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10 April 2012 @ 12:00 pm
Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012)  
Thomas Kinkade passed away a couple of days ago. While I'm never happy when another human dies, I am delighted that he's no longer producing his saccharine art. His self-proclaimed title as "The Painter of Light" always rubbed me the wrong way, since anyone with a basic understanding of how light works and reacts to the environment can see that he always got it egregiously wrong. Worse still, this magical light never imbued his images with a sense of drama, as in Caravaggio’s oeuvre, nor did it capture the ephemeral moment so desperately sought by Impressionists like Monet or Renoir. They were just pretty little pictures of cottages and waterfalls that might work as a background in an animated film, but lack the strength to stand alone.

I don’t know what people saw in his art, but I suspect that many of his customers bought him because he was marketed as a Christian artist. It’s not as if his work is any more Christian than the landscapes or scenic vistas of other painters. Never mind that he had a drinking problem (I would bet a large sum of money that alcohol abuse was the direct cause of his death) and from accounts that have surfaced over the years that he can be very belligerent and rude. Ignore the questionable business practices of his art company, who have been criticized multiple times over the years by Kinkade Gallery franchisees for failing to disclose critical information to investors and forcing unsalable inventory on gallery owners. Somehow, the man’s art has ended up heavily promoted in every Berean store I’ve ever visited, and I can’t fathom why other than some brilliant marketing guy figured out there was a niche waiting to be exploited.

His death seemed to be very sudden and unexpected, and I really feel sorry for his family. Oddly, until his obituary ran in the newspaper I had no idea he was a local resident who lived only a few minutes away from my work.

Rest in peace, Mr. Kinkade.


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