A fly in the ointment...

Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART
Jun 1, 2013 12:19AM

I am always impressed by the painstaking effort that goes into restoring a work of art. Many long hours of tedious labor with incredible attention to detail goes into bringing a piece back to it's original state. So it was with great interest that I read the New York Times article (May 27, 2013) on the restoration of Jackson Pollock's One - Number 31 at MoMA. While the entire article is fascinating, the tidbit that caught my eye was the description of the fly that was embedded (and carefully preserved) in the paint.

Because I take extremely high resolution images of paintings I get to inspect them in very fine detail and often see artifacts that are reminders that these works were created in a 'real world' environment. Much like the intentional flaws woven into Persian tapestries (because only God is perfect) I find these details humanizing. Fingerprints left by the artist handling the work before the paint had dried, brush hairs and other flotsam and jetsam of the artist's studio stuck in the paint are reminders that, although we sometimes think of great artists of the past as Gods they were, indeed, as human as the rest of us.

Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART