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In my oppinion the more we know about the life AND times of an artist, the
better we can understand not only the work, but the human experience, history
of our civilization, other cultures...the questions of life in general.
I believe this bigger picture of understanding beyond the work is what
fascinates and enriches our lives. I feel we can better understand the human
psyche when we can see how for instance, WWII influenced the art during and
shortly after. Look at the abstract expressionist movement and see what the war
did to us. Or look at the Renaissance and see how the strife, the plaque, the
pope and religion, etc., effected human conscience.