The Goal of a Realist

Andrew Wyeth, "Winter 1946," 1946, tempera on board, 3 1/8 x 48 in., North Carolina Museum of Art

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The Goal of a Realist

by Doris Betts
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 2: Summer 1997

"All the time I was growing up in Statesville, I never went to an art museum. There was none; the weekly art teacher in public schools contented herself with the color wheel and the hope of proportionate good likenesses."

All the time I was growing up in Statesville, I never went to an art museum. There was none; the weekly art teacher in public schools contented herself with the color wheel and the hope of proportiante good likenesses.

What hung in my own home were not paintings but illustrations: Columbus’s three ships, that wolf howling on a snowy hill above a lamplit house, the big dog that has just pulled a drowning child ashore, a sepia Victorian lady removing love letters from a hollow tree, and a pinkish Gentile Jesus carrying the lamb ahead of His obedient flock. Even better than these, I liked the DorĂ© Bible engravings, especially of David holding aloft the curly head of Goliath and Jehu’s companions finding what little the street dogs had failed to devour of the corpose of Jezebel.

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