Find two examples of still life work which includes fish and in each case note the title, artist and date. Make a quick sketch of both pieces.
I decided to choose two pieces that were quite different. The first was a Picasso and the second by William Merritt Chase. It is no exaggeration to say that I have not tried to draw properly for decades. I tried to experiment a little in each sketch. In the first there are areas of colour and so I decided to use coloured pencils.
In the second,the artist’s emphasis was on realism so I used normal drawing pencils but instead tried using both hard and relatively soft ones.
Drawing 1 – Based on Picasso’s Still Life with Fish (1923)
Drawing 2 – Based on William Merritt Chase’s Still Life with Fish (Date unknown)
Make notes as you listen to this discussion.
I decided to group my notes under the list of things to listen out for:
- The piece
- Hirst’s other work
- Information on other artists whose work is concerned with mortality
- references to ‘time’
I also decided to leave my notes quite close to the form in which I made them. I slightly changed the order, improved the formatting and corrected typing and spelling errors.
- He is too sophisticated an artist not to know that work decays
- “Loved the title”
- Title tells us that living people can’t comprehend death
- Title great truth
- It’s a work of art taking on those big questions
- It was a real shark that was caught
- The tank frames the shark (it’s a beautiful tank)
- It could be in a natural history museum along with a stuffed bison
- 20th and 21st century art more open to interpretation than renaissance
- (Cut to an unnamed Mark Rothko hanging in a gallery)
- Duchamp said that “A work of art is completed by the viewer”
- Mention of Jaws and how scary a big shark is to humans
- The shark still dissolved
- Interesting discussion about the intention of the artist
- Was it his vain attempt to make something that would outlive us?
- The title and the actual shark represent conceptual dimension vs absolute physical dimension
- Clash between physical and poetic
- The art exists in that contradiction and confrontation
Hirst’s other work
- He has used other animals; sheep mentioned (I’ve seen a cow too)
Information on other artists whose work is concerned with mortality
- Egyptians mummifying bodies
- Cut to images of mummies, old statues with pieces missing and an old fresco with a piece missing
References to ‘time’
- Note that some comments above also relate to time
- Artists are well-versed in this idea of the impermanence of life
- A work of art outlives us
- (Cut to Ophelia by John Everett Millais and paintings of Christ’s resurrection)
- Maybe modern art should be called philosophical art and galleries museums of philosophy
- In art now nothing is off limits
- Nothing is going to stop the inevitability of decay