Category Archives: Size Issues

Sizeism in Art

My drawing class began a new project today; recreating a work by an impressionist artist.

I don’t usually go for reproducing work. The thought and care that went into creating that piece, the composition, the color choices, the entire idea, everything is already there. So what I’m creating isn’t meaningful or innovative, it’s just a copy. However, I understand that some pieces aren’t about the finished product, they’re about the learning experience, and as a first year I’d like to improve my technique as much as possible.

I arrived at class with the three images I was considering working from. A Degas:

A Monet:

And a Gauguin:

Interestingly, some people had pieces that were obviously not by impressionist artists. In fact, two separate people had been fooled by Lucian Freud’s work, one student only bringing in three Freud paintings.

Our teacher surveyed the wall, “Jeremy*,” he said with a sigh, “could you tell me why you chose those images?”

Jeremy still didn’t realize his mistake, and began to talk about this painting:

“Well,” he said, “I liked this piece because it’s so grotesque”.

At this point the majority of the room laughed.

“It’s just that, look at this woman, and imagine doing that gesture. And as you keep working it’s just becoming grosser and grosser as you draw and paint more. She’s huge and there’s all of these flaps of flesh. That’s why I picked it”.

Everyone in the room is smiling. Some people nod their heads in agreement.

“That’s great Jeremy, but this piece isn’t impressionist. It’s by Lucian Freud…” My teacher explained Jeremy’s mistake, but not the mistake that I’d like to talk about.

More after the jump!

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