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On Style: An Examination of Roy Lichtenstein’s Development

THE ART OF ROY LICHTENSTEIN sets up a situation in which style is subject matter and governed by the same rules of discourse as iconography. The subject matter of Blam at one level is war, but Lichtenstein has not invented his subject; he has taken it from an existing image in a comic book. The original has been considerably revised to arrive at Lichtenstein’s composition in which both plane and explosion radiate from a common center in the picture. However, through these changes he has not abandoned the recognizable style of the original, though with an important qualification. The outlines, the solid colors, and the simplifications of surface refer less to the particular drawing from which Blam is taken than to the comics generically. The source of Blam has a naturalistic open space and the objects in it can be seen together in an instant of time, though all are diverging. Lichtenstein,

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