At the Clark Institute, the Brooklyn Look, Circa 1820

THE DAILY PIC: An anonymous bohemian's self-portrait – without a plaid shirt in sight.


THE DAILY PIC (#1377, Clark Institute edition): I can’t believe  no one has figured out which artist painted this self-portrait from around 1820, today’s Pic from the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. I love the way the picture portrays the artist as a hirsute, romantic hero – the Brooklyn Look avant la lettre, you could call it – when that conception was still just taking off. But I’m also intrigued by how tightly, tamely painted the picture is, despite its birth in the Romantic Era, compared to the wild Fragonard fantasy that we saw yesterday, executed in the Age of Reason. Just shows, once again, that art never works as a trustworthy marker of a period’s so-called “ideals”. See, people always forget to tell the artists which period they are supposed to belong to, and what it’s all about.

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