‘Look at me’ v ‘Here it is’

Yesterday I read a fascinating review of the Cézanne Card Players exhibition presently showing at the Courtauld Gallery in London. (The review is by Alex Danchev in the Times Educational Supplement: you can read it here.) It makes you want to drop everything and go straight to the Courtauld without delay.

What especially intrigued me in the review was this quote from Rilke about Cézanne:

‘Rilke said of Cézanne that he did not paint “Look at me” but “Here it is”.’

And thus the article has inspired a great new game – to decide which painters are “Look at me” painters, and which of them are saying, “Here it is”.

Here are a few first thoughts -

Gauguin? Definitely a ‘Look at me’ painter, I’d say.

Vuillard? I’d say he was a ‘Here it is’ painter, although perhaps Bonnard is more of a ‘Look at me’ artist.

Magritte? Has to be ‘Look at me’, surely?

Picasso? I’d say probably both.

Anyone want to join in the game? And while you’re thinking, here’s another painting of card players from the greatest of the ‘Here it is’ artists.

2 Responses to “‘Look at me’ v ‘Here it is’”

  1. Frances Thomas Says:

    Matisse – here it is.
    van Gogh – look at me

    Mmm – must get to the Courtauld Gallery – you’ve reminded me how much I like it.

  2. admin Says:

    Yup to both of those!
    I think this game works only with relatively modern painters. I don’t see how you could apply it to very many of the early Renaissance painters – like Simone Martini for instance. On the other hand, Michelangelo’s a ‘Look at me’ painter, isn’t he?

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