Power of Art versus the Power of Cruelty Have just watched Simon Schama's Power of Art, and I really like this series! A wealth of material highlighted with representative examples that give out the artist as human being, struggling against odds, including those inside him. The commentaries and especially the interview I see as a very important part of the series, not just bonus material. All of it is. To learn that so many of these artists had very bad traits in their character, 3 of them were murderers, was revealing. David's Marat painting got an entirely new significance for me now: Art as falsification of Truth. Picasso's Guernica, and that artist's "long and sad anticlimactic career". Van Gogh's sanity and intensity was overwhelming to watch. Rembrandt's darkest hour when he had to cut his masterpiece. Turner's challenging depiction of the horrors of slavery. How good to pinpoint these artworks, one wonders why they could have been ignored for so long... Rothko's refusal to play up to Capitalism is also very moving. This series moved me deeply, probably because I'm an artist myself. And I find many of the approaches and views very familiar, because they are already part of my own thinking: "the power of Cruelty (in Guernica), "not reverential, not embalming"; "the drama of the creative moment", "Art as suspense" are weighed with meaning and relevance. It is in the creative moment that I feel most completely a human being, it is (in the best cases) a moment of trance, almost ecstasy, I have experienced it like that, and so have probably all artists, I just speak for myself. I like the Latin phrase ESSE NON VIDERI, to be, not appear. But I have to admit, if we move it from the ordinary meaning into the realms of art, it almost mean the opposite. Art as reality or Art as Comment on reality? Anyway, thanks to BBC and the team for putting these series on the market, and especially thanks to Simon Schama, a heartfelt thanks for this gift!
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