Wednesday, 25 November 2015

'The Falling Rocket' by Whistler - 1875

James Whistler said that he ‘mixed his paint with his brain’.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Nocturne in Black and Gold, The Falling Rocket, 1875
Oil on panel, 60.2 x 46.7 cm, Collection Detroit Institute of Arts

Art transports us from the world of man’s activity to a world of aestetic exalation. For a moment we are shut off from human interest; our anticipations and memories are arrested; we are lifted above the stream of life. – Clive Bell (1881-1964) ‘The Aesthetic Hypothesis’ /1914

Friday, 6 November 2015

'Nude desending a staircase, nr.2' by Marcel Duchamp - 1912

Gertrude Stein, the cubist writer as she called herself, describes the situation of painting at the time as follows: “After C├ęzanne, everyone who painted wanted to create the sensation of movement within the picture, not by painting something that moved but rather by depicting the existence of movement in the object itself”.

In Duchamp's picture you have both: the sensation of the movement in the time sequence and the very existence of the movement in the subject 'nude'.
Before it was common to freeze a nude, lying or standing, in the picture. To descend a nude was new! Duchamp confirmed it by writing the title in the lower left corner.
A painting, he said, 'is the diagram of an idea'.

‘Nu descendant un escalier, n°2’ - 147 cm × 89 cm (58” × 35”)
Collection Philadelphia Museum Of Art