14 February 2021

Joseph Brodsky and the light from within in Arezzo, Siena and Venice


I am cleaning up my studio and throwing things away to make room for new work to come in my head. I came across this curious study done maybe around 1975 at the Chateau.

I do remember that it was done completely out of my imagination at the time. During these years I was intently looking at the drawings of MichelAngelo and frescoes of Piero della Francesco when I made these things, and sadly though I made a number of them, only a few survived. But it was an allusive memory which created these early portraits. Where did they come from?

Yes, looking at it today reveals its devotion to a certain delicacy due to my fascination with the watercolours of Cézanne at that time, because I was then living in Cézanne's world around the Le Châteaunoir.

For a long time I thought it too clumsy and confused in its drawing, that the pale colours made no sense.

But in spite of that I never threw it away. It had in fact, survived many, many periodic culls in various studios over the  years. I am glad it survived. 

Today, what I appreciate in it, is its humanity. Despite its poorly conceived face I find a light coming from within, and maybe that is what drew me to Piero della Francesco in the first place.  

When I was small we lived in a very large house with a hundred bathrooms. My father had his own, and he decorated it with portraits by Piero della Francesco using oil paints. A few that I remember from the bathroom walls:

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