Eyes at Bottom
Discover another "unknown" theme in art: the artist's eye or eyes at the bottom of the picture. By placing forms in eye-shapes near the lower edge, the artist communicates that the image above is inside his mind by being, so to speak, behind his forehead. And, although the practice is pervasive in art used by painters from the Renaissance to the present day, I have never come across any mention of this in the literature. Like the ubiquity of self-representation itself, this particular strategy to convey it, one of many, also remains "unknown".
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Artists often identify with other artists, using them as an alter ego. Here is an exceptionally clever one.
All Articles (Alphabetical by Artist, then Title)
Is this merely a scene of everyday life or something more important?
Sometimes objects with meaning are so prominent and so large, viewers miss them
Altdorfer's scene of incest is an early example of a long tradition with very similar and surprising meaning
Remember a few general principles and you will find that the art of understanding art is much easier than you might magine
Make sure you always know an artist's real name, the one the artist actually used. It's a very useful tool for interpretation.
Even anonymous art can be enjoyed through EPPH's methodology
Why would a German pacifist like Anselm Kiefer use a Nazi salute as one of his signature gestures?
Find out, even in the work of a little-known painter, how the executioner is the artist and the victim his painting.
If you keep an eye out for underlying shapes, you might even be able to guess the artist's name
Here is a good example of how borrowed form borrows meaning. In Artemisia's self-portrait as an Allegory of Painting, she thought of herself as a personification of Art...
Watch the bloody and cathartic experience of painting a masterpiece
See Artemisia Gentileschi turned a biblical story into a lesson about art and reality
Learn how one scene can turn into another through visual metamorphosis
If it looks odd, there must be a reason. See Balthus horsing around.
In a short addendum to Part 1, see how Balthus conveyed his alter ego
Learn how to deconstruct a portrait by Balthus using a few simple principles
Bandinelli's statue in Florence, known more for its competition with Michelangelo's David than for the statue itself, has lessons in it which help explain David
An artist's identification with God was as common in the 20th century as in the Renaissance
See how Basquiat's Boone turns facial resemblance on its head and becomes Basquiat.
See how Giovanni Bellini used a visual pun to pass on his meaning
Find out how a giant Renaissance altarpiece is all about painting
Why would a great poet just depict fruit on a platter with no other content or meaning? The answer: they wouldn't.
How Bonnard turned his creative process into a scene in modern Paris
See how the second of a pair of paintings by Bosch is also "behind the eye."
A little knowledge of studios goes a long way to understanding art
This masterpiece, like many before and since, must have been the source of inspiration for Picasso's Cubism. As unlikely as that may sound, it all depends on what you can see in The Birth of Venus that experts never have. You'll be one of the first...
Learn how to note passages between one level of reality and another
Pastoral genre scenes, although invented by Boucher, abide by art's traditions
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