Archive for June 6th, 2011

As in Austin’s drawing (see previous post), this drawing by Linné goes for huge.  But with a crucial difference.  Austin’s pots look monumental, Linné’s are just plain big.  Austin gives us gravitas, Linné gives us humor.  What’s so funny here?  I’m not saying it’s a knee-slapping kind of funny, but I do think the high horizon lends wit to the thing.

Mind you, he didn’t see a horizon, he saw a little table with a rumpled cloth and some pots.  He invented the horizon.  Now, the placement of the horizon in a drawing or painting gives us a crucial bit of information:  it gives us the eye level of the observer.  When you’re standing at the beach looking out at the water, the horizon will be as high as you, meaning your eyes; when you lie down on your towel, the volume of the water will appear to have shrunken down to a sliver because your eyes are now very low.

I’m reminded of the beach because Linné has invented not just any horizon line but the horizon of some ocean, “the wine-dark sea.”  You know where you are in this drawing:  you’re strolling on a beach and ahead of you is this enormous pile of crockery.  How enormous?  Since Linné, the artist “looking at this scene,” is about six feet tall, that pot leaning on the right is about six feet in diameter.  The whole pile is about eleven feet high.  It’s an intelligent and funny image–in a sneaky sort of way.  It’s witty.

This is the fifth drawing from that still life of pots.  In the next post, I’ll talk about what instruction I gave to the class as I was setting up the exercise.

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