Monday, July 14, 2008

mirrors, windows and walls

I like Spanish painting, but don't love it. Italian Renaissance painting, ancient Egyptian wall painting or a Degas drawing is more my style. But there is no denying that Velasquez's Las Meninas is probably one of the greatest works of art. Ever. And when I was in art school, Michel Foucault's analysis of this masterpiece in The Order of Things (Les Mots et les choses) really made me think about Painting with a capital P and whether I wanted to make paintings that work as mirrors, windows or walls (Van Dyck, Matisse or Marden, for example.) Foucault was hardly alone in trying to work out all the ins and outs of Las Meninas. There are plenty of theories. For me, the fact that I can still go back to Las Meninas after all these years and want to look longer, deeper, is what makes this painting, and art, so essential.


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