not whistler’s mother.



*This work, which is a depiction of a fireworks display in London’s Cremorne Gardens, is probably Whistler’s most infamous painting. It was the central issue of a libel suit that involved the art critic John Ruskin and the artist. Ruskin had publicly slandered the work by making the statement, “I have seen, and heard, much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” Whistler won the libel suit; however, he was awarded only the token damages of one farthing. This is one of Whistler’s many “Nocturnes,” which are characterized by a moody atmosphere, a subtle palette, and overall tonalist qualities. 

“there is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, be nothing, say nothing.”


*art: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket,

1875, oil on panel. Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Dexter M. Ferry, Jr.

60 responses »

  1. John Ruskin has streets, parks, and schools named after him in London. He was known for his stout defence of the paintings of Turner, and also his sympathy for the working classes and a desire for an equal society, setting out an early concept of socialism.
    But I had never heard about him accusing Whistler of ‘paint-flinging’. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some very interesting words from Leonard Cohen
    “Most music criticism is in the nineteenth century. It’s so far behind, say, the criticism of painting. It’s still based on nineteenth century art–cows beside a stream and trees and ‘I know what I like.’ There’s no concession to the fact that Dylan might be a more sophisticated singer than Whitney Houston, that he’s probably the most sophisticated singer we’ve had in a generation. Nobody is identifying out popular singers like a Matisse or Picasso. Dylan’s a Picasso — that exuberance, range, and assimilation of the whole history of music.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have always felt that art is subjective not objective. I sometimes know what it is I am painting but I don’t always know what it will become nor what people will see in it. I have a painting that I call Private Dancer that to me depicts a ballet dancer. Years later I had it in a show and people saw a horse head. So now I can see both. But for decades I never saw that head. I like Whistler’s painting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How can one judge art? We see what we see; the artists paints what he/she sees and interprets. Can we like it all? No. Who are we to judge? Then again, that’s the way of it, isn’t it? I love the Aristotle quote. So very true.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Crazy how one person can say they are an art expert, and say someone’s art is not art.
    They could say I don’t like this art. That’s valid.
    However, to qualify what art is is pretty egotistical.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s