Class Day 5

No class tonight.

I feel guilty that relieved, although this will mean that I have a week’s break before starting weekend classes at GMU Tech Advantage campus in Arlington.

However, I still had to submit the class exercise that was due tonight:

Bring to class a two-page description of what you think your story or essay will be about, what information you’ve found so far, and what information you still need to find.


My topic is Jackson Pollock. My aim is to show how the work of Jackson Pollock is strongly rooted in the art of the Renaissance.

Jackson Pollock’s training from Thomas Hart Benton in the 1930’s created a sensibility to the art of the Renaissance (especially Tintoretto) which was always present in Pollock’s art even when it was abstract.

The influence of Benton over Pollock ends when Benton leaves New York, and Pollock marries Lee Krasner.

Even though Pollock and Krasner publicly deny any debt to Benton, Pollock is still privately talking about Renaissance art.

This is the conflicting thread of the story.

I thought I would have difficulty associating Pollock with Tintoretto, but I found this quote about one evening when Pollock was at the height of his career:

       Jack brought out Cahiers d’Art and analyzed Tintoretto in great detail, explaining the composition of this and that; what he was doing was bringing me pure Tom Benton: Venetian       Renaissance to Tom Benton, Tom to Jack.. He talked especially about the composition that night, and Lee Krasner came down several times to say, ‘Jackson, come back to bed…’ But we were on until dawn with Jack describing Tintoretto… (Abrams p177)

Now the story becomes not about if Pollock was influenced by Tintoretto, but about how he was influenced and why we have conflicting information about the influence.


Source materials I have used so far:

Pollock. Dir. Ed Harris.  With Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Jeffrey Tambor, Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2001

Thomas Hart Benton. Dir. Ken Burns. With Henry Adams, Thomas Hart Benton, Arthur Danto, Burl Ives, Hilton Kramer. PBS Paramount. 2004

Pollock, Jackson. American Letters: 1927 – 1945. Polity, 2011.

Abrams, Henry Thomas Hart Benton: Discoveries and Interpretations. Columbia: University of Missouri, 2015.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Pollock and Tintoretto (Renaissance) art.

Source materials I have access to but still need to use:

Pollock sketchbooks from Met Museum of Art and related materials

Archives for American Art: Benton. Krasner and Pollock archives.


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