## Thursday, March 27, 2008

### maria sybilla merian

in the question what art can bring, when discussing with others i tend to discount so-called realism (which is a difficult term to me, philosophically speaking). this discounting is due more to balance -i have to come back to that term also- than to my personal appreciation.

because, frankly, there are many artists working realistically' who in some way spark resonance in my heart.

but on the other hand i'm quite fed up somewhere with the general attitude that art depicting reality' (whatever that may mean) in a more or less photographic fashion needs no explanation, deeper motivation, ... just because, according to our culturally determined value, transferring 3d to 2d (or other 3d) using something similar to straight-line projection requires enough skill to be art.

maria sybilla merian, cayman with false coral snake

how did i get to maria sybilla merian? well, she is one of many artists who depict nature, especially flowers and animals, in a very precise realistic' way. see also john james audubon. i doubt that these names are known anywhere nearly as well as velazquez, say. but i'm amazed and pleased at their incredible detail, the precision, the colours.

so the question art: what, why, for whom?' seems to have so many answers that towers of babel are inevitable. my own rather ivory tower looks out on art bringing more than `realism in the flat sense'. reality to me is more than what a disspirited camera captures in pixels. we add dreams, visions, feelings, emotions, associations to whatever our eyes tell us that they see. in fact, i believe we only see what our brain/heart allows to pass, and this heavily photoshopped by our preset value system.

and, talking about photoshop...compare the above image to the one on the website of the british museum:

maria sybilla merian, cayman with false coral snake - british museum

and tell me honestly, which version do you prefer? and what is realism in this version-issue?