Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Poverty Lines: Where Are The Poor in Art Today?

By Jonathon Jones
"Adoration of the Sheperds" by Anthony van Dyck
UNITED KINGDOM---At this consumerist time of year, it is worth looking at some of the ways artists portray poverty. Caravaggio never lets you forget the reality of Roman street life in the 17th century. Even that great flatterer of the rich, Anthony van Dyck, imitated Caravaggio by showing unshod feet of the poor in Adoration of the Shepherds. Churches were full of fine art, yet Christianity praises poverty. When Velázquez portrayed a water-seller on the streets of Seville, he was showing Christian virtues of humility and patience. And yet … it is truly astonishing, given that all their income came from the wealthy and powerful, how much detail of the lives of the poor painters have preserved. So here we are in the 21st century. [link]

Damien Hirst with For the Love of God, a cast of a human skull covered
by 8,601 pave-set diamonds weighing 1,106.18 carats. Photograph: Ho/Reuters