Letter: Sins of the flesh
Saturday 24 July 1999
Sir: I believe Jack Vettriano is wrong in claiming that it is the subject matter of his paintings - sex - which causes critics to disregard his work (Review front, 23 July). Rather it is simply that he has committed the ultimate sin of 20th-century artistic pursuit, the sin of success.
The public enjoys Vettriano's work for the very same reason that critics and intellectuals like Duncan Macmillan revile it: because it is accessible. His work needs no interpretation, no intellectualisation; its meaning is there on the canvas for all to see and understand.
Naturally I am not making any great claims for Vettriano. Certainly he is not a van Gogh or a Picasso. He is simply, as he admits himself, good at applying paint to canvas and at creating a striking image which stirs the imagination of the viewer.
However, the point that the self-appointed guardians of artistic integrity should be forced to concede is that his art has an audience, a very large audience who are entertained and affected by it, and as such it has to be accepted as a valid and important part of our artistic history.
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