ANN MIKOLOWSKI, born 1940
Nathan Whitman, 1991
oil on linen
Mikolowski's insertion of her painting here invites us to look beyond superficial likenesses to discover the uniqueness of each work of art. It also suggests that a full experience of art requires a willingness to spend time looking and reflecting.
Because of the portrait's small scale and subject matter, its placement next to van Eyck's painting seems natural. However, the intentions of the two artists are quite different.
Van Eyck's painting is believed to be a portrait of a 15th-century church official in a setting contrived to associate him with Saint Jerome, a 4th-century Christian scholar. Mikolowski's subject is also a scholar, but the setting for the portrait is his own study.
Rather than serving to glorify a sitter, Mikolowski's work suggests other contemporary modes of representation-a postcard, perhaps, or a snapshot-evoking the sensation of a memory telescoped into an intimate frame.
Collection of Nathan Whitman
To the next artist...