While looking through the photos of my recent holiday in Spain, I was reminded of hours spent in Madrid's museums and galleries. A whole afternoon at the Prado only allows for only a passing glimpse at the remarkable collection, something like leafing through an art history textbook. But while wandering through the galleries, some paintings will stop you in your tracks, like Goya's The Third of May, 1808. In a textbook it will be page-size at the most and possibly only in black and white. You see the elements of the image, such as form or tonality, and the subject matter points to the meaning.
What the artist actually intended is another matter, and is a function of the context of his time, fascinating, but limited by our knowledge of history. And anyway, once a work of art becomes public, it can have as many interpretations as there are viewers. Meaning becomes diluted, or broken into facets, and the artist's meaning is one of many. in a world of relativity, importance or truth becomes, well, relative, and subject to manipulation. Art, by being inherently subjective, is a cause and an antidote to this situation and can bring focus to important themes. And with subjects such as war, it allows us an experience about as close as we want to get to the real thing. What do we believe? That which moves us.
My understanding of The Third of May was abstract until I came face to face with the properly lit canvas, 9 x 11 feet in size, shocking in it's detail and presence. Meaning becomes experience and you imagine a closer understanding of the message in the image. There is no glory of war here.
Another similar example is Picasso's Guernica at the Museo Reina Sofia. Research will tell us about the painting, but is only a map to the thing as it is. Here the message is important, and maybe the canvas really does need to be 11 x 25 feet to get the idea across.
It’s hard to believe that a new year is upon us already, but what a year… Read more
I’ve been telling my friends how amazing the Yukon is for years but hardly anyone comes… Read more
Lucky me! Although I didn't win big at the slots, I was able to escape the… Read more
Well it is that time of year again. Time for Yukoners to break out of their… Read more
Did you read this happy Monday morning news story? A couple from Dawson City is convinced… Read more