|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
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José Grave de Peralta
My father was an eye doctor, and at least while I was a young boy, he softly urged me
to become a physician too, perhaps specializing in the same field of medicine.
I like to think that I fulfilled his wishes in my own small way, for one of the things I do
most when I set out to draw or paint something, is aspire to understand better and
better the ACT of vision and to use my eye-to-hand coordination skills as a
draughtsman to not only produce fair forms but hopefully the kind whose proportions
and lines and, most of all, subject matter, will be good for the "eyes" of the person
Having read and thought quite a bit about Plato and Aristotle in my time -- my way of
entry into this phenomenon of artful vision has involved, in addition to the practice of
drawing, a preoccupation with line, color, and composition as somehow also deeply
connected with truth. With philosophy.
In sketching the two Republican-era temples of Rome's Foro Boario area, called the
Temple of Hercules and that of Portunus, I have felt most satisfaction from a level of
representation of these sites that does not actually register a sort of photographic
likeness of these places, impressed on my eyes from the outside, but, in some way, a form
that I feel comes from what I understand of their meaning and their associated stories
and legends. A form that comes from within... but that the details and data of the
outside also "in-form" !
One might say more simply that I am talking about drawing from an image within, that
I am drawing from my imagination, and that this is what I "did" with my father's
career wishes for me.
|how Hercules came to Rome
The Temple of the Star
pen and ink drawing of the Temple of
It interests me greatly to consider that the decadence
of contemporary drawing and painting comes from
the disillusionment of would-be artists with what
they have been taught in art schools and elsewhere
about the act of vision and about how the true
artist must strive at all costs to be different and to
create conceptually -- a la Marcel Duchamp, for
example -- paying little if any attention to the old
classical principle of creating forms that will make
people who see those forms, better.
So, the second of the pen&ink drawings on this page came from my
imagination, too. And it evolved slowly, deliciously, after days of visiting
and sketching the above-cited temples in the Foro Boario area of ancient
Rome. But there came a point where I realized that because the round
Hercules temple had and has none other than 20 Pentelic and Luni marble
columns, all neatly arranged around the perimeter of the circular base, that I
should think of the 5-pointed STAR and of the pentagram in order to, well,
draw the form somehow from its own inner order of design.
When in Rome Aeneas
another pen and ink drawing of the Temple of
When I began to play around with this idea in my sketchbook (see
sketchbook page below), the direction of my drawing began to change.
Literally to radiate out from my eyes. By trusting the implications of the
Hercules myths and the beauties of the geometrical shapes I had learned to
see in the present archaeological appearance, I felt that I could open up more.
In fact, I remembered how coincidentally with these drawing sessions, I had
received a letter from a longtime architect-artist-and-monk friend in the
United States, where he sent me images of his own gouache and
colored-pencil work from some years back, where he combined the star of the
Cuban flag with the shape of Our Lady of Charity, to symbolize the
redemption of the Island. (CLICK HERE to see my friend's work). This time
I drew the old temple from the inside towards the out, on my drawing page,
almost as if a beam of light flowed out from my eye --- and I "saw" that I
could even show Aeneas disembarking on the shores of Rome's Tiber River
with his old father and his young boy, as described in Virgil's poem, The