"The innocence of
Ölgemälde auf Leinwand - 81 x 100 cm
Von Ana gemachte Kommentare
I am always surprised by the causes that are present when I start a painting. In “The Innocence of Eve" the motivation was much more exceptional than what you would suppose for a simple sketch. When I finished “Adam and Eve”, for some time I debated within myself whether or not to persist with one of the most suggestive theme in the Bible. Precisely because this is one of the most relevant chapters in the Bible and one which reveals so much about human conduct, I developed an idea which would reflect this duality which is so characteristic of us: the instinct for individuality in contrast to our social needs. Our need to reaffirm our individual identity while still being accepted by the group gives rise to the human being’s first moral conflict, for it is through this dimorphism that we form the concepts of good and evil, which pass sentence when this duality is unbalanced.
This interior conflict known as original sin is what has defined us as “humans”. Eve who goes beyond the limit of infinity: Adam whose masculine behaviour challenges God, renouncing his immortality just to show Eve a bit of his manliness. This chapter, so poetic and illustrative of our nature, has been defined through temptation, yet it is also true that it is the devil who scatters us, the devil we all have within us. Since this behaviour is inherent to the human race, can this sin have a negative connotation? Was Eve guilty of being human?
These reflections took shape in a pair of sketches that followed the compositional framework of “Resurrection”, but an unusual event altered the way it was structured and I could even say changed its very discourse. I received a cheerful E mail from a very nice American portrait artist. He was polite and friendly and he praised my work with the most correct American manners, although there was something in him which is part of every painter, wherever they are from: he was condescending; my works would be even more artistic if they came closer to his idea of art. I have no objection when it is an idea that’s passing judgement: even if I don’t agree with the idea, because it is relative and often held unconditionally, any discussion becomes pointless. Only when an idea about art is referred to does a sixth sense go on the alert inside me. It’s uncontrollable and combative, aiming not to defend myself but to try to protect the magic of those talents that have brought such honour to painting.
My sixth sense did not go on the alert. He was a real New York gentleman. Once he’d started he didn’t stop at improving one of my portraits, he was so generous as to work on three of them. Looking at my self-portrait he had hardly any objections, nor could I object to him: a lot of photos have been taken of this painting and none of them manage to reflect truthfully the use of colour which makes it an interesting study of ancient technique. In “My vision of Frida” I am sure that his unconfessed desire to see Salma Hayek had blurred his artistic vision. It was with “The Little David” that I confirmed that his knowledge of painting was in inverse proportion to his discernment of Art. Inevitably, I was curious to see his work; not for the first time, first impressions had been misleading. In fact, my impeccably polite and estimable critic had managed to transfer to his painting his scrupulously careful personality; his portraits showed quite clearly the distinction between model and photographer.
But art includes another dimension, because it uses other resources. I think it was Goethe who said that if someone makes a totally accurate painting of a dog, respecting every hair and every whisker, we end up with two dogs, not with a work of art. Obviously, professional training makes a painter but not an artist, although all artists know their profession. Nowadays we find skill only in the elements of an artistic composition that are self-evident and basic, just some things to do with the geometric formation of the lines of composition, space (points and golden focal areas) and colour (chromatic harmony). However, if we do show skill in every area, in other words when we know what we are doing and why, when we find ourselves at the threshold of art, at this moment we have to learn to go back and imagine resources that technique does not give us.
In “The little David”, the friendly American praised the poetic content of its background but criticized sharply the technical fault committed in the shirt collar. My estimable friend showed scorn for the most artistic device in the painting: the part which emphasizes how small and innocent a child is had according to him just been wrongly fitted in; he could not manage to see how by changing the form of a real perception, a spiritual quality is accentuated. Nevertheless, leaving aside his shortcomings, I still think of him as an honest painter. Just as my painting simulates a technique that is worse than my real skill and his painting affects a greater art than he possesses, in both cases our brushes aim to transmit a perception of authentic painting.
After this brief interruption in my work I looked back at Eve. My reflections excusing her sin had disappeared; I felt empathy and my vision of her innocence was no longer redemptive but had become candid and virginal. Like the little David, now Eve should show purity and simplicity, as is appropriate for the first woman in the Scriptures. I also wanted to add a difficulty to the composition: I wanted to be both original and fashionable, in other words to pass sentence on myself according to the values and dichotomy that I described above and that have generated art throughout history. Now, if we understand art to be a human faculty practiced by people, for people, in trying to be both original and fashionable, my fashion should not be understood as an approach to the decadent concept which was established in the twentieth century in such a premeditated and effortless way, in other words the human faculty practiced by and for monkeys. My intuition and knowledge have grown under the guidance of tradition, so my Eve had to take form within these limits; but, like her, I wanted to go beyond one of the limits. Please do not misunderstand me, the great masters always crossed a limit, or to express more correctly the work of tradition they always moved the boundaries a little further.
I already had a sketch. However, a question kept going round in my head: How far should I move the boundary? While I deliberated about this I confess I was tempted not a few times to be completely grotesque and lose myself in the scrawls of mundane art by painting a pig’s rib with the left hand on the canvas.
But in the end, as always, common sense called on the righteous, and although the idea which came to me was not exactly sensible, the freedom I almost always exercise by not using physical models allowed me to apply deliberately dated pictorial solutions which justified and balanced my little excess. If the public finds innocence and candour in this picture I will have achieved the effect I was looking for; if in seeking this effect many erudites of the world of painting do not recognize the euphemism which separates me from classic orthodoxy, then I will have shown a fraction of originality.
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