Veritas e fini

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Veritas e fini

From Greg Scheckler

Published before 2005


Patdzon wrote:
This is what I don't understand. As a young student studying the arts, I believe that truthful representation is one of the elements that make up good art but what is the difference between a painting of a knight slaying a dragon and one of farmers doing their daily work? Where is the truth in the former assuming that both were done with masterful technique? I'm not saying that there's no truth in imaginative paintings, I just can't see it. Is there?

Normally in the atelier and academy methods for learning how to draw and paint, the attempt to create very accurate representations of what you see is the best way to learn line, value, form, color and preliminary composition, proportion and measuring. In making very accurate representations that are truthful to what you see, you are of course selecting a variety of viewpoints and figuring out what painting and drawing media can do, as well as what are their limitations.

The truthfulness of work from the imagination, I think, is more about the human condition and an implied worldview -- we all dream, fantasize, and even delude ourselves sometimes. Art that has themes rooted in folklore, legend and myth often contain imagery that speaks more to the human capacity for imagination than to a resolutely precise representation of what things look like.

Long ago art educators realized, however, that if one was able to represent what things looked like, that then one could represent any image from the imagination in convincing and believable ways even when the subject matter is completely fantastical. (And hence the reason why working from observation is so important as a set of tools and techniques for the artist.)

Greg Scheckler