Friday, 25 February 2011

UnMasterclass 9

In W.G. Sebald's novel The Emigrants a fictional artist, Max Ferber (who is loosely based on Frank Auerbach)  toils away in his Manchester based studio producing an almost torturous creative drive of addition and subtraction of his marks. "Time and again, at the end of a working day, I marvelled to see that Ferber, with a few lines and shadows that had escaped annihilation, had created a portrait of great vividness. And all the more did I marvel when, the following morning, the moment the model had sat down and he had taken one look at him or her, he would erase the portraits yet again, and once more set about excavating the features of his model, who by now was distinctly wearied by this manner of working, from a surface already badly damaged by the continual destruction." Here at UnMasterclass we see no need for this struggle with the inner mind of the artist and certainly no need for erasure of marks in pursuit of perfection; we favour a more direct approach of revealing all the flaws and imperfections, leaving them bare instead of erasing. Why have perfection attained after hours and days of hard work when you can attain something quick, in a few minutes that will just about do?!  It later transpires in Sebald's novel that many of Ferber's 'models' are in fact his own versions of past masters painted portraits, so UnMasterclass does in fact share some similarities with the fictionalised Ferber after all. Oh and of course Ferber's fictional studio near the docks of Trafford Park is less than a mile as the crow flies from the UnMasterclass studios, serendipity you might say.
This week we take on a monolith of important paintings with a version of the Ingres masterpiece, The Valpincon Bather. You do not need us to tell us that our version is pretty poor in comparison to the original, but then we reckon it probably took him a week bit longer than 10 minutes. So nip over to the Louvre in Paris to see the original or click away to to see the UnMasterclass version.

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