I am far from being a good art historian, I am even far from being a intelligent person. I am ignorant of many, many important things concerning art. But also, I am getting bored with reading wise people showing off their art skills, telling to everyone that they are connaisseurs of the whole art world. Last example has been a supposed discovery of a chinese artist, Chan Hwee Chong. “Art with Capital Letters” “unsurpassable” “He had to be asian”. He is a completely unknown artist for me and I do not want to underrate either his background or his work but it’s time to shut some mouths (and keyboards) up. Everybody knows what is Faber-Castell. You and me have ever had a pen of this trademark. In order to show their pen’s quality, they made a deal with Chan Hwee Chong by which he had to use those pens for making a specific portraits. These specific portraits are: Girl with a Pearl Earing (Vermeer), Self-Portrait (Van Gogh) and Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci) through a tremendous technique. It all begins in a central dot, a unique spiralling line starts growing up building the picture. Certain diversions and pressure make shadows, shapes, and spatial depths through which the original portrait is re-designed. See below some pictures of it:
Nobody could deny his astonishing expertise. If you want to be present at these creations just look for them in youtube. They are shown at high speed thus you may watch all the process quickly. These portraits were made by 2011 therefore it is easy to think on hundreds of computer programmes that could be used for making the portraits. Programmes that help you with the dots distribution, with reference lines, with the ink amounts and so on.
OK, It is time to give meaning to everything. Why Am I explaining this all? Because of the artist that overcomes Hwee Chong’s work. His name is Claude Mellan. He was a french engraver and painter and he specialized on portraits. Milwaukee Art Museum preserves a engraving which shows Jesus Christ’s face or the so-called Sudarium of Saint Veronica.
He fulfiled the engraving in a similar way as Hwee Chong has done his three portraits but the perfection level and subtlety are startling. A spiralling line arises at the tip of the nose and begins growing up delicately and pretty accurate. Seen from afar it appears like a standard engraving and that line vanishes among the shapes and depth. On approaching, we notice that a single line without interruption creates a quite realist portrait of our Lord, almost mesmerising for the witness eye. This is a detail of the initial point:
Of course, both aims, Hwee Chong’s and Mellan’s, are completely different. One of them illustrates the inventions of a company whose only objetive is to sell as much products as possible through that performance. Another attempts to illustrate one of the Passion’s episodes by his mastery, filled of faith and piety. More than three hundred and fifty years Split up both portraits, so there is no doubt Hwee Chong counted on many advances so that he was able to realize those pieces. Far be it from me to underrate Hwee Chong’s work, which is, anyway, terrific, but placing some of those geniouses in its own place. If you want to review and check what I am saying, just google it. That’s the way it is. Not always the asiatic is the best one. “Nihil novum sub sole”. Nothing new under the sun.
Any mistake? Advise me.
Any mistake? Advise me.