On perfection – two quotes and a short visual commentary

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection”
Michelangelo
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
Salvador Dali
This year the Edexcel examination board set an A level art exam paper called ‘Flaws, Perfection, Ideals or Compromises’. In the era of the selfie, and where so many images are blatantly photoshopped to remove every facial flaw, I admire the examiners for selecting a title that provided sixth formers with the starting point from which to seriously investigate beneath the presented surface.

Obviously, there is a philosophical component to the exam theme too and surely any received notion of perfection is dependent on cultural, religious and contemporary expectations, and, dare I say it, always subjective. And, once we start to look we very quickly find plenty of makers who have chosen to work towards or work against ideas of perfection.

And, finally . . .

Vanitas-18th-century-Wellcome