As has been acknowledged many times that Platonian idealism resides beyond nature, and the Aristotelian principle concludes that the ideal can also be found in life. Plato was relying on a knowledge base that would allow the artist to go beyond nature. Aristotle stressed observing life to add inFORMation to one’s memory bank. These are not concepts that oppose one another; however, we have a large encampment of artists that fall on their sword in the name of observation. Many in this camp consider knowledge a dangerous thing that only gets in the way of working directly from observation. Of the artists shown in the banner none painted or drew what they saw without filtering it through their grey matter. Based on their body of work it is obvious the Durer, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Rembrandt worked from a solid base of retained inFORMation based on their analysis of the natural universe and their intimate knowledge of their subject and craft. Stated more empathically, no master artist ever drew what was before them without using their brain as part of the process. Quite the opposite most true masters work primarily from what they know using nature for its particulars. It is incredible the countless number of examples the copyist consortiums throw out to make their case for working from site-size observation. The commonly point-out “he placed his easel close to me or next to me.” “He retreated some distance studied the subject for a minute and then going to his canvas and painting without looking at me.”
The mimesis minions use this kind of information, taken totally out of context, as virtually proof that artist’s such as Sargent painted “Sight-Size.” What falls through the cracks is that they moved back from their paintings to see how the art looked not how much it looked like the subject. They did not need to look at the model when they returned to the painting because the painting told them what it needed. All the procedural, physical aspects they point out as proof past masters worked from observation provides more significant evidence that they were painting what from their base of knowledge adding the needed particulars they observed from the subject. Teaching to work purely from observation alone is a dead end; it is clearly a case of the blind leading the blind.

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