‘The speaker or writer of words about pictures can be regarded as having an immense responsibility. Words, labelling pictures, explaining pictures, inspired or prompted by pictures, can range from the authoritative titles coined by artists or patrons to lengthy accounts by critics or art historians.’
Professor Andrew Laird
Les Dem is a breakthrough attempt to grapple at one time with Picasso’s great painting – Les Demoiselles D’Avignon – a turning point in art history, with Cubism – the greatest historical shift in perspective since the Renaissance and with art studies. Orde uses this work as an example of how to look in depth at art, to develop ones appreciation for all art, and he does so in a long poetic work.
Professor Laird continues his thoughts about Les Dem: ‘They [words] can range from official captions in museums to journalistic or poetic expositions. All these discourses whatever their genre or function prompt us to see what we see when we look at a picture…. Ekphrasis is the name now generally given to a literary or rhetorical description of a work of visual art. A long tradition of ekphrasis stretches back to the description of the imaginary shield of Achilles in Homer’s Iliad…. The language of ekphrasis (the connotative language of poetry), in being more open and suggestive in itself, in turn opens, suggests and inspires multiple possibilities of viewing. Such possibilities are offered to us, not forced upon us. The following passage – which could have been taking at random – from Orde Levinson’s Ekphrasis serves to show how this can work.’
This publication includes the ekphrasis Les Dem along with the essay ‘Offer Something’ on it by Professor Laird and reproductions of the Les Demoiselles D’Avignon and Rembrandt’s Bathsheba at Her Bath, and Cranach the Elder’s David and Bathsheba and is a unique work of art in itself.