We welcome guest contributors to the on-going discussion and debate on Preacher and Big Daddy.
First of all, don’t miss Loeb Award-nominated Ben White’s exposé on the front page of today’s New York Times. He will discuss this on MSNBC this evening! (Between 6:00 and 6:45.)
Secondly, just kidding about the cufflinks thing. Anybody who wants to chime in on the bedraggled Hoyas or Wizards or any other sporting subject: you are welcome.
The Hoyas have a huge game against Marquette coming up on Saturday.
Third, here is our first guest feature article, by Dr. Ann White. It is a commentary on our recent Art Lovers’ Poll…
Hopper’s Sympathy vs. Wyeth’s Poses
I’m glad that Hopper won the art lovers poll but sorry that he won by only one vote.
The two artists don’t belong in the same category of greatness.
Wyeth is a kind of poseur, a painter of pictures pretending to be a great artist. The girl in the much admired “Christina’s World” looks unnatural and affected in that pose. Why is she holding herself in that posture? No real girl would ever adopt such a pretentious-looking pose. Wyeth paints as though he is standing outside people’s lives, looking on and not involved, trying to paint something “great.”
Edward Hopper’s paintings have nothing of the pretentious about them. He paints an American world of buildings from a particular time, and he paints the people who know those buildings in their day-to-day lives. Somehow you know as you look at one of his pictures — whether you see people in the buildings or not — that the artist knows and feels the loneliness and sadness and hope of the people who go in and out of those buildings. He paints as though he is one of them — not looking on from the outside. Conveying that kind of empathy is the mark of a great artist.
Hopper is a truly great artist. Wyeth is only pretending to be one.
3 thoughts on “Guest Contributors”
Hi Fr. White,
I think Christina had some type of physical limitation. I’m not sure what it was. I like that painting.
Dear Dr. White,
That is a very thought-provoking commentary you wrote. It caused me to consider whether I had voted with enough knowledge about both artists – so I did some research.
You presented some excellent points – one of which I agree completely; that is a very unnatural pose for Christina. Why is she lying in the grass that way, in that location? Is she trying to crawl to the house after some trauma? Had she been cloud-watching and someone just rang the dinner bell?
On the other hand, though, there is something about Hopper’s paintings that makes me uncomfortable. I feel like a voyeur, like an unwelcome intruder on very private moments. Even his painting “Gas” doesn’t provide any calm. It has the feeling of a train track near a gas station…why?
I don’t care for all of Wyeth’s paintings, but still I wouldn’t change my vote. I still prefer his work over Hopper’s. Admittedly, it is influenced somewhat by my preference for landscapes as opposed to cityscapes, but I don’t agree that Hopper is a great artist and Wyeth can’t compare. It is, after all, a matter of beauty being measured by the eye of the beholder.
The works of both give me great pleasure and I see no reason to choose between these two, even at your urging. I love Wyeth’s ghost stories, just as I love in Hopper’s works, his undoubtedly haunted hotel lobbies, bridges, and railway-houses, his haunted ‘early sunday morning’. If some of the tropes Wyeth used were obvious — I think of the suddenly snuffed candles of the meeting house chandelier, of Helga in her loden coat in Pennsylvania winter — they were and are also American, which is to say plain-spoken, unabashed.