Download Always Looking: Essays on Art by John Updike PDF

By John Updike

ISBN-10: 0307957306

ISBN-13: 9780307957306

In this posthumous selection of John Updike’s paintings writings, a spouse quantity to the acclaimed Just taking a look (1989) and Still Looking (2005), readers are back handled to “remarkably dependent essays” (Newsday) during which “the mental matters of the novelist force the attention from paintings to paintings till a deep figuring out of the paintings emerges” (The ny occasions ebook Review).

regularly having a look opens with “The readability of Things,” the Jefferson Lecture within the Humanities for 2008. right here, in having a look heavily at person works through Copley, Homer, Eakins, Norman Rockwell, and others, the writer teases out what's generally “American” in American artwork. This speak is by means of fourteen essays, so much of them written for The long island overview of Books, on definite highlights in Western paintings of the final 200 years: the enduring pictures of Gilbert Stuart and the chic 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 huge Pop of Oldenburg and Lichtenstein. The booklet ends with a attention of modern works through a dwelling American grasp, the steely sculptural environments of Richard Serra.

John Updike used to be a gallery-goer of genius. Always Looking is, like every little thing else he wrote, a call for participation to appear, to see, to recognize the visible international in the course of the eyes of a connoisseur.

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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. In admiring such pictures, and in gazing at the foaming left half of Homer’s masterly tableau Undertow, painted ten years before Maine Coast, we cannot but be conscious of the paint itself, of thick white dabbled and stabbed, swerved and smeared into place in imitation of the water’s tumultuous action; we simultaneously witness both the ocean in action and the painter at work.

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.

The medium of watercolor lightens and loosens his style quite marvellously; in Apple Picking, of 1878, opaque gouache strengthens the sun on the bonnets and skirts, while sunlight presses in yellow dabs, the same size as the red apples, through the lacy screen of trees. Red plays about the girls’ shoulders and their all-but-hidden faces; they are caught in a magic moment instantly freighted with nostalgia. The style, which in some of Homer’s watercolors can be as dry as the pencil underdrawing, is here fluid and wet.

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