7 – A view from above

When you stand in front of reality with a well-stocked palette you almost have to set your mind to making a work of fiction. You have to try to get close to the right tone because then the tone will be beautiful; but you mustn’t make a strict, scientific copy of the colour, of the real thing. You have to scan, trying to fix onto the canvas the beauty of colour, of light and shadow. (…) When you copy from real life, the material copy of nature must be subordinate to a decorative idea, to a concept of beauty, to a dominant idea that will inform the work of art. This idea sometimes comes from reading a book or seeing another work of art. When you set out to copy real life without a clear idea of beauty you produce work that is cold and flat.

Carlo Fornara, Diari e Appunti, (Diaries and Notes) Lyon, 1896

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