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The Day of the Painter
Der Tag des Malers
dir. Werner Nekes / Germany 1997 / 84’
subtitles: Polish and English


Kirsten Dressler, Heide Jansen, Maria Masciulli, Judith Verberne

Film description

Here, Nekes examines the relationship between painter and model. Beginning with a 16th-century drawing by Albrecht Dürer of an artist using a grid frame and a simple tool for determining perspective to draw a half-naked female model, in subsequent, unhurried sequences Nekes builds on the theme of viewing a subject through a grid frame to explore the intimacy of artists’ views of their models. Nekes voyages through art history – from Dürer, through Matisse and Seurat, to Duchamp and Courbet, exploring the erotic and aesthetic dimension of female nudity, emphasising the voyeurism that is present in the painter’s work and in cinema. Just as the artist is a voyeur to his model, the viewer – through the intermediation of the camera – becomes a voyeur, as well. Nekes fully provides this sensation in the final scene, where he cites the famous The Origin of the World by Courbet. Inspiration from painting is just as important to Nekes as are the technical possibilities of the cinematic medium – it is through them that this classic subject is given a new form of representation. A formal experiment, The Day of the Painter is an integral part of the German artist’s exploration of cinematography.

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