The Experiment, by Marius van Dokkum

Marius van Dokkum, The Experiment

I love this picture. It is probably not “great art” but the attitude of the man in his messy overall, relaxing, leaning with his right hand on a paint spattered cupboard, legs crossed, wearing wellie boots, taking in what he has done, just seems to me to be be a bit of perfect catching of the moment by the artist.

His easel has its back to us, but we can tell that he has been applying paint liberally. In his left hand hanging loosely is a bucket that has obviously recently had thick blue paint in it. From the bottom of the canvas there are copious spillages of the blue paint hanging down in blue steamers and accumulating on the floor and running away off the foot of the picture. To the right we see a dripped spillage of red paint, and there is a tipped over bucket that once held red paint by the man’s feet. Ominously, as yet unused there is also a bucket of yellow paint with the distinct possibility that it might yet be brought into play. To one side there are more buckets, six altogether, and tins of paint, some empty, some with lids on, evidence of past, and possibly future activity.

And between the man’s lips there hangs one of those small continental cigars which we used to see for sale in this country round about Christmas time. He has his head back, as smokers do, to avoid their own fumes, and gazes reflectively at his work – which the artist suggests in his title, is an experiment.

About The Author

Born 9 December 1933. Former Royal Air Force person. Retired Church of England Clergyman. Father. Grandfather, and now, Great Grandfather. Citizen of Europe and Fervent Remainer. Thinks that Members of Parliament and especially Ministers of the Crown, who lie to Parliament should be brought before a public tribunal where the evidence can be heard, and examined, and suitable penalties awarded.
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