Friday, July 06, 2007

It Doesn't Have to Be Explained

Painting by Balthus
Great painting doesn't have to be explained. It doesn't need a political tagline to make you understand the meaning of it. You won't squint at it and scratch your head, you'll just soak it in, because you can't take your eyes off it. It will make you feel something. And no one has to tell you what to feel. It's a personal experience. And you will come back and look again. It will resonate. Balthus doesn't need to explain his hard work. You don't have to ask why?... or what is it? He didn't just slap it together and try to fool somebody into thinking it was something more than it is. He spent months and years on his paintings. Slowly layering and building them up. Each one is provocative and powerful. Each stands on it's own. Each has an organized design of angles, color and form. It's not just about the idea or a superficial style. It's like a great book. Or a great film. He didn't talk about it. He just did it. And gave it to the world. No matter how long it took to paint it and get it right. This painting called "Therese Revant" (1938) is a masterpiece. And I'm sure he struggled with it until he was satisfied.

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