Monday, June 9, 2008

What exactly is "Belle Peinture?"

Belle peinture is beautiful paint handling in the sense of a rather self-indulgent love of luscious paint, elegant brush strokes and a lively paint surface--perhaps at the expense of any other quality, such as subject matter and observation.

Cumming, Robert (2001). Art: A Field Guide (pg. 379). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

1 comment:

Max Reger said...

The quoted definition, while tentative, is somewhat thinned-lipped and disapproving, I feel. The handling of paint - the way it has been applied to the surface of a picture - is part and parcel of the whole. While an excessively self-conscious attention to brushwork could detract from other elements, such as subject matter or expressive power, by and large all good paintings offer a satisfying synthesis of form, content and surface appearance (belle peinture) where each of these elements, and other qualities, come together seamlessly.