Follow by Email

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Closing arguments, part two:

Tintoretto, who has appeared to be interested only in the few pigeons that strut hopefully near his feet, puts his cup on its saucer with a quiet clank, and without looking up, addresses Picasso:

For one who has lived so ... what? ... aggressively, perhaps competitively, Pablo, your remarks seem a bit disingenuous. I speak, of course, as a kindred spirit. No one ever accused me of being a shrinking violet – quite the opposite in fact. Now and then I hear people mutter, "Egli รจ molto presuntuoso." He's so full of himself (grins and chuckles along with the others, whose interest has been piqued). The point I'm trying to make is that you and I, and to some extent all of us here, certainly have cared about our ranking, if you will, our position among those we consider to be great artists. We have taken advantage of circumstances, and even of other artists from time to time, to advance our careers, and to elevate our status. I did not wait for history to decide whether my work should be revered, I grabbed my opportunities by the balls and scrambled to the summit of my profession by the force of my own will. And, I believe this can be said with confidence also about you, Pablo. Does it not follow that we are obliged to look for remarkable talent among young artists? If everyone leaves these decisions to history, and time, as you say, we'll all be waiting forever for some list of exceptional artists to descend from heaven. Someone must care. Someone must choose. Do you not agree? After all, someone chose you above others, and someone chose me too.

Several in the group have begun to smoke. Velazquez puffs reflectively on a cigarette; Leonardo smokes something similar but with a torpedo-shaped wrapper and a pungent, though not unpleasant aroma. He looks very pleased with himself. Picasso takes a pull on his cigar, and exhales a cloud of smoke that quickly drifts away. He too is grinning broadly. He enjoys being challenged.


Ah, but I did say that today's young artists and curators will make those choices, Jacopo. I think we are talking about two different things here.