Sunday, July 01, 2007

Harlequins in Art

Antonio Donghi
Antonio Donghi
Andre Derain
Paul Cezanne
Pablo Picasso
Picasso did it countless times. Antonio Donghi did it more than once. Derain did it and even Cezanne did it. What did they all do? They all painted the
Picasso painted numerous circus families and harlequins in his early periods (those are my favorite) before he became a self-confessed "charlatan".
Here is a quote from Picasso about what happened to him after Cubism:
"From the moment that art ceases to be food that feeds the best minds, the artist can use his talents to perform all the tricks of the intellectual charlatan. Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation and exaltation from art. The 'refined,' the rich, the professional 'do-nothings', the distillers of quintessence desire only the peculiar, the sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art. I myself, since the advent of Cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my mind. The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated, and very rapidly. For a painter, celebrity means sales and consequent affluence. Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word: Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya were great painters. I am only a public clown - a mountebank. I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession." - Pablo Picasso, Space and Motion

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