This is entry #29 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.
Philosopher: John Rapko (College of Marin)
Artwork: Thomas Kinkade, Twilight Cottage (1997)
Words: In Thomas Kinkade’s Twilight Cottage (1997), the small patch of bluish sky shows a crescent moon and an impossible ten stars of at least second-magnitude. Besides a jumble of cues indicating direction and intensity of light, Kinkade introduces just enough of the sublime mode to block the viewer’s imagined physical access to the far planes; the pointless meanders of the path give out in some middle-distance hedge or copse. Perhaps part of what makes Kinkade’s work unredeemable for the contemporary art world is this compositional strategy that sacrifices everything suggestive of exploration, anti-rationalism, contingency, and multiple perspectives.