Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

21. The Same as the Last, But Darker at the Bottom Than the Top - Alexander Cozens

Alexander Cozens, 21. The Same as the Last, but Darker at the Bottom than the Top, date not known, etching on paper, 111 x 160 mm, Tate.

Alexander Cozens was an eighteenth century painter who also specialized in somewhat eccentric instructional drawings for artists.  His series on constructing landscapes out of blots, the beauty of the human head, and the one from which this comes, in which slightly different cloud forms are depicted, are all part of the Tate collection and are well worth perusing.  Divorced from their intended educational use, they are endearingly odd, resembling some intentionally absurd conceptual art project.  The fact that it all made sense to Cozens, although his work's usefulness was questioned even at the time, adds to the appeal.