Saturday, May 7, 2016

Night Fishing at Antibes

Pablo Picasso, "Night Fishing at Antibes" (1939)


FreeThinke said...

As usual, the painting, itself, tells us a great deal more than the tendentious, pretentious, frankly sterile "academicized" analytical commentary that purports to "explain" it to us.

I'm glad the narrator ADMITS the he has "read" these turgid projections "into" the work, and then tell us we'd be better off figuring it out for ourselves –– a conclusion I drew immediately after he'd uttered his first sentence.

I simply LIKE the work. I don't need to discover WHY I like the work. Even less do I need someone to tell me HOW and WHY I OUGHT to like the work.

It's clever, colorful, charming, intriguing, and maybe-not-so-deceptively child-like. For those reasons alone it stands on its own with no need whatsoever for historical context.

It is for this reason that Art, Music, Theater and Literary Criticism often seem like self parody.

As Albert Schweitzer sagely observed, "Critics are those who have FAILED in Music and Art."

convergentsum said...

"I don't need to discover WHY I like the work."

Fair enough, but surely there's nothing wrong with that question, if that's the sort of thing we enjoy why shouldn't we discuss or read each others' reactions?

"Critics are those who have failed in Music and Art" has been proffered by many over the years, I think William Shenstone said it best, perhaps even first. He put it thus: "A poet that fails in writing becomes often a morose critic; the weak and insipid white wine makes at length excellent vinegar." I like it because a) vinegar is not useless, and b) he restricts his gentle insult to specifically the "morose" critics -- I expect he was aware that many quite successful artists have at some point in their careers, been critics.

-FJ said...

Being able to explain "why" you like or dislike a work is the subject of Plato's "Ion". What makes a great writer (Homer) or rhapsode (Ion). These can be interesting and informative questions.

-FJ said...

The Nerdwriter's "method" for analyzing the painting are, to me, indicative of the presence of a skill. Whether you agree that his method is "skillful" or not, is another question.

ps - And with the "Death of the Author", one must now question whether including knowledge of Picasso in performing the analyses is valid... or whether the "author" really is "dead". ;)

-FJ said...

You would seem to be in agreement with Barthes, FT. The "method" is bunk! ;)

-FJ said...

I, on the other hand, am an adherent of "psychohistory". MY author reveals "everything" (his Dasein) about his "World". ;)

-FJ said...

Some favor Parmenides, others Heraclitus (Nietzsche)... Apollo over Dionyos... others, both.

Plato, "Cratylus"

SOCRATES: Nor can we reasonably say, Cratylus, that there is knowledge
at all, if everything is in a state of transition and there is nothing
abiding; for knowledge too cannot continue to be knowledge unless
continuing always to abide and exist. But if the very nature of
knowledge changes, at the time when the change occurs there will be no
knowledge; and if the transition is always going on, there will always
be no knowledge, and, according to this view, there will be no one to
know and nothing to be known: but if that which knows and that which is
known exists ever, and the beautiful and the good and every other thing
also exist, then I do not think that they can resemble a process or
flux, as we were just now supposing. Whether there is this eternal
nature in things, or whether the truth is what Heracleitus and his
followers and many others say, is a question hard to determine; and no
man of sense will like to put himself or the education of his mind in
the power of names: neither will he so far trust names or the givers
of names as to be confident in any knowledge which condemns himself and
other existences to an unhealthy state of unreality; he will not believe
that all things leak like a pot, or imagine that the world is a man who
has a running at the nose. This may be true, Cratylus, but is also very
likely to be untrue; and therefore I would not have you be too easily
persuaded of it. Reflect well and like a man, and do not easily accept
such a doctrine; for you are young and of an age to learn. And when you
have found the truth, come and tell me.

CRATYLUS: I will do as you say, though I can assure you, Socrates, that
I have been considering the matter already, and the result of a great
deal of trouble and consideration is that I incline to Heracleitus.

SOCRATES: Then, another day, my friend, when you come back, you shall
give me a lesson; but at present, go into the country, as you are
intending, and Hermogenes shall set you on your way.

CRATYLUS: Very good, Socrates; I hope, however, that you will continue
to think about these things yourself.

-FJ said...

...Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

- Sylvia Plath, "Mirror"

-FJ said...

One day, sweet wine might yet ferment from this stale vinegar. :)

-FJ said...

"Hermione was the only one who had managed to turn vinegar into wine; her glass flask was full of deep crimson liquid." - JK Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

beamish said...

Pierre Brassau could paint circles around Picasso.

-FJ said...

His art drives me bananas.

FreeThinke said...

I have loved this painting since the first time I ever saw it as a child.

It 's very lively and a great source of stimulation to the imagination.

Does it really neeed to be more than that?

FreeThinke said...

The juxtaposition of several bright, highly attractive colors against the frankly black background "make" the piece. The figures seem all-but incidental. It is the COLOR SCHEME that attracts us.

I would love to see Night Fishing at Antibes reproduced in STAINED GLASS. What a stunning focal point for one of these "modern" apartments devoid of architectural features it would be!

In the absence of high ceilings, fenestration with gracious Old World character, decorative moldings, raised paneling, finely crafted built-in cabinetry, and an elegantly proportioned, hand-carved mantelpiece surrounding a working fireplace only striking ART of high quality could save the place from looking like a waiting room in a hospital laboratory.

By the way distinguished furniture design, beautiful hand-woven carpets, and charming, well-coordinated accessories all qualify as "ART," but all would have to be subservient to a bold, brilliant piece such as this Picasso.

-FJ said...

1) First impressions...

a) Measure, Symmetry, truth (Plato, "Philebus")