Today at the Florence Academy of art was our Friday lecture. It was a real treat because it consisted of a presentation by Cornelia and Stephen, two of our instructors, about their show that is opening at the academy on Sunday.
See the Facebook invitation here:
Both of them graduated from the Florence Academy at about the same time and have been making paintings ever since. It struck me how different their work is from each other as well as how their talks differed. Stephen opened with a quote from Frankie Valli that goes like this:
They ask you “what was the high point?” Hall of Fame, selling all those records, pulling Sherry out of the hat, it was all great. But four guys under a street lamp, when it was all still ahead of us, the first time we made that sound, our sound. When everything dropped away and all there was was the music. That was the best.
Cornelia, on the other hand also showed us a number of slides, but they were grouped into genre, and she went into quite a bit of detail about the composition and process of painting each one.
Both talks were fascinating, and the work is really beautiful.
The thing that impresses me is that both Stephen and Cornelia were trained at the same school, in the same discipline, and both focus on the human figure as their subject matter. And yet, within this narrow focus, the range of emotions and ideas they communicate in their paintings are very different. Each of them has a unique artistic vision which is transmitted the classical realism of their paintings.
I think that the thing I take away from this is to not be afraid to engage in the styles of mediums that attract me simply because other people already use them and because they may have connotations which with I do not want to be associated. Even though I am being trained in a very particular method, the method is only a vehicle. It is my responsibility to make it my own.