By John Updike
In this posthumous choice of John Updike’s artwork writings, a better half quantity to the acclaimed Just taking a look (1989) and Still Looking (2005), readers are back handled to “remarkably based essays” (Newsday) during which “the mental matters of the novelist force the attention from paintings to paintings till a deep figuring out of the artwork emerges” (The manhattan instances ebook Review).
continually taking a look opens with “The readability of Things,” the Jefferson Lecture within the Humanities for 2008. right here, in taking a look heavily at person works via Copley, Homer, Eakins, Norman Rockwell, and others, the writer teases out what's often “American” in American paintings. This speak is by means of fourteen essays, so much of them written for The big apple assessment of Books, on yes highlights in Western paintings of the final 2 hundred years: the enduring photographs of Gilbert Stuart and the elegant landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, the sequence work of Monet and the monotypes of Degas, the richly patterned canvases of Vuillard and the golden extravagances of Klimt, the cryptic triptychs of Beckmann, the non-public graffiti of Miró, the verbal-visual puzzles of Magritte, and the enormous Pop of Oldenburg and Lichtenstein. The booklet ends with a attention of contemporary works by means of a dwelling American grasp, the steely sculptural environments of Richard Serra.
John Updike was once a gallery-goer of genius. Always Looking is, like every thing else he wrote, a call for participation to seem, to see, to understand the visible international during the eyes of a connoisseur.
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Additional info for Always Looking: Essays on Art
C. 3) COPLEY Mrs. James Warren (Mercy Otis), c. 1763 Oil on canvas, 49⅝ × 39½″ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2) The Copley example chosen by the Picturing America series is his 1768 portrait of a successful Boston silversmith, Paul Revere, whose name, thanks to an 1861 poem by Longfellow, would come to reverberate in the legend of the American Revolution. It is Copley’s only portrait of a craftsman in shirtsleeves, and the painting itself shows some merely craftsmanly qualities. The shirt is splendid, but the hand on the chin appears too big for the face, and the reflection of the fingers of the other in the silver of the teapot seems surreally artful.
These arduous passages of tumbling foam and exploding spray are at once representations of natural phenomena and examples of painterly artifice; thing and idea are merged in the synthesis of artistic representation. ” It is not an aesthetic misstep to make the viewer aware of the paint and the painter’s hand; such an empathetic awareness lies at the heart of aesthetic appreciation. Beginning as a rather dry, scratchy, anecdotal recorder of military and social life, serving in magazines an illustrative purpose that within a few more decades would be taken over by the novel art of photography and the technology of photoengraving, Homer ended as the wettest of artists, not only our supreme watercolorist but an inventor, on this continent, of Impressionism and action painting in oils.
High Cliff, Coast of Maine titles a beautifully radical work of 1894 in which the rocks are broken into fragments of color as if by the weariless pummelling of the waves; frustrated by the painting’s failure to find a buyer for nine years, Homer, as if defiantly, signed it twice. But Northeaster, done the next year, is perhaps his signature canvas, unforgettable in the sense it gives us of the ocean’s webbed, heaving weight. The following year’s Maine Coast is similar but freer, almost carefree in the manner of its painting, in brush scribbles and palette-knife slatherings of raw white.
Always Looking: Essays on Art by John Updike