Every philosopher has a hobby; this is mine.
This is an ongoing painting series, aiming to create portraits of a variety of philosophers in (something like) the style of a like-minded artist, often from a similar time period. Each of the paintings in the series is 11"x14", most are oil on canvas. Some original paintings are still available here. At last update, these include Plato, Du Bois, Camus, Nietzsche, Stevenson, Bentham, and Hume.
I'm always open to suggestions for philosophers and/or artists to tackle next (renee.bolinger[at]usc.edu). Current works-in-progress include Leibniz, PF Strawson, Cavendish, and Geach.
If you like the pieces and want to decorate your office (or department walls) with them, there are prints, mugs, and various other forms of each piece available at my storefront. If you like them all, the Philosopher Portraits Calendars might be perfect for you. Large-scale posters of some of the pieces are available here.
Cave Drawings Plato. Paired with the Lascaux cave drawings, as a reflection of Plato's famous allegory. In progress.
Reflected Forms Plato. Paired with Andy Warhol's screenprint style, since his fascination with the degradation of the image through screenprinting echoes Plato's analysis of the forms as imperfectly reflected in the material world.Get a print →
On the Nature of ThingsAristotle. Paired with DaVinci's sketchbook style, for their similarly exacting studies of nature.Get a print →
Contingent Cooccurrence David Hume. Paired with Eduardo Paolozzi, whose mosaic style reflects Hume's dictum that there are no necessary connections between distinct essences.Get a print →
Man with a Book Immanuel Kant. Paired with Pablo Picasso, since both focused a great deal of their work on the obstacles to direct perception of the external world.Get a print →
Frozen Delights Jeremy Bentham. Paired with Wayne Thiebaud, largely for Bentham's emphasis on hedonist utilitarianism, but partly also for his famous desires concerning the preservation of his body upon death.Get a print →
"The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self..." Soren Kierkegaard. In the style of Roy Lichtenstein.Get a print →
Evening Star Gottlob Frege. Paired with Van Gogh's Starry Night, as a pun on Frege's famous puzzle about the significance of learning that "Hesperus is Phosphorus."
Propositional Structures Bertrand Russell. Rendered in an Art-Deco style.Get a print →
FrameworksRudolf Carnap. Paired with László Moholy-Nagy, whose work Carnap considered most in line with the spirit of his own.Get a print →
Logical Space Ludwig Wittgenstein. Paired with Piet Mondrian, for their similar beliefs about the logic of space.
Ecce Homo Friedrich Nietzsche. Paired with Paul Klee, for their similar emphasis on delight in primitive forms.
Struggle of the Towers WEB Du Bois. Paired with Aaron Douglas, for many reasons: their careers were closely connected, and both focused their work on the double-consciousness of Black Americans in a predominantly white society.
Self-Construction Simone De Beauvoir. Paired with Frida Kahlo for their shared interest in self-portrayal and the social construction of femininity.
Meh. Albert Camus, paired with Edvard Munch's The Scream.
An Honest Look Iris Murdoch. Paired with Lucian Freud, for similar emphasis on avoiding idealization.
Logic and Computability Kurt Gödel. Rendered in the Art-Nouveau style, for its emphasis on recursion.
Formulaic, v.1 Ruth Barcan Marcus. In the style of Roy Lichtenstein, an artist whose work is similarly focused on the analysis of a particular formula.
Formulaic, v.2 Ruth Barcan Marcus. In the style of Roy Lichtenstein, but composed as the converse to the first.
Expressive Discord C.L. Stevenson, paired with Barnett Newman’s ‘Concord’, for their parallel interest in the logic of expressive forms.
Desert Landscapes WVO Quine. Paired with Salvador Dali, based on a shared preference for desert landscapes.
Chisholming Roderick Chisholm. Paired with Alberto Giaccometti for shared habits of proceeding by a succession of small revisions. In progress.
Action Philosophy GEM Anscombe. Paired with Jackson Pollock, an American action painter; the work of each centers on the nature and consequences of action.
The Original Position John Rawls. Paired with Rene Magritte, whose work abstracts from the individualizing features of actual subjects in a way that renders them interchangable, but still seemingly masculine.
The Virtues of Study Philippa Foot. Paired with Toulouse Lautrec.
Let Many Flowers Bloom David Lewis. Based on Van Gogh's portrait of a Postman, on account of Lewis' tolerance of a plethora of views.
The 21st Century MonadsCover art for an upcoming 21st Century Monads album.