Ben Nicholson – (Flattening, Integration and Movement in Space)

Ben Nicholson - Still Life with Jug, Mugs, Cup and Goblet - 1925 - 60 x 60 cm - oil and pencil on canvas

Ben Nicholson is a superb example of a painter who explored the great considerations of conveying depth and space by raising the subject matter to the picture plane.  His dedication to this major shift in art is very impressive.

This early still life shows us his awareness of the importance of limiting perspective, conveying space through placement, as well as shifting the viewers sense of place.  You can see this shift in the mug at the right.  We are simultaneously level with the mug and  above the others. This provides the feeling of space or movement!

Nicholson was also exploring another shift when he flattened the decoration on what we read as the curved surfaces of the mugs.  This subtle dynamic is very sophisticated and is not meant to be obvious.  Great artists are very aware of how we interpret subconsciously.

I should also point out some lovely integration.  The shape entering the painting at the bottom taking us to the white cup and then the left of the cup integrates with the edge of the mug above.  Also the top of the mug connects to the handle of the pitcher.  Can you feel the integrations?

Nicholson was a great twentieth century master.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *