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When I was writing an essay a while back, I came across this web site put out by Peter Bueschen that argued that Winslow Homer put hidden images in his paintings. Now I dismissed that idea out of hand at the time, but I just can’t get that idea out of my head.

On the one hand, I don’t find the evidence that Bueschen presents convincing. I think he is just seeing images in the clouds as it were. The human mind is great at imputing meaning where there is none. On the other hand, Winslow Homer is just the type of guy who would stick hidden pictures in his artwork.

In spite of my doubts, I still come down on the side of not believing that Winslow Homer put hidden pictures in his art work. Much of Bueschen’s evidence just seems too forced to me. In most of the visual evidence he provides, I find it hard to believe that the images were put there deliberately. I think in any painting you can see sub images if you wanted to just like you can see images in a cloud. But that does not mean that those images were put there deliberately.

What really irks me about Bueschen’s argument though, is his use of the literary source material. He quotes extensively from people who knew Homer to argue that Homer and some of his close friends felt that Homer’s art was not properly appreciated (as in understood) in his time.

Well, no duh. It was not properly appreciated then and I don’t think it is properly appreciated now. I don’t think that many people get the depth that is in Homer’s paintings. But that does not mean that Homer deliberately put hidden little images in his paintings.

Yet, I still can’t get rid of the nagging little voice that whispers “what if you are wrong?” This is odd, because I am not one to doubt my own judgment on such matters.

I think the main cause for my self-doubt is that I can easily imagine Homer putting in secret images. It just fits with his personality and his aesthetic sense. The other cause for my self-doubt is that I have always been bad at seeing hidden images even when I know that people deliberately put them there.

So I am curious about what other people think. Of all of Bueschen’s examples, this is the one that I find easiest to see myself (this is how Bueschen sees the picture). Here is a picture in which I would never find the image that Bueschen sees (and here is how Bueschen sees the picture). There are many more examples at Bueschen’s site.

Anyone out there have their own opinions?

One Response to “Did Winslow Homer put hidden images in his paintings?”

  1. […] _uacct = “UA-1202685-1”; urchinTracker(); Map of the Ethereal Land The Ethereal Voice Front Page – Politics – Money – Knowledge – Art – Food – Fun Masthead About Did Winslow Homer put hidden images in his paintings? By Ape Man | May 7, 2007 – 7:50 pm Posted in Category: Art When I was writing an essay a while back, I came across this web site put out by Peter Bueschen that argued that Winslow Homer put hidden images in his paintings. Now I dismissed that idea out of hand at the time, but I just can’t get that idea out of my head. On the Click Here to continue reading. […]

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