Welcome to my rebuilt website (still with some rebuilding to do). In this blog section I'll be re-posting some short essays previously included in my research section, plus some new, polemical arguments about classical art and architecture. On that topic I will be positioning my work as both in sympathy with, and in opposition to, much of what constitutes “classical” art today. Sympathy because, in a world still dominated by abstraction and incoherent or banal conceptualism, any recovery of figuration, narrative, and beauty is all to the good. Opposition because, instead, what is being reborn of the older way of making art is largely influenced by the work of the nineteenth century, and to me this is a mistaken direction, since it is simply repeating the conditions that led to Modernism a century ago. Instead, I am an advocate for the true Old Master tradition: classical narrative, idealization, rhetoric, art integrated in an architectural context, drawing as a means to an end, plein air actually done on site in a two-hour window of time, etc. The nineteenth-century academic tradition is not just a pale reflection of that older way of understanding art, it is a different approach. Realism and classicism are, inherently, in opposition (just ask Courbet). Multiple hour (or even multiple day) model poses are esoteric. Sight-size is not a technique much practiced before the mid-nineteenth century. Artists didn’t always, or even mostly, work from the model in composing narrative paintings; does anyone really think Baciccio or Tiepolo were hoisting models on pulleys to draw them from below for their ceiling frescoes? Classical artists before the nineteenth century drew from life, and even more from exemplary works of art, to train their memories, so they could invent independentlyof the model. This is the lively, vigorous, inventive, adventurous classical tradition that I have invested almost forty years in recovering. I hope you’ll enjoy my fruits of that study.
Pietro da Cortona, Venus and Aeneas