sketch like Degas' Edouard Manet at the Races (c. 1865) there is always something more. I thought I had drained the drawing when I finished writing about it yesterday (see entry). And, then, this morning I suddenly noticed Manet's halo! Degas has drawn...

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18 Feb 2013

1+1=1: The Divided Self in Manet’s Railway

What is the girl up to? Who are they? What's happening? Why do they wear the same color clothes? Why is the girl's hair so odd?

In my explanation two years ago of Edouard Manet’s The Railway (1873) I noted that the extended arm of the girl, an alter ego, is “painting” the background and...

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11 Dec 2012

Memory Holloway and Picasso

Memory Holloway, an art historian at the University of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, has written a wonderful book on a magnificent group of etchings by Pablo Picasso. It is titled Making Time: Picasso's Suite 347. Suite 347 is the name given to 347 etchings that the Spanish artist produced in his...

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21 Sep 2012

Impressionism and Fashion

Impressionism and Fashion is the title of a new exhibition opening at Paris' Musée d’Orsay this coming Monday.  The key image on the catalogue’s cover and the Museum’s website is Manet’s Young Lady of 1866. The model, Victorine Meurend, is familiar to art lovers from her starring roles three...

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30 Aug 2012

Manet’s Modern Methods

I was crossing the road when a delivery truck owned by a prominent online grocery in the New York area stopped at a light. It displayed a poster of their managers holding a blow-up of the product each specializes in (right). One of the meat managers or butchers, most interestingly (lower left),...

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