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The Subject of Art: What A Painting Is All About

Updated on May 31, 2020
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Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.

Martino Pietropoli
Martino Pietropoli | Source

The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”

— Jerzy Kosinski

A Picture is Worth...

As an artist one of my favorite things to do is to gaze at the paintings of other artists. As I look at a painting I often wonder two things. The first is what the artist was thinking or in some cases not thinking when they painted each painting.

The second has mostly to do with portraits or paintings with people In them. When I look at these paintings I often wonder what the person or people were thinking while sitting there as the artist was painting.

I know art is subjective, you draw or paint how you envision the pieve in your mind. Here are some of my favorite painting and what I take away from each painting.

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci's classic painting but did you ever wonder what she was thinking while she was sitting there smiling. Here is my interpretation. I envision a mad wife who is listening to her husband try to explain away why he did something stupid like feed the children chocolate cake for breakfast. The smile? Well she is just waiting to pounce on her husband

Whistler's Mother

Sorry Mr's Whistler but maybe you son should have taken a lesson from DaVinci and picked a better pose. I know if I had painted my mother like this I would have heard about it until her passing. In fact I can hear my mother now,”You didn't get my good side. Now go to your room until you get around to repainting my picture,”.

American Gothic

I don‘t even know where to begin with this one. This couple makes Whistler's mother look like the life of the party. The dour look on their faces is not so inviting. You have to wonder what they were thinking or the artist thinking when he posed them. And what is up with the pitchfork. Can you say Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Blue Boy

Now here is a kid who is truly not happy about getting his portrait painted. Maybe it is the outfit his mother dressed him in. Or it could be he was thinking ahead to when he brought his best girl home and she gazes on the painting. Can you say horrified. Hey it could have been worse you should have seen the plaid on plaid outfit my mother put me in one time.

Pablo Picasso - Seated Woman (Marie-Therese)

While I’m a big fan of Pablo Picasso and his cubism and blue period paintings there is one question that comes up in my mind when I see them. What did his models think about the finished painting.

One example is his Seated Woman portrait. I don’t who MarieTherese was but I would love to have been there when Picasso unveiled the work to his audience. The look on her face would have been a tell all. Did she stand there and stammer, storm out of the room? I don’t know. Maybe she was ok with the outcome.

Dog's Playing Poker

If you didn't know there is a whole series of Dogs Playing Poker paintings The only reason I included this painting was because it seemed to me that the dogs were having a lot more fun then all the people in the first four paintings.

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

— Andy Warhol

Some Final Thoughts

Of course there are other paintings I have come across which are hard for me to figure out. The popularity of the Velvet Elvis still puzzles me. I love art and I always will no matter how strange it sometimes appears.

That is why I know I will still keep going to art shows and galleries, gaze up at the paintings and say to myself I just don't get it. I will leave you with this painting. I also hope I left you more enriched about art then before you read my Hub.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Timothy Whitt


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      That hub is informative.

    • whittwrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Timothy Whitt 

      9 years ago from New Jersey

      Drawing is not as hard as it seems. You've got to learn to draw what you see not what your think you see

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      9 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Voted across the top except useful and funny.

      Mona Lisa I think in her thoughts she's about to pounced on the artist.

      The Monkeys- The front to me is saying I'll show you what I've got.

      It's good to know your an artist. Because I can't even draw a straight line, Joyce.

    • whittwrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Timothy Whitt 

      9 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks, I love art but I've always wondered why they always painted portraits so dour looking

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      9 years ago from the beautiful south

      Great art and a fun read. ^


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