When looking at a painting, a statue or a sculpture or perhaps a tapestry, what do you think? How do you view the work? Where do you stand? Or Sit? Does your position affect how you receive the work? How many perspectives are there to a creative piece?
I’m sure you’re wondering where all of this is heading. I'm not suggesting you start lying all over the floors of the world’s great galleries. Actually why not? But what I’m really saying is that when you look at a work of art you will gain more from the viewing if you appreciate the multiple layers that constitute the image. You will gain more if you think about the different perspectives embedded in, for example, a painting. Though this is also true of a sculpture, statue, tapestry. Consider what you see from your perspective as the viewer. For example, if there was room and The Vatican would allow it, you would gain a great deal more from lying on the floor to gaze at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
(Credit: Khan Academy)
Suk and Tamargo showed that the anatomical details in God's neck in Separation of Light from Darkness are unlike those of other necks painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel or of other necks painted by Michelangelo's contemporaries, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael). (Wikipedia)
Suk and Tamargo suggested that Michelangelo concealed a sophisticated image of the undersurface of the brainstem in God's neck and that by following Michelangelo's lines in God's neck, one can outline an anatomically correct image of the brainstem, cerebellum, temporal lobes, and optic chiasm. (Wikipedia)
Why would Michelangelo do this? What was his perspective on the painting he was commissioned to produce? A growing body of theorists believe it was the artist’s attempt at a clandestine attack on the church’s contempt for science at the time.
Follow this link if you would like to read more about the hidden perspective in the Sistine Chapel
Wikipedia also has an excellent article on the same topic
We were introduced to the idea of multiple perspectives in Robert Bissell’s painting Rushing Mist where the viewer has an extra perspective to that seen by the bears at the bottom of the waterfall. The viewer can see above the waterfall and that extra knowledge puts the viewer in a position of advantage. What does this do to your feelings about the image? What do you feel? Do you want to tell the bears about the scene above them? Do you feel sorry that they can’t seen what you can see? Do you feel superior because you can see more?
In this picture (featured above) you will see a large group of people staring into a lake on the right. This might seem perfectly mundane though most viewers would wonder what is going on within the crowd. A genuine local suicide actually inspired the painting, and Lowry's matchstick men are all gathered to look at a waterlogged corpse. The remaining people in the painting go about their daily routines oblivious of the drama unfolding nearby.
In many of Lowry’s paintings people go about their daily lives as nearby, fist fights, people being evicted from their homes, sufferings of all kinds are occurring. The pain, the suffering is so much part of their lives it has to be ignored for survival to be achieved.
The Hero Image today is my painting Windows on a Time:Two. This painting shows two time periods. Dominant is the ruined wall of an old building, decaying from years of standing, standing in the present. In the background I have painted the people and their town as it might have existed 100 years or more back in time. The people are going about their daily activities largely oblivious to the fact that they and the buildings are decaying. On each side however I have a man staring into the ruins of the building, implying that they are curious about the building in front of them and are aware of a different perspective. Perhaps they can see into the future.
Tomorrow I will show you some hidden perspectives in a painting by Vermeer. Also the works of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo will serve as an example that it is unwise to upset an artist and seeing is not believing.