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|作者：英语点津 文章来源：China Daily 点击数：30 更新时间：2017/3/15|
George W Bush’s book of paintings have been praised by one of the nation’s leading art critics, describing the former president’s work as surprisingly sophisticated and warm.
The book, published on February 28, is currently top of The Washington Post’s list of best sellers.
And their chief art critic, Philip Kennicott, said that the 66 portraits of former soldiers, sold in aid of veterans, show the former president honing his craft.
“No matter what you think of George W. Bush, he demonstrates in this book and in these paintings virtues that are sadly lacking at the top of the American political pyramid today: curiosity, compassion, the commitment to learn something new and the humility to learn it in public,” said Mr Kennicott.
In the book, entitled Portraits of Courage: A commander in chief’s tribute to America’s warriors, Mr Bush writes about each of the soldiers he depicted.
“I’m not sure how the art in this volume will hold up to critical eyes,” he writes in the introduction. “After all, I’m a novice. What I am sure of is that each painting was done with a lot of care and respect.”
The 70-year-old says he was inspired by the work of Lucian Freud, Wayne Thiebaud, Jamie Wyeth, Ray Turner, Fairfield Porter and Joaquín Sorolla.
He writes a witty account of how he first took up painting, on leaving the White House.
“For the first time in my sixty-six years, I picked up a paintbrush that wasn’t meant for drywall,” he wrote. “I selected tube of white paint and another labeled Burnt Umber. While I wasn’t aware at the time that it was a color, I liked the name, which reminded me of Mother’s cooking.”
And for each of the subjects, he tells their story with what Mr Kennicott saw as “genuine empathy”.
Describing Cpl. David Smith’s recovery from a suicide attempt, Mr Bush writes: “Dave sought professional counseling and got prescription medication for his anxiety, depression, and nightmares. Having confronted his trauma and learned to understand and accept it, he began building a new life.”
Another of his subjects, Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Goehner, suffered from PTSD.
Mr Bush writes: “Little by little, Chris started to recover. He got down from twelve medications to zero. He realized alcohol didn’t numb the memories but exacerbated them. He started to participate in marathons and triathlons as therapy.”
The profits from the book will be donated to a military and veterans’ initiative run by the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
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