Tag: decorative art prints

Religion Art: Adam, Eve and That Famous Apple

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Religion Art: Adam, Eve and That Famous Apple

Apart from narrative images, portraits of Adam and Eve are not common. Those one does find are likely to be nude sculptures of the first parents in their prelapsarian state – attractive young adults, as in the statues at right or this one from Notre-Dame de Paris or this willowy Eve at Autun.

Narrative images are seen in six different categories as follows.

The Creation of Adam and Eve

In the first account of creation God makes “man” in his image and likeness, “male and female” (1:26-31). In the second Adam is created from mud and Eve from Adam’s rib (2:7, 21-22).

The creation of Adam is seen in some Genesis sequences, for example the reliefs on the façade of Orvieto Cathedral and the mosaic sequence at the cathedral in Monreale, Sicily. We see the creation of Eve as early as a 4th-century Roman sarcophagus, where she is created by one of the earliest images of the Trinity. In the sarcophagus relief Eve is already standing by the side of the sleeping Adam, but later works such as the 12th-century mosaics at Monreale Cathedral and Palermo’s Palatine Chapel and the reliefs on the 14th-century façade of Orvieto Cathedral all show her emerging from Adam’s ribcage or torso.

Eve’s creation seems to be a more popular subject than Adam’s. In a 13th-century Swiss manuscript page with a medallion for each day of creation, the sixth day has God creating a human who is almost certainly Eve.

In modern illustrations the Creator will often be an old man with a beard, but in all the images mentioned here he is visualized as the Son, not the Father. The Son, who was to become incarnate as the man Jesus, is the “Word” of John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God and the Word was God.… And the Word was made flesh.” At least as early as the 2nd century Christian writers extended this to imply that it was the Son who interacted with Adam and Eve in the garden, and the artists followed this cue.1

Religion Art: Adam, Eve and That Famous Apple

The Fall of Man

In Genesis 3:1-8 the serpent persuades Eve to eat fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which God had forbidden. Eve then gives some of the fruit to Adam and they immediately realize they are in big trouble. From the earliest times Christian writers identified the serpent with what Revelation 12:9 calls “that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world.”

The iconography of this narrative is exemplified in the second picture at right. This iconographic type has been in use since at least the 4th-century and has experienced little change. The couple stand on either side of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, with Adam usually on the left. The serpent coils around the trunk of the tree, which carries fruit. Eve will be variously reaching for the fruit, taking it, and/or passing some to Adam. The couple is sometimes shown completely naked when they take the fruit, as stated in Genesis 2:24 and illustrated in the second picture at right. But most artists either pose them so as to preserve modesty (example) or simply neglect to include the genitalia (example).

Before the Gothic era the serpent was just a generic snake, but in the mid-12th century Peter Comestor wrote that there is a certain species of serpent that has the face of a young girl, and that Satan had chosen to use that kind of serpent to beguile Eve because “like heeds like.”3 This claim was repeated by subsequent commentators, the putative species acquired a name (“Draconcopedes”), and by the early 13th century female faces started to appear on the serpent.4 The earliest may be this relief at Amiens. By the 14th and 15th centuries they become quite common (example). The most illustrious example is Michelangelo’s panel on the Temptation in the Sistine Chapel.

God Confronts the Couple and Expels from Paradise

After they eat the fruit the couple realize they are naked and make themselves garments of fig leaves. These are almost always represented as single leaves covering the genitals, as in the third picture at right, where we see God confront them. The confrontation is less common in the art than the actual expulsion from Eden, in which God “cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims and a flaming sword turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). The images usually have an angel do the casting out, as in the fourth picture at right. That picture also portrays the “garments of skins” (3:21) that God made for the couple. These vary in the art, sometimes taking the form of shaggy tunics as at right and sometimes more leather-like as in this sarcophagus relief.

The fourth picture at right portrays a Cherub in addition to the angel, but that is much less common in the art.

The Assignment of Labors

As part of their punishment God tells Adam he will have to work to eat: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (3:19). The point is repeated a few verses later: “The Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken” (3:23). In the 8th century Bede commented on 3:19 that the curse of work applied to Eve as well (In Pentateuchum Commentarii, col. 213), and she has always been included in images of God’s assigning labor to mankind.

There have been two ways of looking at the curse. One was to see it as a plain hardship, as in this 12th-century relief where Adam and Eve bend sadly over a little hillock with their hoes, or this mosaic where Eve looks up disconsolately from her spinning. (The stereotypically female task of spinning thread is the one most commonly given to Eve in images of this kind.)

The other way of looking at the curse is to accentuate the positive. Sarcophagi of the 4th century, for example, symbolize the assignment of labor to the couple by showing Adam with a sheaf of wheat and Eve with a lamb (example). The sheaf represents the fruit of Adam’s labor. The lamb refers to the task of spinning, but with an emphasis on the lamb’s closeness to Eve and possibly a reference to the “lamb of God” that will be borne by Eve’s counterpart, Mary. A catacomb painting from the same century seems to show the couple’s progression from wearing animal skins to the more comfortable life that results from the labors God has assigned.

We see this optimism again in the Middle Ages in this example of domestic contentment in Adam’s family and in Bede’s remark that Adam “…was sent out from the paradise of bliss ‘to till the earth,’ that is, to labor in the body and gain for himself the merit to return to life, which is what the name of Paradise signifies, and be able to touch the tree of life and live forever” (ibid., col. 215, my translation). In the early sarcophagi this optimistic emphasis is so strong that the sculptors almost invariably place the sheaf of wheat in the scene of eating the fruit, as in this sarcophagus. There is another sarcophagus that puts both the sheaf and the lamb in the picture.

Adam Pictured at the Crucifixion

Medieval and earlier images of the Crucifixion sometimes include Adam in a coffin below the base of the cross (example). This is to remind the viewer that “as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22), a point especially stressed in this manuscript illumination, where Adam holds a chalice to collect the blood falling from Jesus’ body on the cross.

The Anastasis or Harrowing of Hell

In “Anastasis” or “Harrowing of Hell” images the risen Christ rescues the souls of those who were faithful in the years before the Redemption. Adam and Eve are always the first of these. In western images they may be naked (example); in eastern ones they will be clothed (example).

adam and eve, adam and eve posters, christianity posters, biblical figures, renaissance art, old testament figures, religion and spirituality, decorative art prints

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The Accolade Ceremony by Fine Arts View

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The Accolade Ceremony by Fine Arts View

The accolade is a ceremony to confer knighthood that may take many forms including, for example, the tapping of the flat side of a sword on the shoulders of a candidate or an embrace about the neck.

In the first example, the “knight-elect” kneels in front of the monarch on a knighting-stool when the ceremony is performed. First, the monarch lays the flat side of the sword’s blade onto the accolade’s right shoulder. They then raise the sword gently just up over the apprentice’s head and places it then on his left shoulder. The new knight then stands up after being promoted, and the King or Queen presents him with the insignia of his new order.

There is some disagreement amongst historians on the actual ceremony and in what time period certain methods could have been used. It could have been an embrace or a slight blow on the neck or cheek. In knighting his son Henry, with the ceremony of the accolade, history records that William the Conqueror used the blow.

The blow, or colée, when first utilized was given with a naked fist. It was a forceful box on the ear or neck that one would remember. This was later substituted for by a gentle stroke with the flat part of the sword against the side of the neck. This then developed into the custom of tapping on either the right or left shoulder or both, which is still the tradition in Great Britain today.

An early Germanic coming-of-age ceremony, of presenting a youth with a weapon that was buckled on him, was elaborated in the 10th and 11th centuries as a sign that the minor had come of age. Initially this was a simple rite often performed on the battlefield, where writers of Romance enjoyed placing it. A panel in the Bayeux Tapestry shows the knighting of Harold by William of Normandy, but the specific gesture is not clearly represented. Another military knight (commander of an army), sufficiently impressed by a warrior’s loyalty, would strike a fighting soldier on the head or his back and shoulder with his hand and announce that he was now an official knight. Some words that might be spoken at that moment were Advances Chevalier au nom de Dieu.

The increasingly impressive ceremonies surrounding adoubement figured largely in the Romance literature, both in French and in Middle English, particularly those set in the Trojan War or around the legendary personage of Alexander the Great.

In the Netherlands the knights in the exclusive Military Order of William (the Dutch “Victoria Cross”) are striken on both shoulders with the palm of the hand, first by the Dutch monarch (if present) then by the other knights. The new knight does not kneel.

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Photo Finish and Trish Biddle Story

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Photo Finish and Trish Biddle Story

Trish grew up in Minnesota in the world of art along side her mother who enrolled her in every art class and contests in which she would usually come in second place. This made her work even harder. Then on her own, she moved to Dallas fresh out of high school and graduated from the Dallas Institute of Art.

Pursuing her artistic dream, she secured a job as a textile designer and a fashion illustrator for a clothing manufacturer. She later moved to the J.C. Penney home office in the design department. After several years in the corporate world, she decided that it wasn’t for her, so went to work as a freelance artist. She was signed by a textile agent in New York City and continued to freelance for several years.

In the summer of 1996 Trish’s beloved Grandmother passed away and Trish was given an old cigar box full of vintage photos. She took the next couple of years to reflect and be inspired by these photos and realized it was time to pursue her dream of being a full time painter. Trish was signed by her publisher Canadian Art Prints, Vancouver B.C. in 2003 and produced over 40 images currently being sold around the globe. Her prints are sold in retail outlets globally.

After years of persistence and overcoming obstacles Trish’s rewards are coming to fruition. Invited to be the Official Artist of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, and as the Official Artist of the 2009 Westminster Dog Show, she is now fulfilling her lifelong dream of being an important artist.

Trish’s paintings reflect the Art Deco era to such a convincing degree you can’t help but wonder how she transported herself to capture that lovely era. Her motto is to inspire others, especially girls and women, helping them reach their goals by setting a positive example.

Trish has given back to the community by contributing original artwork to charity which has been more rewarding then any amount of fame she says. The organizations include Girl Scouts, Make a Wish Foundation, Shining Stars, Arts Net, Young Artist’s of Texas, Greater Southlake Women’s Society, Southwest Transplant Foundation, Westlake Academy, Greater Southlake Women’s Society and GRACE donating paintings to help raise funds. Trish donated the original artist’s proofs of her winning Kentucky Derby designs to Girl Scouts for the live auction at their fundraiser, Derby Day at Lone Star Park.

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Antique Egypt: All About Queen Nefertiti

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Antique Egypt: All About Queen Nefertiti

Famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding beauty, queen Nefertiti remains one of the most well known of the queens of Egypt. Nefertiti was the Wife of Akhenaten during the Eighteenth Dynasty. She bore Akhenaten 6 daughters and no sons, and shared a near co-rulership with the king.

Fifteen years after her appointment to the position of Queen of Memphis, Nefertiti mysteriously disappeared. Egyptologists have assumed that this was either due to banishment or her death. However, little evidence suggests that she actually died. Similarly, speculation exists as to whether she was the obscure pharaoh Neferneferuaten.

Nefertiti was the chief wife (queen) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the name Akhenaten when he led a religious revolution which put the sun god Aten at the center of religious worship. Art from the time shows a close family relationship, with Nefertiti, Akhenaten, and their six daughters depicted more naturalistically, individualistically, and informally than in other eras. Images of Nefertiti also depict her taking an active role in the Aten cult.

What Happened to Nefertiti?

After about fourteen years, Nefertiti disappears from public view. Akhenaten was succeeded first by one Pharaoh, Smenkhkhare, usually described as his son-in-law, and then by another, Tutankhaten (who changed his name to Tutankhamen when the Aten cult was abandoned), who is also usually described as Akhenaten’s son-in-law.

One theory of Nefertiti’s disappearance is that she assumed a male identity and ruled under the name Smenkhkhare. In another theory, she was murdered as part of the return to the traditional Egyptian religious customs. Another is that she simply died.

Nefertiti’s Ancestry

As for Nefertiti’s origins, these too are debated by archaeologists and historians. She may have been a foreign princess from an area in what is now northern Iraq. She may have been the daughter of the previous Pharaoh, Amenhotep III, and his chief wife, Queen Tiy, in which case either Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) was not the son of Amenhotep III, or Nefertiti married (as was a custom in Egypt) her brother or half-brother. Or, she may have been the daughter of Ay, who was a brother of Queen Tiy.

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Anne Stokes: The Fantasy Art with Striking Designs

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Anne Stokes: The Fantasy Art with Striking Designs

The fantasy art of Anne Stokes features striking designs and life like portrayals of fantasy subjects. Her art covers a broad range of themes, from the romantic and magical enchanted Forest, to the dark underworld of gothic vampires. Classical topics are reinvented with a strong design and impact, and new creatures are brought to life in a unique and eye catching manner.

Anne is originally from London but now lives in the north of England in Leeds, Yorkshire with her son Leo and partner John. She started her art career as a merchandise designer, designing tour merchandise for bands including Queen and the Rolling Stones.

Anne worked as a jewellery designer and sculptor producing ranges of jewellery items for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Harry Potter. Her T-shirts have been worn by many bands of note and her Skull Tattoo T-shirt design was picked as the outfit for Mike TV in Tim Burton’s film of Charlie and Chocolate factory. She then became a full time freelance illustrator where she worked on a number of book, game and record products, producing concept art and illustrations for Dungeons and Dragons.

Anne Stokes: The Fantasy Art with Striking Designs

As Anne’s art career progressed she moved solely into licensing her own creations and expanding the ranges of her fantasy themed paintings. Using symbolism within her pictures to convey meaning Anne’s artworks has been widely acclaimed. Working with Art Ask Agency her many paintings have been licensed on a wide range of products which are on sale worldwide, including T-shirts, posters, book covers, calendars, jigsaws, tarot cards, sculptures, mugs, jewellery and greetings cards. She continues to produce new works and has published several books.

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Claude Monet and The Water Lilies

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Claude Monet and The Water Lilies

As soon as they appeared, the Water Lilies of Claude Monet old age, those hymns to light, plant life and water, incurred the displeasure of both the well-wishers and the detractors of Impressionism. The first were baffled by Monet’s new manner; the second were blind to the new depth of vision these works revealed. Misunderstood and neglected for over thirty years, the Water Lilies are at last receiving the recognition they deserve.

Having had the privilege, from childhood up, of seeing and familiarizing myself with them in the setting at Giverny in which they were created (the only setting, let me add, that can do justice to them), it reflects no particular credit on me to say that personally I have never shared that incomprehension. To see the Water Lilies in the garden studio especially built to house them was to see them in natural, harmonious conjunction with radiant summer days spent in the garden at Giverny beside the pond which inspired them. It was a delight which those who experienced it will never forget.

I cannot deny that, for me at least, the spell is irremediably broken in the Musée de l’Orangerie, in that bleak back room which, designed especially for the Water Lilies in 1925, nevertheless baldly reduces them to a mural decoration — and they are ever so much more than that. The way in which they are encased there, in a long horizontal belt around the concave wall, restricts them to the narrow, perfectly extraneous function of emphasizing the ellipsoidal line of the architecture.

Monet himself contributed to this over-modest setting by approving the whole project at the time and by doing his utmost to adapt his panels to it. To break and diversify the even horizontal flow of the paintings around the room, he sprinkled the foreground with willow fronds suggestive of the decorative style of art nouveau, fashionable around 1900. At the same time they introduce a third dimension which strikes an uncalled-for contrast with the sheer vertical plane of the water surface; the latter, with its rich play of light effects, was theme enough in itself.

The setting, then, in which the Water Lilies have been exhibited to the public in part explains both the eclipse they underwent for over a quarter of a century and the keen revival of interest in them caused by the recent revelation of further Water Lilies hitherto hidden from view in the studio at Giverny. The evolution of taste and ideas in the course of the past halfcentury explains the rest.

This evolution, as far as painting is concerned, began with the dissensions that led to the break-up of the impressionist movement in the eighties. While Monet went on, singlemindedly pursuing the subtlest, most elusive effects and variations of light and atmosphere, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin each branched out in different directions. The Neo-Impressionism of Seurat, with which Pissarro threw in his lot in 1886, was both a logical development of Impressionism and a reaction against it. The systematic, scientific application of the principles which Monet discovered and applied by trial and error signified in effect a tacit condemnation of the intuitive, empirical nature of his art.

As for Renoir, after an uneasy interlude in which he toyed with a harshly linear, Ingresque style, he finally reconciled his concern for form with his love of light, fusing both in an inimitable glorification of volume saturated with color. Cézanne, however, always deferring to his “sensations,” gradually exacted from them not an atmospheric so much as a geological revelation of the visible world. After a fling at Neo-Impressionism, whose narrow harness failed to hold him long in check, Van Gogh hit his stride at Arles, throwing off every constraint in a jubilant, preexpressionist exaltation of color and line. But it was the symbolism of Gauguin which worked the most radical transformation of Impressionism. Gauguin sacrificed the visual aspect of things to the expression, in terms of line and color, of the “idea” they engendered in the mind. He rejected outright the whole battery of naturalistic effects calculated to suggest space and light, and adopted flat colors and heavy contour lines.

The upshot of these powerfully diverging currents was Fauvism, which abandoned every semblance of fidelity to outward appearances in favor of a rapturous glorification of color — but color handled more plastically than it was by the slightly later followers of Van Gogh, with their bias toward expressionist distortion. In spite of this reaction, however, Fauvism and Expressionism remained, like Impressionism, essentially dependent on the sensation induced by the object.

This was no longer true of Cubism, which rejected the outer world as it appears to our senses and built up another one out of a select assortment of elements artificially reassembled in the mind. This essentially cerebral art stood at the opposite pole from the essentially sensuous art of Impressionism. No wonder then that the meat of the one was the poison of the other. The rise of Cubism and the era that followed, during which its influence spread and was assimilated, set up a reaction against Impressionism, whose achievement was belittled and whose most characteristic representative, Claude Monet, was disregarded by a whole generation of artists.

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Figurative Art: High Voltage by Ge Feng

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Figurative Art: High Voltage by Ge Feng

decorative art prints, theme rooms, high voltage art print, ge feng artworks, figurative art prints, best sellers

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Brent Heighton: Always looking for inspiration just around the corner

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Brent Heighton: Always looking for inspiration just around the corner

Brent Heighton has been painting for over 20 years fulltime. After college Brent began a brief career in the commercial art field. Not satisfied with the deadlines, the rush jobs, and working out other peoples ideas as to how they wanted things to look, he realized that as difficult as working in the Fine Arts was, becoming a painter of what you want and not what someone else wants, was the most important and satisfying. He has never looked back on or regretted taking that chance.

Working as a fulltime Artist has allowed Brent to travel all over the world in search of ideas and things to paint. Brent has travelled with his family to Europe, spending time in France, Holland, Belgium, and as far south as Greece. All the time with paints and brushes in hand, always looking for that inspiration just around the corner. The difference of light in a place like Greece compared to Cornwall, England is very exciting says Brent.

During the last few years Brent has travelled to Mexico numerous times. The Architecture, the people, and the light that keeps enticing Brent back there, “I find Mexico helps my creative juices start to flow when I’m there and I love the color of the light.” says Brent.

Brent’s watercolours and oils have been well received by many corporate and private collectors in over 25 countries of the world. Brent has had exhibitions in New York, Tokyo, Germany, Belgium, Holland, many parts of the U.S.and most recently Cabo San lucas, Mexico.

Brent Heighton: Always looking for inspiration just around the corner

His work has won him numerous awards throughout Canada and the U.S. But the important thing is, as Brent points out is not the awards, it’s how it makes you feel putting your feelings on paper or canvas so that the persons observing can experience the joy you had in painting that particular artwork. “If you can make that connection with someone it feels great inside,” he says.

Continuing to explore new ideas and approaches to painting, he is never happy to stay in one place creatively. Just recently Brent has been asked by a large wallpaper firm from the U.S. to design a wallpaper collection using his style of painting. Working with the textile industry has opened new doors in experimenting with texture and color that he has never thought of.

And most recently Brent has just returned from a trip to the Brandywine area of Pennsylvania, home of Andrew Wyeth. “ It was a great experience to visit and explore that area to feel what that man could say in his paintings.” Brent is never happy to stay in one place creatively. And his work continues to grow and mature as he pushes his creative boundaries.

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High Noon by Renato Casaro

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High Noon by Renato Casaro

high noon poster, high noon movie poster, renato casaro, renato casaro artworks, figurative art prints, western posters, western art prints, italian art, decorative art prints, movie posters

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Abstract Art: An Universal Language

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Abstract Art: An Universal Language

Those who have followed the course of abstract art over the past 70 or 80 years will have been struck by its persistence. When the Cercle et Carré exhibition was held in April 1930, the Parisian press informed us that such painting was “the mere ghost of an experiment which we thought had died long ago,” and that “all this has nothing new to offer.” In 1955 the same outbursts of weariness and boredom, if not anger, can be heard at any exhibition of abstract art: “about time the joke was buried… same old bag of tricks… poor old public.”

Maybe. But things become entirely different if we are patient enough to take a closer look. Then we see that abstract art has never stopped adding to its range and means of expression, never faltered in its search for greater depth. If the ABC of this language was firmly established in the ‘heroic’ phase by Kandinsky, Mondrian, Delaunay and Malevitch, this does not mean that everything has been said in the same language.

The critics’ ignorance and the public’s sophisticated grumbling were unable to prevent it from branching out into the remotest corners of the western world, where it has won over intelligent collectors and gained a hold, even a considerable hold, in civic museums and galleries. Kandinsky and Mondrian, both of whom lived to a good age, thanks to their long working life were able to show their successors what a range of values can be drawn out of such simple elements; Kandinsky stressing inventiveness and Mondrian the importance of increasing depth.

The other movements or schools which sprang up in such great numbers all over the world in the past hundred years all enjoyed a much shorter span of life. At the moment of writing (1955), abstract painting has flourished for forty years and shows no signs of slackening vitality.

Those critics who began by encouraging it but who now pull a long face at some geometrical composition by Vasarely or some colour-composition by Riopelle, remind me of Zola when, throwing over his former Impressionist friends in 1896, he voiced his disillusionment in a notorious article in the Figaro which does not stand to his credit: “Not a single artist in this group,” wrote the author of L’Œuvre, “has succeeded in translating into paint, with the slightest power of finality, the new formula which is to be observed in snippets on their various canvases… They are all forerunners. The genius is yet to be born… They are all unequal to the task they have set themselves, they can’t talk, they stutter.” At the Jeu de Paume Museum (for example) we can now go and see exactly what stuttering meant. No oracle is needed to predict that fifty years hence some other Jeu de Paume will be showing an astonished public those masterpieces of abstract art that are being painted at the present time and which we are treating with contempt.

Written by: Ilyas Hizli

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