Francesco Clemente (1952 - ) is an Italian contemporary painter, who spent a considerable amount of time in India, Tibet, and New York. Due to his culturally-diverse background, his works are stylistically varied, and he uses various mediums. For instance, if you look at Clemente’s work called Name, you may find both western and eastern artistic characteristics. You can find western elements from the Greek ancient architecture in the background, and the facial structure of a Caucasian male. On the other hand, you can find eastern elements from the strong, contrasting colors, which is often used in India and Tibet. Also, the hair and the eye colors are racially neutral.

By the way, isn’t Name really interesting to look at? I could not quite understand the work at first sight, so I began to look into other portraits of Clemente. When I looked at Grisaille Self Portrait, I saw a melancholy face at first, then an angry expression. From looking at Self Portrait with Alba, I realized that two women in the painting had the same emotional expression – sadness – but was portrayed in opposing energies (perhaps good/evil?). Then, I started to reason that maybe, Clemente was trying to show duality, multiplicity, and complexity of the nature of emotion. This is why he made it possible for spectators to see what they wanted to see.

This discovery got me thinking of Kant’s Critique of Judgment, and then Kant’s thoughts about aesthetics just hit my head. I could not agree more: he explains that there are two ways to look at aesthetics, which are beauty and sublimity. When beauty is apparent right away, sublimity is mysterious and ineffable. So if you encounter a moment where you find an artwork that is not necessarily “pretty” or “beautiful,” but you still find “weird” beauty in it, you are probably looking at a sublime artwork. And Francesco Clemente’s art works are sublime – to me, at least. 

Edward Hopper “Despair and Loneliness”

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was a prominent American realist painter, and he mainly depicted the lives of Americans during and after the World War I & II.

I’ve started to enjoy Hopper’s works a lot these days. His works are so simple, quiet, and lonely at the same time. Most of the time, there are two or three people at most in Hopper’s paintings, and there aren’t any eye contact or any sort of interaction with each other. Although there is a clear contrast in color scheme between urban and rural settings, you cannot escape from the sense of loneliness and despair.

I think people living in the urban area would sympathize with Hopper’s paintings a bit easier. It seems like Hopper is telling us: the busy streets and city noises have nothing to do with fulfilling hollow and shadowy hearts; and those hearts will ever be the same, even if you try to escape.

Enjoy, and please follow noffyarts for recommendations on art and music!