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John Singleton Copley: Primacy of the Object

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Altoon Sultan blogs about an "insistence on the thingness of things, presented in an abstract way" in John Singleton Copley's paintings.

Sultan writes that: "Copley's American portraits of well-to-do New Englanders have an almost uncanny presence, solid and still. The artist himself is not present, he is a vehicle for delineating the flesh and beautiful 'stuffs' of the upper classes, with exactitude but not with flourishes." Sultan cites Barbara Novak: "What [Novak] sees in [Copley and theologian Jonathan Edwards] is a pragmatism, an intense interest in sensation, and 'how the mind formulates ideas from sensations', and an interest in close observation of the natural world."

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