Art, Art History, and the Pleasures of the Visual World
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I've had my eye out for faces this summer, ever since I discovered them all over the beautiful buildings of Bordeaux. Paris is full of them. Many are from the 19th century, a time of human concern and discovery in science, medicine, literature, art, and architecture. They say something about the age in which they were created, when human beings increasingly took possession of the individual worth that had been denied them (excepting the rich and noble) for long centuries. Many of the faces are sited above entry doors and windows, like guardian spirits for their building and its inhabitants. The variety of expression on these lively faces is at times astonishing, and surely cost the builders more than slapping up rows of generic, molded images. It's nice to know that they valued individuality enough to pay for it. We're lucky in their choices.