Sunday, December 18, 2016

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is large, interesting, and fronted by an extremely imposing set of steps and vista.

I quite enjoyed one of Picasso's paintings entitled "Female Nude", which absent the title I might have guessed was "collection of brown and off-brown rectangles in a stack". This sort of extreme distortion of a representation is very appealing; partly for the puzzle (can you find the female nude in there?) and partly for the aesthetic joy of stacked rectangles.

Frits Thaulow's "Water Mill" is incredible:
... as in, I do not credit my eyes. The painting is playing some incredible brain-perception trick, in that the water reflection looks photoreal in the center, yet just off-center it is clearly impressionist, with fine details merely suggested by broad brushstrokes. And the water mill building itself at the top of the painting is a low-polygon-count-style backdrop, reminiscent of a video game level. (I'm thinking of Braid in particular, but maybe Braid was just done in a style reminiscent of Thaulow's "Water Mill"?) By brain reads the whole thing as a photograph, but when I closely examined any detail (in person these are much more easily perceived than in this photo of the painting), I could clearly see that this was the result of paint applied to canvas. Mystifying. Cool.

This is also one of the unusual paintings of water in which the water is not predominantly blue, but still looks obviously like water.

This post's theme word is mazarine (adj), "a deep, rich shade of blue." The churning bubbles lightened the mazarine of the depths into a foamy whiteness in the shallows around the mill.

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