Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stalin Would Kill Me

image: David Nolan Gallery

Yesterday morning I tunnelled to the National Gallery of Art to see some Dutch cityscapes instead of going to the studio. Peter Saul, if he knew who I was, would sick one of his Stalin's on me to be sure.

I had also forgotten how wacky Golden Age Dutch painting is. Those Dutch painters, man... you have to watch them closely. They are straight trying to f&%k with you sometimes with their hallucinatory spatial games. Not only are there wild scale shifts, there are these perspectival over-calculations. Take a look at Van Der Heyden's Town Hall, lent from the Uffizi.
Notice the ellipse and how the architecture recedes. Not unlike some Chardin plums I know. At any rate the Town Hall appears "correctly" in an earlier version in the Louvre. My guess is that he 'looked at' the Louvre one and 'calculated' the Uffizi one.

There were two DeHooch's that merely confirm him as an iconoclast of Dutch painting. He was really on another plane altogether.

The "Most Perplexing/Interesting Award" goes to Jan Micker's Bird's Eye View of Amsterdam. It is kind of like a map (think Jacopo di Barbari's Venice but a fully formed oil painting) with scale shifts and upturned planes and a bunch of Dutch sillyness that I have already mentioned. I wish that I had seen this sooner. All of these scenes with boats and water would have really helped with the "cowboy assassin" painting.

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