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October 11, 2002


Friedrich --

A couple of terrific, oh-so-true pieces about Poussin: Karen Wilkin in The New Criterion, here, and Robert Hughes in Time, here.

Sample passage from Wilkin:

There’s a wonderful loosening of contour— without any weakening of form—in Poussin’s drawings, an invigorating openness quite unlike the sculptural, closed delineation of his paintings, that is especially appealing to twentieth-century eyes. Even more accessible to modern taste are the brushy drawings where tone all but drowns line and only a few, telling islands of untouched paper remain to suggest form and mass.

Sample passage from Hughes:

"Questo giovane ha una furia del diavolo," remarked Marino, introducing him to one Roman patron - This young man has the fury of a devil. Furia didn't simply mean rage; it suggested a state of inspiration, of contact with primeval forces that lie below the surface of culture...Poussin wanted to reconstitute antiquity in his paintings by grasping its root: energy. Always in his best work there are the signs of overflowing vitality, constrained by form's superego, the mode - tragic, idyllic, epic, sacred.

I'm not crazy in seeing technical similarities between Poussin and Frank Miller, am I? The limited number of values, the relative absence of line and the almost-total dependence on tone and shadow to delineate mass and form, the way the areas of light and dark are so often, as Wilkin points out, open ....

Of course, their work couldn't be more different in terms of feel.



posted by Michael at October 11, 2002


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