My desk tends to be a rather crowded place. But every now and then I try to tidy up, mainly to clear my thoughts.
The next couple of weeks I will be writing a short essay on art and feminism. It’s a commissioned work, with limits in words and a set time. An enjoyable and feasible project.
And as usual there will also be several critiques to write.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867): The Bather, known as the Valpinçon Bather, (1807-08)
This Seated Woman, as the painting was originally titled, is one of the three works Ingres was required to send to Paris as a student at the French Academy in Rome (the other two being a Half-length portrait of a woman bathing, 1807 and an Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1808). It was an odd choice of subject for a student at the Academy. The few critics who commented on the work were unimpressed. It was not until the Universal Exhibition in 1855 that the work received favorable notice from critics, including the Goncourt brothers, who wrote, “Rembrandt himself would have envied the amber color of this pale torso.”
– I will also manage to spend some time with my main ongoing project: art and beauty
During my winter holiday I have done a bit of research, reading in these books:
What do we mean when we call a work of art `beautiful`? How have artists responded to changing notions of the beautiful? Which works of art have been called beautiful, and why? – Why should we care about beauty in the twenty-first century?
What makes an object – either in art, in nature, or the human form – beautiful?
Darwinistic aesthetics: why a chimpanzee with a paintbrush is having fun but not making art etc.
What is it to be at the edge of the world of the imagination? How do writers, readers, and thinkers deal with this threshold? How do painters represent it?
I’m reading them, these books and several more, all at the same time, filling my mind with new thoughts and ideas, comparing, challenging and adjusting. Making chaos, or maybe – if one puts generosity to the process – a dynamic system. My plan is to gradually, over time, find new paths – in my own language.
Time will tell …