18 Oct SIGNATURES
Today I would like to start another column that I’m calling “Signatures“.
Being a lover of art and design, I often spend quite a lot of time looking at works like sculptures, paintings, etc. Besides being intrigued by the gaze of the people portrayed in paintings that I have already told you about, and I will be sharing more details with you later, there is another thing I have always been interested in when it comes to ‘works of art, namely the “signatures” of the various artists.
There are signatures of all ages and styles, from sixteenth century Venice, to contemporary Street Art, from the Primitives to Impressionism, and there are all kinds of signatures, from those just mentioned, to the very showy and conspicuous ones. From hidden signatures to the ostentatious ones.
Signatures in block letters and fluttering ones, horizontal and vertical signatures, dated and localized signatures, those with messages and dedications. There are also very elegant signatures and, as you will see, there are even vulgar signatures.
There are very readable signatures but also quite incomprehensible signatures such as those of doctors. There are beautiful and there are anonymous signatures.There are monograms, those written in multiple languages and those that tease the observer involving him/her in a kind of puzzle.
So all tastes are catered to, just like human characters. Indeed, I am not revealing any hidden truth by saying that every signature actually conceals, or rather, reveals a character, a tendency, a personality.
Graphology in the West has become a science, while in the East, still in our day, it is the expression of an artistic flair. And so let us have fun with the signatures that I have selected for today. I would like to remind you, however, that these images are pictures taken of paintings, and as you know, nothing parallels the emotion one experiences when looking at the actual painting.
The range of signatures we are viewing today includes top artists such as Raffaello Sanzio, Vincent Van Gogh and Alexander Calder and other perhaps less famous artists that I have selected precisely because of the peculiarity of their ‘Signature‘.
For example the very confusing signature belonging to Robert Combas or Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s vertical signature, who together with his wife Claude form a formidable couple of artists, famous as ‘animaliers’ sculptors. Their rams made of resin are sold at record prices whenever they are put on sale at international auctions like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. And then there are also the exponents of the école de Paris like Maurice Utrillo or Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita.
This latter artist is particularly dear to me, and I suggest you read, if you have not already done so,the article in the Magazine column that talks about the exhibition dedicated to him at the Maillol museum in Paris. The double signature in Japanese characters and in Western characters perfectly represents his parable, constantly straddling the two cultures.
‘Another very interesting’ signature belongs the French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, a kind of puzzle with the initials of his name that intersect to form a star. The signature of the title, which I would call sublime by Giovanni Bellini, is my favorite. I think that comparing the signatures of various artists, may in some ways be useful.
Compare Bellini’s signature with this latter one, and the abyss that separates ancient and contemporary art becomes strikingly concrete.