The title I have chosen for this piece is Broken. The seam in the canvas in the lower part of the painting suggests a break that has been badly repaired. Once broken, an object remains broken. A repair is a reminder of the complete object, and it will always be less than it was. There will always be a veil of sadness associated with the object.

A broken pillar or pole was a symbol of death or chaos not only in western art but for the aboriginal peoples of Australia.

Simon Schama.

I always get excited when I hear that Simon Schama has a new book coming out. He is one of the most entertaining and readable writers of art history that I know of. His books are always hard to put down.

His latest book, Simon Schama’s Power of Art, is the companion book to a BBC program of the same name. The book is a collection of essays about eight artists whose work has deeply touched him. They are Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rothko. Schama picks a moment in each artist’s career and tells the story about the creation of an artwork that was important to the making or breaking of their reputations during their lifetimes.

I personally found the essays on Bernini, Turner, and Rothko the most enlightening. They are artists I am familiar with but I have not read much about. The essay on Rothko really changed my mind about this artist, and I would like to read more about his life and art.

Rembrandt’s Eyes is another Schama book I highly recommend. It is a very detailed biography of the artist. What I found especially interesting is that it contains a section that is essentially a complete biography of Peter Paul Rubens. It presents the idea that Rembrandt was driven to emulate and surpass the fame of Rubens, and that this desire led to Rembrandt’s eventual bankruptcy.