Art as Inherently Autobiographical
(MadMFia) was born in Sweden and lives and works in Brooklyn, NYC. She received her BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in 2008. Since then she has been evolving her work in abstract oil painting.
T.S Elliott believes that “the progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality”. While mastering any art form requires sacrifice, a successful piece of work must have the artist's touch in order for others to relate to it. It is in our nature, as humans, to seek out connections with others. Art represents the self, time and history; as humans evolve, so does art. As technology advances, so does its presence in art. From a painting, one can often decipher the time period, the region and, in some cases, even the most intimate details about the creator. A successful piece of work must be autobiographical.
The work of classical greats like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Leonardo all fit into the style and subject matter of the time period. They all worked with chiaroscuro and sfumato effects, as that was the trend of the period. Dramatic lighting was as common as dramatic poses during the Renaissance. Moreover, they lived during a time when there was no electricity and where candlelight was the only source of illumination. Hence, it is no surprise that these artists worked light on dark, creating an eerie, romantic mystery that fades into the dark corners of the canvas. These techniques are not just a trend but also a looking glass into their realities and limited technology.
Nevertheless, nothing shows more truth than through the eyes of love. The Mona Lisa is believed to be based on two models: a Florentine merchant’s wife but also Leonardo’s assistant and possibly lover, Salai. This assistant worked with Leonardo for over twenty years, during which he acquired his nickname, meaning Little Devil. Salaì served as a model for several of Leonardo’s works, including St. John the Baptist. Leonardo eventually left Salai the Mona Lisa before his death. Perhaps this is why it is so renowned, because it was not just a commission, it was a secret declaration of adoration.
One cannot create something new void of the self because it is inherently all we know. Our own tastes, desires, preferences are a product of our surroundings and upbringings. To say that art is detached from its maker is to say that the body is removed from the mind and spirit. They all work together as one, to be fully alive. The artist is always present, even in the most unsuspecting of manners. In responding to his own work, Federico Fellini states, "all art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography." All one truly knows is the self, art is an expression of that. Many claim that the meaning of life is to find truth. The greatest feat an artist can achieve is to show the self in its purest form through an act of creation.
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