How eye disorders may have influenced the work of famous painters

Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night, Oil on canvas 73 × 92 cm, 28¾ × 36¼ in. Via Wikimedia Commons (cropped) by ANDREW ANDERSON Vision is an important tool when creating a painted artwork. Vision is used to survey a scene, guide the artist’s movements over the canvas and provide feedback on the colour and form of the work. However, it’s possible for disease and disorders to alter an artist’s visual perception. There is a long history of scientists and clinicians arguing particular artistswere affected by vision disorders, based on signs in their works. Some argued the leaders of the Impressionist movement were short-sighted, for instance, and that … Continue reading How eye disorders may have influenced the work of famous painters

Frankenstein’ Author Mary Shelley on Creativity

Mary Shelley. Art from Literary Witches — an illustrated celebration of trailblazing women writers who have enchanted and transformed the world. “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Creativity involves not only years of conscious preparation and training but unconscious preparation as well,” Oliver Sacks wrote in outlining the three essential elements of creativity, adding: “This incubation period is essential to allow the subconscious assimilation and incorporation of one’s influences and sources, to reorganize and synthesize them into something of one’s own.” The richer one’s reservoir of these influences and sources, the … Continue reading Frankenstein’ Author Mary Shelley on Creativity

Rilke on the Lonely Patience of Creative Work

1902 portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke by Helmuth Westhoff, Rilke’s brother-in-law “Works of art are of an infinite loneliness and with nothing so little to be reached as with criticism. Only love can grasp and hold and be just toward them.” BY MARIA POPOVA “The most regretful people on earth,” the poet Mary Oliver wrote in contemplating the artist’s task and the central commitment of the creative life, “are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” That is what Rainer Maria Rilke (December 4, 1875–December 29, 1926), … Continue reading Rilke on the Lonely Patience of Creative Work

What are we?

Detail from Paul Gauguin’s Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? (1897). Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Wikipedia On Paul Gauguin, authenticity and the midlife crisis: how the philosopher Bernard Williams dramatised moral luck by Daniel Callcut is a freelance writer and philosopher. He is the editor of Reading Bernard Williams (2009). He lives in Stamford, United Kingdom. Edited by Nigel Warburton ‘If there’s one theme in all my work it’s about authenticity and self-expression,’ said the philosopher Bernard Williams in an interview with The Guardian in 2002. Authenticity was already an influential cultural ideal during Williams’s lifetime (he was born in 1929 and … Continue reading What are we?

How to Exercise Like a Poet: The Walt Whitman Workout

Walt Whitman (Library of Congress) Tree-wrestling for resistance training, vigorous recitation for cardio. BY MARIA POPOVA The question of whether we are minds in bodies or bodies with minds has animated philosophers for millennia. But whatever our cerebral orientation to the question, we must each answer it for ourselves — a kind of private embodied illumination. My own accidental answer arrived long ago, when I began noticing that my morning workout provided the most fertile hours for reading and thinking. Every single morning for more than fifteen years, I have journeyed to the gym with a book, filling margins with motion-mangled notes … Continue reading How to Exercise Like a Poet: The Walt Whitman Workout

What Is Art Photography?

  Waterfalls #6230, 2018. © Michael Koerner / Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago What Is Art Photography? Catherine Edelman Offers Her Opinion Debuting with Nan Goldin in 1987, Catherine Edelman Gallery has been a revered player in the art world for 30 years. Here, a wide-ranging interview with the gallery’s owner and founder. Interview by Coralie Kraft CATHERINE EDELMAN Debuting with the Ballad of Sexual Dependency by Nan Goldin in 1987, Catherine Edelman Gallery has been a leader in the fine art world for more than thirty years. Representing artists like Bruce Davidson, Michael Kenna, Joel-Peter Witkin, Jess T. Dugan … Continue reading What Is Art Photography?

Egon Schiele on What It Means to Be an Artist and Why Visionaries Always Come from the Minority

Egon Schiele: Self Portrait with Physalis, 1912 “Envy those who see beauty in everything in the world.” BY MARIA POPOVA To be an artist is to have a particular orientation to the world — the interior world and the exterior world — the exact composition of which is somewhat like temperature, impossible to deconstruct into individual phenomenological components without ceasing to be itself. Perhaps this is why the question of what it means to be an artist has been the subject of myriad theories, even the most insightful of which are complementary to one another but inherently incomplete. For James Baldwin, … Continue reading Egon Schiele on What It Means to Be an Artist and Why Visionaries Always Come from the Minority