More on similarities of painting to writing
My daughter, a poet, objects to my title “Madonna, horrified by violence“. She thinks I am neglecting the opportunity to give information that the image alone cannot convey. “Madonna in the twenty-first century“ or “Modern Madonna” would please her more.
To me, these titles seem to possibly indicate only that the painting was painted in the early 21st century. Certainly, any one with an interest in history knows that horrible violence has existed throughout the centuries. Maybe the methods and tools in use today have greater reach but the attitudes, hatreds, and desire for power and gain are cultural and remain the same.
I believe it is very observing of your daughter to want to claim the relevance of your painting to this time period. She should be praised for we all internalize when we view art. We view it long enough and it becomes timeless. I believe that takes more effort on the part of the observer and it comes with practice in seeing. Eventually art becomes the past, present and the future regardless of title.
It’s intriguing to question the purpose of titles. My bias with poems has been that the title should enhance meaning already revealed in the poem; the title should not be a crutch that supplies more necessary meaning. But artwork must be different; if Picasso had not used the title “Guernica,” would we recognize his subject?
The painting “Madonna, horrified by violence” delivers a fiercely complete impression, so what is left for the title to accomplish? I think the present title enhances my experience, as I want a poem’s title to do. Yet I wonder if the title may supply too much information, if the words “by violence” are unnecessary, just as the fire became unnecessary.