online: 18 september 2015
modified: 18 september 2015

18 september 2015 portrait and presence

national gallery and national portrait gallery (London)

...while visiting these galleries i am remembering slight but profound differences between portraits of the italian renaissance and those of the 20th or 21st century...

...the renaissance portraits ('eg of 'a man' or of 'a woman') strongly resemble the actual faces, hands, clothing etc of we who are looking at or guarding the paintings... which paintings in some way can easily be perceived asif they are actual people or presences... (although we know they are not flesh and clothing but paint)

...whereas i remember the contemporary pictures in the portrait gallery not as paintings of people but as paintings of photographs... (photographs unconsciously remembered by the painters?)

two days later:

...those three paragraphs were difficult to write... i am still rewriting them... as these thoughts and words seem to be becoming another reality... (as i change and adjust them to form statements i can understand and feel happy with)... which i recall a statement that may clarify this:

the skill of writing is to provide a context in which other people can think

Edwin Schlossberg, 'For My Father', in About Bateson: essays on Gregory Bateson, edited by John Brockman, Dutton,New York 1977), p157. which i wonder if conscious realism has become outdated (now that thoughts about thoughts have become an informative and acceptable part of communication...)

hours later:
see outcome of these thoughts in the next entry:
18 september 2015


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