July 01, 2004
Strange painting

This posting tells of the serendipitous path I followed to this, which looks like a really excellent collection of paintings. What all the pictures seem to have in common is that they are all really well reproduced. You don't, I believe, get everything, but what you do get is very, very good. None of those poky little postage stamp blurs you find with googling for images. Ideal if you want a virtual stroll around a fine virtual art gallery, but I should guess (but what do I know?) maybe not as good for finding a particular painting.

I browsed my way to this really strange picture:

harrich1.jpg

To me, it looks not so much like a real group of people as a collection of cut-outs, just jammed together. A collage, in fact. It makes me think of that book and TV show that David Hockney did a few years ago, arguing that they knew a hell of a lot more about photography in centuries past than is generally assumed. Only the final step was painted. Everything up to that point was done by projecting a photo-like image onto the painted surface, as happens inside our cameras.

The reason I say that of this painting is that each individual figure is brilliantly executed, but the fitting of them together looks like a muddle, to me, if only because they throw no shadows upon one another. The one on the top right looks especially cut out and stuck on, don't you think? What we're looking at here is early seventeenth century Photoshopping.

But (reprise) what do I know? If I'm wrong, feel free to instruct me. When I say how old paintings look to me, my ego is not on the line. Comment at will.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:54 AM
Category: Painting