The Drama of Hardness and Softness in Painting

Piero della Francesca and Jean Baptiste Camille Corot are, at this moment, both of art: their work is true to art. The immediate effect, however, of a painting by the fifteenth-century Italian is different from that of the nineteenth-century Frenchman. One could be critically elaborate about the verticals, the restraint, the severity, the containment of, say, The Baptism of Christ; and critically elaborate about the curves, the gentle blendings, the diffusiveness, the suggestion in placidity of, say, Corot’s Mantes. Somewhere, a careful critical evaluation of the qualities and artistic procedures in the work of Piero della Francesca would meet and go along with the first, simple feeling that it was “hard”; and somewhere such an evaluation of the painting by Corot would go along with the feeling that it was “soft"...Read more

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