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Aspiration, frustration, chance: There's nothing archaic about this tale except the neck ruffs. And in fact, the extremes of Renaissance haberdashery aren't all that obtrusive, thanks to Olivares' muscular style. He's the perfect artist for this material. His slashing strokes and exaggerated expressions recall Max Beckmann and Georges Rouault, especially when he's drawing bodies in the throes of torture or illness. German Expressionism circa 1915 quickly comes to seem like the most obvious way to depict 17th-century Spain, an era likewise marked by extremes of morality, law and fate.
First, perspective presents the illusion of depth by varying the sizes of objects relative to ‘parallel’ lines which converge at a vanishing point. Because this method was presented as rendering the true nature of visual space, the theoreticians of the Renaissance had to deny the theorem of Euclid’s Geometry which states that parallel lines never converge. Second, Merleau-Ponty notes that static art such as photography, painting, and sculpture, no matter how supposedly realistic, falsifies reality by excluding time, and hence, motion. Following a suggestion made by Auguste Rodin, he asserts that the phenomenology of movement is best expressed by a paradoxical arrangement in which different aspects of the figure in motion, which would be visible at different times in real life, are presented simultaneously in the artwork. According to his analysis, the truth of movement is better expressed by (for example) Théodore Géricault’s anatomically incorrect painting of racing horses Epsom Derby (1821) than by the gaits of horses photographically captured by Étienne-Jules Marey. What the painter is able to capture, Merleau-Ponty asserts, is not the outside of the object of motion, but motion’s ‘secret cipher’: time rendered visible in an indirect, stylistic manner.