Artist’s Mind

All true art is literally a mirror of the artist’s mind, a reflection of the artist's imagination at work. If you know that, and bear it in mind when looking at artworks, your eyes will be alert for the visual details that convey it. If not, your perception will fall victim to the everyday illusion of exterior reality, whether examining an image of the Nativity, a portrait of Napoleon or a view inside Matisse’s studio.

Some scholars have identified artistic production as the true subject of a seemingly quite different scene but such occasions are rare.1 Most are so convinced that past art was designed for the patron that they look at art through the eyes of a contemporary spectator: as though through a window. They are literalists. Yet to poetic painters the canvas is never “a window” but “a mirror” and nothing is as it seems. We are not looking out, but in. Remember that, and doors will open that you never even knew were there. Take a look at these examples of how artists portray their own mind.

1. Ruvoldt, The Italian Renaissance Imagery of Inspiration (Cambridge University Press) 2004, pp. 114-5, 118

1. Ruvoldt, The Italian Renaissance Imagery of Inspiration (Cambridge University Press) 2004, pp. 114-5, 118

All Articles (Alphabetical by Artist, then Title)

© Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.