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self. Like the unfolding manifestations of the nebula, the artist in her year-long creation of the work found the forms and stages dictated by the central configuration. In comparing CrabNebula to the photographs that inspired the work, it is fascinating to see how much more vivid and complex the artist's interpretation is. The photographs appear static; the painting pulses with energy, embodying an endless universe in creation. AuClAFAXON Department of Art and Music Simmons College 300 The Fenway Boston. MA02115-5898 U.S.A. COMMENT ON "THE METEOROLOGICAL ODYSSEY OF VINCENT VAN GOGH" Art historians concerned with determining the precise degree of naturalism in landscape painting, and with the identification of sky motifs, will much welcome articles by meteorologists such as that ofStanley Gedzelman on van Gogh (Leonardo 23, No.1, 107116 ,1990). To his bibliographical notes, one may add the title of one more meteorological publication relevant in art historical contexts [1]. One hopes that Cedzelman's article will encourage a more direct interdisciplinary cooperation between scientists and art historians on similar issues. What the art historian is evidently most interested in when confronted with a work of art relating to weather is what makes that depiction art rather than a mere illustration. Obviously, the artistic value lies, among other things, in a work's formal structure (which also makes art historians cautious when it comes to the use of statistical methods). As a consequence, any degree of meteorological exaggeration in paintings or other works of art tends to vary dramatically from artist to artist, and one wishes for more art historians to overcome scientific phobias (which the present writer admits sharing) and take on the job of defining such variations. Gedzelman's comment on the problems of identifying van Gogh's sky motifs (p. 115) also leads one to wish for an intensification of dialogue between art historians and their meteorological colleagues. Such a dialogue should include discussion of which painters' works primarily should undergo meteorological analyses , how central an interest in meteorology is to a given artist's work and intentions, if it is innovative, whether it is characteristic of general cultural trends of the time, or how far it matters for the further development of art, and in what other painters ' cases the question looks less crucial . Thus, both historically and artistically, works by Romantic painters like Caspar David Friedrich or Karl Blechen-Turner's meteorology has been dealt with recently-or by some Impressionists, seem to have more meteorological potential than those by post-Impressionist painters, even if, as Gedzelman has shown, these can be of meteorological interest (for works of particular meteorological interest , see [2]). There are some corrections to make to the article concerning art historical detail. For example, the opinion that Constable was as strongly influenced by Luke Howard as Kurt Badt has suggested is not shared by all writers on that artist [3]. Also, Fig. 4 shows a chalk-and-pen drawing by van Gogh, not an oil painting as is stated in the caption; and for reasons too varied to investigate here, one would not want to call the painter an expressionist. Van Gogh scholars may wish to comment on some further aspects of Gedzelman's text, which is a stimulating and productive example of one discipline applying its methods to another field. As such, it prepares the ground for an interdisciplinary approach that reaches out beyond the scope of this particular subject (but also beyond one individual's research capacity) . URSUlA SEIBOLD Institut fur Kunstgeschichte der Universitat Domplatz 23 4400 Munster Germany References 1. J. Pernter and F. Exner. MplRorowgisrheDptik (Vienna/Leipzig,1902-191O). 2. P. Conisbee, Paintingfrom Nature: The Tradition ofOpen-Air Oil Sketrhingfrom the 17th to the 19th Centuries, exh. cat. (London: Fitzwilliam Museum and the Royal Academy, 1980). 3. Louis Hawes. "Constable's Sky Sketches",Journal ofthe Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 32 (1969) pp. 344-365. RESPONSE TO URSULA SEIBOLD'S COMMENT I concur with Ursula Seibold's comments that meteorological analysis of paintings may prove helpful to art historians . Identification of the naturalistic content of a work should represent a first step in any artistic analysis because it is necessary to know what...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 103
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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