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THE PAINTER AS HISTORIAN 

 

Original mixed media piece NOT a print. You will receive the piece unframed.

 

This piece glows under UV light.

 

Text from a catalogue for an art exhibition held at the Wildenstein Galleries in New York City during the winter of 1962 titled “The Painter as Historian: Mythological, Religious, Secular Paintings of the 15th to 19th Centuries”.

 

watercolour, acrylic, marker, glitter, bugs (june bug, ants, wasp, pill bug), various beads (mostly ones i’ve found on the ground), and flowers (lavender, bleeding heart, violet), on cotton rag paper 

 

9 x 12 inches

 

TEXT FROM PIECE:

 

one might ask why mythological and religious paintings are included in an exhibition about history, but history by definition is a relation of incidents and only latelv has it been limited to a relation of those presumably true. The French Academy adhered to the earlier tradition when it specified that a "history painting" was any painting based on a written account. Prehistory, which signifies before history to the casual reader, actually means before written history, and in this sphere the artist as historian assumes a paramount importance.

 

The idea of recording events in pictures is as old as man. The buffalo hunts on the walls of the Dordogne caves certainly were not the first attempt by an artist to portray the happenings or desires of his life. The artist, therefore was always a kind of involuntary historian, leaving a vivid documentation both of his world and of his place in it.

 

One tends to regard history as a static record of events, a saga of dated battles and documented people, and not as a moving and changing phenomena conditioned by available information and individual minds. The artist, less scholarly perhaps, and more concerned with the quality of his painting than with factual data, feels freer to consider the entire scope of human experience and does not scruple to arrange events to suit his fancy. He thinks of historical, biblical and mythological anecdotes as actual scenes and presents them as such, and his finished work then develops a reality of its own. This reality is frequently so striking that it supplants other accounts; in the popular mind, a painting sometimes acts as a symbol of an entire era.

 

Such interpretations are often thought of as artistic license, but when one turns to more orthodox history, it is clear that the situation is almost as ambiguous. Eyewitness accounts are apt to be as inaccurate as some portraits from life.

History slips imperceptibly into legend, or in the case of any very partisan writings, can become pure mythology.

 

However, even though the boundaries between the categorics of history, mythology and religion are sometimes unclear and changing, and even though the painted scenes and portraits in these categories are inevitably colored by an individual sensibility, we cannot overlook the importance of these works as historical documents. They are, of course, invaluable aids for artistic reconstruction. But more important, we depend on them, often unconsciously, to round out the image of the past, to give us the appearance of the characters and of the world in which they moved. Where the written word is obscure they shed a clarifying light; where it is non-existent they are the only record.

"the Painter as Historian" original mixed media piece

C$80.00Price
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