John Deckert OK, So you want a life-sized portrait of four men in black robes . . .
and yet here it is, a brilliant composition
Rob Howard Point out the brilliant compositional points and also, what the purpose of this composition was to convey.
John Deckert These men are teaching doctors whose careers made significant advances to modern medical practice. How better to portray this advance than to describe upright figures robed in black that find themselves anchored to the dark yet projected forward of it —the figures thus emerging from this dense atmosphere into light. Their occupations moved by warm currents stirred in the parquet floor, the forward projection of a desk, the draped code of academic regalia and the rising flow of that engulfing background. An enormous globe . . . humanity, if you will . . . pressing outward from the central figures rounding to them and forming a bridge to connect the one with the other, their arabesque of hands claiming shared knowledge in the texts laid about on the table. And that polite reminder to keep the personal touch in your business with the image of St. Martin and the Beggar.
You might say "They are IN that Darkness, but they are not OF that darkness." (You can give us the Latin for that.)
You know . . . that kind of stuff . . .
Rob Howard What you describe is a written history. Do you understand what pictorial composition is, and it's purposes and uses in making pictures? Do you think of painting as a form of communication or merely a demonstration of techniques and skills learned in school and repeated endlessly?
If you are confused about the difference between technique and content (and intent), I call your attention to an interview given to Truman Capote (a man of considerable literary worth) when asked to comment on the writing style of Jaquelin Sussan, the author of 'Valley Of The Dolls'..."That's not writing,' quipped Capote, "that's typing."
In the case of most people looking at art, they don't know the difference between true greatness and most of it which is just typing," demonstrations of hand skills.
Sargent was outstanding until his mid-30's. At 25, he was the enfant terrible of the day...at least in France. He had astonishing skills at observing the variation in Values and translating them into paint. He came along during an era of great bravura painters like Stevens and Boldini, and his bravura style was part of that trend. Durand-Ruel was a fortunate choice of teacher and he lived during an era of elevated skills.
He was not the most creative guy in the world although, when he was in his twenties, he show a strong compositional ability and, as always, complete control over his Values. Fortunately for me, being schooled at the old Boston Museum School, when it was inextricably connected with the museum, we were granted space and access to copy anything in the museum (that would interfere with today's suburban cultures on their way to the restaurant and gift shop. This was the old Boston and there was an active art community.
I copied lots of Velasquez and Rembrandt paintings and found I had a real knack for it. For me, it was like channeling those masters. Among the artists from who I learned was the young John Sargent (as he was known during his lifetime and before being gussied up with a middle name and the fiction of being an American artist...he was born in Italy and schooled there and in France...initially the Brits thought he was much too French).
For me, those years of copying did a great deal of freeing up and answering questions.
And here's my interpretation of that conversation:
a life-sized portrait of men in black robes
a brilliant composition
show purpose of this composition
Point of PURPOSE:
- Commemorate doctors contributions to medical practice
- globe = humanity pressing outward
- shared knowledge in the texts
- personal touch kept in your business
- Doctors IN that Darkness not OF darkness
Point out compositional points
Points of COMPOSITION:
1. upright figures robed in black
a. anchored to the dark yet projected forward of it
b. figures emerging from this dense atmosphere into light.
- occupations moved by warm currents
a. stirred in the parquet floor,
b. forward projection of a desk,
c. draped code of academic regalia
d. rising flow of that engulfing background.
- globe presses outward from figures
a. rounding to them
b. forms a bridge
c. connects the one with the other
- arabesque of hands - the texts laid about on the table.
- polite reminder of St. Martin and the Beggar.
- IN that Darkness, not OF that darkness
LOOK AT FORTUNATE ME:
I quote Truman Capote
schooled at the old Boston Museum School
connected with the museum
granted access to copy
an active art community.
knack for copies of Velasquez and Rembrandt
channeling those masters
I learned from the young John Sargent
years of copying = freeing up and answering questions.
LETS TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE:
Is painting a form of communication ?
a demonstration of techniques and skills?
Do you learn in school and repeat endlessly?
EVERY ONE ELSE is ill informed:
you didn’t answer my question, you describe a written history
Do you understand pictorial composition?
Do you understand it's purposes and uses?
Schools teach techniques and skills that repeat endlessly
confused about technique and content (and intent),
people don't know difference between greatness and skills.
suburbanites just interested in the restaurant and gift shop
Popular culture gussied up Sargent with a middle name
Desperate Americans created a fiction of Sargent as an American artist
the Brits thought he was too French
LET ME TALK WRITTEN HISTORY INSTEAD:
Sargent outstanding until his mid-30's.
enfant terrible in France.
skilled at translating into paint.
style part of era of great bravura painters
Durand-Ruel = fortunate choice in era of elevated skills.
Sargent was not creative guy
had compositional ability and control over his Values
he was born in Italy and schooled there and in France