Saturday, May 19, 2007

What makes Art good?

Between sex and temptation, self-destruction and compassion for his subjects, a man records his existence and purpose.

If you do not know this image, take a guess as to when it was made. 2006, 1960’s, 1990’s ? How about 1886. This is the work of Henri Toulouse Lautrec, a truly prolific painter and graphic designer, immortalized in the film Moulin Rouge a few years ago, starring Nichole Kidman. This painting of his looks as though he is still alive and painted it yesterday, and that, above all else is one of the ingredients to making Art not only good, but GREAT!

This work single handedly says to artists to follow your passion for what you do. Try not to get too steeped in all of the hype and technology, unless it really can propel your work forward, This work tells us about honesty with media and material, about unselfconsciousness, about working for yourself because you want to. Lautrec did not live a sanitized life, and this, his “Red” may have contributed to his early death by a
sexually transmitted disease. However, of his many, many masterful works, this is a gem.

I first saw it in black and white in an art history book and my heart raced as though I had been running. The atmosphere or sfumato, invented by Leonardo Da Vinci is very present in the piece. It looked like a photograph and not a painting at first. Then it looked so contemporary that I had to study it further. I practically found myself nodding and smiling like someone who discovers some hidden money in a coat pocket. I was so jolted by its delightful simplicity, directness and beauty. He has captured her in turning, the gesture as intimate as if she were unclothed. The proportion of the body in regard to its space and the colours used, so controlled, yet seemingly effortless brushstroking, the dark of the glass behind her back, the light looking forward on the other side…such poetry, such artifice and in a word, sublime. - Adele

1 comment:

Rory said...

Thank you for another great post, and for answering a question, in brief, I'm often too embarrassed to ask. It makes me ashamed to think I was considering abandoning my old view camera for a digital camera, just to fit in with everybody else. It's tough being 'green' sometimes, though.

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