Pictures and Tears

Book recommendation:
James Elkins: Pictures and Tears. A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings, Routledge, 2001,

Book has two parts:

The first part deals with the works of Sargent, Regnault, Picasso, Rothko and others on their history and importance and examines the states of people who cried in front of a painting. How to make the audience cry and whether education and familiarity with art have an effect on crying or not

The second part begins with an overview of the opinions of thinkers on crying. And then it shows how in the contemporary world shedding tears in front of a work of art has become a wrong thing. The specific audience considers the art of shedding tears as a form of weakness, or is so caught up in the history of the work that it is meaningless for them to see passion. Elkins says that he has suffered from the same problem and his understanding of art history does not allow him to fully face the work. This thinking has also expanded to the general audience and it seems that art should be viewed without much excitement.

Interestingly, most of the academics who had a tearful memory asked not to be named.


Art, Emotion, Crying

This is a piece of art “The moon in the forest” I made during my depression, a vision from my dreams. At that time, the psychiatrist asked me to describe my feeling. I felt like a heavy black gas enveloped me. I recorded this feeling in the form of electronic painting. Whenever I see this painting now, I can still recall the feeling at that time, which may be the ability of art to record emotions.

In the artwork, I added a character, looking for light in the dark forest, I hope to remind people who are suffering from depression in this way, never give up looking for light.

The moon in the forest
Zhixuan Zhou. 2022
Hand-painted creation with Photoshop.