The Incomplete Idiot’s Guide to Artists. Batch 1

I have been collecting typical questions about artists and art for some time, and here’s the first batch of answers: often biased, sometimes rude, and always right. 

Amedeo Modigliani


Question (typical): Almost all Modigliani’s nudes have eyes, which he left blank in many of his portraits. Why?

Answer (mine): Amedeo slept with his nude models, and sometimes invited women to pose nude to shag them after. He also said, ‎’When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes.’ Obviously, it took him longer to know the soul of a clothed woman.

Q: Aha! I am beginning to understand nudists… Clothes get in the way of knowing the other person, right?

A: I am not sure it was their original intent, but they would be fools to reject your concept. 

Damien Hirst


Q: Why is he the greatest living UK artist?

A: For the same reason Van Gogh was the greatest entrepreneur of his time!

Q: But Van Gogh was no entrepreneur…

A: My point exactly!

Alberto Giacometti

Walking man

Q: Why is Giacometti’s Walking Man described as a sculpture about urban loneliness?

A: Because the observer wants to know “Why the heck is the guy so thin?” instead of becoming interested in the guy’s life, opinions, character, profession, or at least his destination.

Q: Is this your answer?

A: In a large city, we meet thousands of strangers in a day, and only notice their existence if they are especially thin, fat, ugly, or beautiful. We never get interested in WHO they are. And, reciprocally, all these strangers feel the same about us. Urban isolation is about feeling lonely in a crowd. Loneliness is a consequence of your personality being of zero interest to others. You dig now?

Picasso, Jeff Koons, and others are bound for batch 2. Have unanswered questions? Send them in! Have friends who have questions? Tell them where they can find answers.


  1. First I thought, gosh, how did I miss reading this post when it was first published? (I usually do, but for some reason WP stopped sending me email notifications). But then I realized that the 25 comments did the same to it as 25 years would have done to good wine. I’ll be back for more!

    1. I don’t know… People are complaining they are not getting e-mail notifications. I hope WP will mend the function at some point. I hope you’d like Batch 2 too ) In the meantime, pls take a look at the interview with Venus, which is the latest post ) I think you missed it too!

    1. That’s quite a verdict, but you felt it is important for me to know it. You’re right, it is important, so, perhaps you could tell me what was that you didn’t like?

  2. If Modigliani detailed the eyes the paintings would have a little more depth. Leaving them blank does leave them without a soul. Damien Hirst reminds me of Dali.
    Alberto just got carried away with his chisel and hammer. I can identify with that.

    1. I wouldn’t really say there’s no soul in M’s uneyed portraits… He conveys their personalities via shapes, colour combinations, and lines… I guess we are simply shocked to not find the eyes, and – according to a common “sympathetic magic” belief – begin to suspect something vital is missing inside ))

  3. Nice post! Thank you. It’s little about this, where began my project “Tiny Spring”. It seems to be just painting each day small illustration and posting it… indeed partly this is it, but there is huge background and surroundings – we will see what will come 🙂

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