Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 29

Terra di Siena Bruciata, pigmento naturale
 ottenuto dalla calcinazione della terra di Siena Naturale
Photo: Gixie

Natural Burnt Sienna pigment from Italy 
This description of the pigments used in the Altamira cave paintings is not written from the perspective of someone very familiar with artist's paint technology. Burnt Sienna is just one of the earth pigments which are iron oxides with "impurities" of other minerals. With Burnt Sienna, the burning of the pigment converts some of the material into hematite. To further complicate matters, each natural deposit will be of its own variation and not only will contain other minerals, but could be variously refined to remove the clay contained within it. Not all such results will make a suitable paint: Some colours might not mix well with other colours. In an experiment with some ochre found surrounding some 19th century iron mining equipment, I ground the pigment into linseed oil (a drying oil) with a muller on frosted glass. The resulting paint chip had an unpleasant violet sheen which would have had little to no practical use.

There is a red ochre deposit not too far away from the Alatamira cave at Ambrona, but we do not know if this is the same pigment used in the cave paintings. Colourists frequently travel great distances to get just the right variation for their needs.If we knew that the Altamira artists also did this, we would know much more about their minds than we do now.

There can be no doubt that the Altamira artist who painted the boar figure I have illustrated in this series was an intuitive empath (Introverted Intuitive, INFJ) unless we envision some sort of formal painting academy in operation at the time with a technology that we, in modern times, have yet to achieve. These artists used oblique anamorphosis at a level of sophistication unknown during the Renaissance when the practice was at its height. The painter of the boar employed synchronicity by changing the physical universe to produce a perception of depth just with the use of a line painted outside of that area. In more recent art, this was first done by Rembrandt. Synchronicity, which is familiar to some as a Jungian term was actually first envisioned by the quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, thus he gets top billing in the Pauli/Jung conjecture. 
 "The peculiar nature of introverted intuition, if it gains the ascendency, produces a peculiar type of man: the mystical dreamer and seer on the one hand, the artist and the crank on the other. The artist might be regarded as the normal representative of this type, which tends to confine itself to the perceptive character of intuition. As a rule, the intuitive stops at perception; perception is his main problem, and— in the case of a creative artist— the shaping of his perception. But the crank is content with a visionary idea by which he himself is shaped and determined. Naturally the intensification of intuition often results in an extraordinary aloofness of the individual from tangible reality; he may even become a complete enigma to his immediate circle. If he is an artist, he reveals strange, far-off things in his art, shimmering in all colours, at once portentous and banal, beautiful and grotesque, sublime and whimsical. If not an artist, he is frequently a misunderstood genius, a great man “gone wrong,” a sort of wise simpleton, a figure for “psychological” novels."

Jung, C. G. (2014-03-01). Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types (p. 401). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

There can be little doubt that Jung had Nietzsche in mind when he describes "the crank" (quote from Psychology and Alchemy).

"The primitive feels this power as much within him as outside him; it is as much his own life force as it is the “medicine” in his amulet, or the mana emanating from his chief. Here we have the first demonstrable conception of an all-pervading spiritual force. Psychologically, the efficacy of the fetish, or the prestige of the medicine-man, is an unconscious subjective evaluation of those objects. Their power resides in the libido which is present in the subject’s unconscious, and it is perceived in the object because whenever unconscious contents are activated they appear in projection."

Jung, C. G. (2014-03-01). Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types Chapter 5, The type problem in poetry (p. 244). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

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  1. Psychometric specialist Robert Hogan wrote that "Most personality psychologists regard the MBTI as little more than an elaborate Chinese fortune cookie..."[

    1. That seemed such a strange statement to me so I Googled him:

      "Hogan has contributed to the development of socio-analytic theory, which maintains that the core of personality is based on evolutionary adaptations." strikes me as Neo-Darwinist as well as being outdated in the light of epigenetics, but what really creeps me out for its Orwellian tone is:

      "Hogan, an iconoclastic observer of American psychology, maintains that personality is best examined from the perspective of the observer (reputation) rather than the actor (a person's identity). As a consequence, Hogan has insisted that personality tools should be evaluated in terms of how well reputations (defined on personality tests) predict behavior on the job and in relationships."