Painters and painting

I’ve been thinking about quantity versus quality lately and for some reason Robert Pirsig’s book –Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – popped into my head, though it has been many years since I read it.

Self-portrait, oil pastel and grease pencil

Self-portrait, oil pastel and grease pencil

The full title is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values and it’s really about the values we live by. Do we value quality?
Pirsig’s book is full of quotable bits and here’s one I especially like: “What is good, PhÊdrus, and what is not good…need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”
And this one makes me laugh: “You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.”
I would argue with that – I’ve been reading about Caravaggio and I can’t think of a more imperfect artist or a more perfect painter!
Perfection in Caravaggio is in the details – a fingernail, a reflection on a goblet, a fold in the cloth – and if god is in the details, then he is pretty nearly perfect.
Never mind his darkness, his theatrics – the truth is that we don’t have to live with him, just his work and that is a joy.
St. Jerome by Caravaggio

St. Jerome by Caravaggio

3 responses to “Painters and painting

  1. Terrific reflection and comment. I like the portrait of “you” (dancing/painting) (You in quotes cuz you made yourself a certain older character–I see you differently. But terrific painting.
    I read Zen in the Art…too…at the moment I mostly remember when he lost his sanity momentarily. Like what you remember of it and your comments on human/artistic perfection.

    • Thank you dear Noa, The painting is actually called ” As Yehuda sees me “… very astute of you to recognise the truth! Love, Galya


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