September 16, 2011

Arles, France. July, 1972

I love to see the route the artist took to reach his destination. The pentimenti under the finished painting that first got the painter started. Then to see the finished work, which sometimes follows the original intention, sometimes differs greatly. Word choices in early versions of poems that never made it to the finals. Yes, I like Raphael’s School of Athens fresco in the Vatican Museum. But I like his “cartoon” sketch for it in Milan’s Ambrosiana Museum just as much. I have a diptych by painter Adam Cvijanovic that represents Oedipus (in the right half of the panel) and the Sphinx (in the left.) When I visited Adam in his Boston studio in 1984 as he was working on this painting, Oedipus was also originally on the left with the Sphinx. I love knowing that he made this change. That the artist changed direction and altered the composition and I know what's underneath it all. Here is a photo I took of an unfinished painting in a museum in Arles. I can’t remember who the painter was. It almost doesn’t matter. I just love having this almost private, unintended look at what his unrealized plans were. Who knows how the completed painting would have wound up?

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