New York

Odd Nerdrum

Hamilton Galleries

The Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum is a protraditionalist, an artist envious of the old masters. In conversation, Nerdrum told me he thought the old masters had some special mode of perception of reality that was inseparable from special techniques for articulating it. These include a subtle use of chiaroscuro, to bring out the bodiliness that makes drawing or painting seem real, allied to a sense of the ineluctable significance of the human. Above all, they had an acute sense of fate, and of art’s implication in it. One might say that Nerdrum’s art deals with the concreteness of the human body as an embodiment of fate. Thus we see, in Man with Corn Seed, 1985–86, a confrontational male figure emerging from a shadowy landscape, his partially naked upper torso moving into the light as he offers us a shovel in one hand and a few seeds of corn in the other. Nerdrum conveys a feeling of

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