05 Apr 2016

The Poetry of Turner’s Eyesight

The quality of an artist's eyesight is usually irrelevant. Impressionist paintings were once said to have no meaning because they were exact reproductions of what the artists saw. Now we know they were not. I'm embarrassed to admit it, however, but even I swallowed that one for a few years. I...

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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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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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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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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. Flying metaphorically, both have...

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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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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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03 Apr 2015

Good Goal: Study Design


Once in a while I try to remind myself to study good graphic design because, while illustration is not art, it uses the same techniques more openly. Illustration's purpose is not to hide meaning that most people will misconstrue as in art but to convey a message with skillful efficiency to...

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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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20 Mar 2015

Whose God is on the dollar bill?

Art is too often seen as a literal representation of the artist's own small, physical world. The idea that it uses metaphoric language to express much larger, eternal truths shared by all mankind is seldom realized. The same happens with the dollar bill. Six local Republican legislators want to...

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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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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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