Bravo painting

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Bravo painting

From John Hagan

Published before 2005


Regarding the critique of the painting El Velo by Claudio Bravo, oil on canvas, 19 x 12 1/4", 1987 .... and a recent reminder of a previous discussion in a post by Fred Ross I should like to approach this in a slightly different manner than the usual.

By way of explanation let me say that if we lived in a one dimensional world (a line being the locus of the shortest distance between two points etc) and a ball passed though our world all we might experience would be the opening and closing of a gap in the line.

Living in a two dimensional world would be akin to existing on a sheet of paper (a plane surface) and should a ball pass through our universe there we might experience a hole appearing and disappearing in our world. Please think on this visually for a moment by limiting your perception.

In the third dimension we will perceive our common spatial relationship as if in the live we usually live now. The ball will have a mass, and, in passing though, we may observe its length, breadth and width.

A painter is often able to represent the third dimensional world on a two dimensional plane though a person existing in the two dimensions would be unable to appreciate the experience. The best paintings are able to seamlessly represent the three dimensional world on a two dimensional surface with conviction and skill.

Now for some visual gymnastics think on the fourth dimension. ... to me certain paintings appear to transcend the third dimension and, as if the fourth dimension were to be a personal human time (objective or, real or illusion it matters little) they appear as timeless apostrophes to our existence. For me they are easily recognised. They have an extra dimension that is as real as the length of a line.

Giorgione - The Tempest has such a dimension whereas Picasso's Guernica does not. Watteau - The clown Pierot has it - while none of Rothko's fuzzy rectangles exist beyond the second dimension. Landscapes are not excluded, and Turner - The fighting Temairaire, for me anyway, has that fourth dimension. Caution - Not all the works by the artists mentioned achieve similar ratings and, or course there are many others! I find it quite easy to decide which works fall into the categories and I am happy to say the painting El Velo by Claudio Bravo seems to live a life beyond itself.

That technically it is constructed with an extraordinary limited palette, has a masterly rendering of different textures and fine a fine underlying pattern based unusually, for a feminine subject, on triangles, and is intimate in a similar manner to Vermeer's Girl with the pearl earing are all qualities that are obvious from the scan. Without seeing the paint rendering 'in the flesh' so to speak I hold myself unable to comment on the more 'painterly aspects'.

Considering the above you might see why I was somewhat taken aback by the suggestion that all such paintings ceased to be made about the time of the demise of the Academy painters (maybe I misunderstood you here Raymond?). I might also add, after viewing some of the scans of artists who contribute to Goodart, I also consider certain pieces I have seen to 'have about them the toutch of the fourth dimension'. We have not lost the skill nor do we lack the vision ....

John
PS; I apologise if this is a little abrupt and unedited as a dreaded 'function' awaits my attendance!