chapter  15
16 Pages

Art as Aerlife: Posthumous Self-Presentation by Eminent Painters


When considering the enormous creative output of major artists, we realize that the products of their emotional, psychological, and intellectual life must constitute, in terms of the time and eort involved in artistic

production, the greatest portion of the sum total of their lives. rough the creation of a life’s work, artists create a physical extension of themselves, constantly aware not only that contemporary consumers (galleries, critics, buyers) are looking at and judging their works, but also that people will continue to do so long aer their death. Of the products of “mental life” available to us, paintings arguably represent one of the greatest opportunities for interpretation. In fact, a popular view of painting is that it is not just a means of recording events and things, but that it is an artist’s interpretation of his or her experience-although this essentially “lay psychoanalytic” view of art may not be the current view of the majority of academics.