|Maurice Prendergast, Idyl, c. 1912-14, Barnes|
The “arms” become a twisted array of left and right movements across the center of the painting. However, the literally “striking” push of the central “arm” projected into the foreground plane, sets the theme.
Examine that "arm:"
What I admire about this book is how humble both writers are in the presence of genius. Of Matisse they write, “His devotion to color and form, independent of subject, led him intuitively to use physiological principles of color perception in new and unusual ways. Understanding these principles gives us insight into some of his visual effects, and into the rationale for some of his color choices. But it cannot explain why the specific combination of subject, form, and color in his paintings are so uniquely effective and compelling to us in the twenty-first century. This is where art transcends science—and where we must acknowledge the hand of a master.” (p. 81)
Or, as Dr. Barnes said a long time ago, “We perceive only what we have learned to look for, both in life and in art. The artist, whether in paint, words, or musical tones, has embodied an experience in his work, and to appreciate his painting or poem or symphony, we must reconstruct his experience, so far as we are able, in ourselves.” (The Art in Painting, pp.6-7).
This has less to do with eyesight and its limits and challenges, and more to do with perception, a whole other entity. As Harry Sefarbi wrote, “You must investigate the traditions, and sharpen your perception. Or you can’t play.” (The Clue to Klee, The Barnes Foundation Journal of the Art Department, Spring, 1972, p. 42.)