Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Sophie Horowitz on Cheese Slices


This is entry #40 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Sophie Horowitz, Rice University

Artwork: Cheese SlicesWayne Thiebaud, 1986, oil on canvas

Words: Thiebaud’s paintings tell a story about what he saw while looking at an object: a yellow flash of light, then white, then a blue-gray shadow. I imagine him placing his brushstrokes in order, as he saw these shapes and colors in his subject. Sometimes, as in this painting, Thiebaud tilts the visual plane towards us so that we can see more. I imagine him looking at the slices of cheese from one angle, and then standing on tiptoe to see some more. We are not just seeing what he saw, but also peeking over the top half-way through.

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