Nick GaetanoThis is a featured page



Nick Gaetano is well known, but rarely discussed among readers of Ayn Rand's books. His illustrations were used for the 35th Anniversary edition covers of The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, The Romantic Manifesto, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, The Virtue of Selfishness and many others. His body of work includes images heavily influenced by artistic approaches such as impressionism, abstract expressionism, cubism and folk-art. His entire body of work is a collection of a few styles without connection and little variety between works within the same style.

Objectivist Content:

Gaetano's Art-Deco influenced works are the only pieces that can be said to contain Objectivist ideas. This consists mainly of sharp edges and an attempt at a positive portrayal of humanity rendered with bold colors.

Non-Objectivist Content:

It seems only with an extreme sense of irony that Nick Gaetano was ever chosen to illustrate Ayn Rand's novels. Despite this cover art, there is very little about his work that lives up to the standard of Objectivist Art. The lack of solid principles held by The Fountainhead's Peter Keating and the same lack of solid principles held by Nick Gaetano are embarrassingly similar. Superficially, a portion of Gaetano's work imitates the Art Deco style which was popular in New York architecture at the time The Fountainhead takes place, and yet beyond this there appears to be nothing about his work which can be said to convey Objectivist values. Gaetano's other work, which makes up the most of his oeuvre, borrows heavily from artists, styles and movements such as cubism, impressionism, folk art and abstraction--all of which Ayn Rand denounces as the opposite of a rational artistic approach. She argues that they are an aesthetic of mysticism and naturalism--the opposite of Romantic Realism (her term for art which represents Objectivist values.)

...Ayn Rand states reasons why an Objectivist Standard of art leads to better art, and yet, this work is of poor quality despite meeting the obvious criteria for Objectivist Art. What went wrong? A more in depth examination of the work is required to find the problems. Ultimately, the problem can be explained as bad premises.

1.) Poor realism

The bad premise at work here is that realism must be or can be compromised for expression or for effect. A common flaw in his work is inaccurately depicted anatomy, for instance, the abdomen muscles on the figure from the cover of The Romantic Manifesto. This is either a failure to learn anatomy, or worse, disregarding the knowledge in lieu of incorrectness with the belief that incorrectness is somehow better than correctness.

flat and unreal

Realism is important to the extent that it is the means of fully concretizing abstractions.

adhere to the realism necessary to fully concretize abstractions) may have been a belief in the relative unimportance of realism in contrast to stylization for the purpose of expression.

2.) Lack of Color variety - incomplete abstraction
4.) Meaningless Composition - Ill-considered abstraction


Associated Movements:

Associated Artists:
Ayn Rand

Associated Art Writers:
Ayn Rand


External Links:

Nick Gaetano's Website:


protected by copyright


No user avatar
Latest page update: made by justin_louis , Dec 16 2007, 2:12 PM EST (about this update About This Update justin_louis Edited by justin_louis

17 words added
1 word deleted

view changes

- complete history)
Keyword tags: Ayn Rand illustator painter
More Info: links to this page
There are no threads for this page.  Be the first to start a new thread.

Related Content

  (what's this?Related ContentThanks to keyword tags, links to related pages and threads are added to the bottom of your pages. Up to 15 links are shown, determined by matching tags and by how recently the content was updated; keeping the most current at the top. Share your feedback on WikiFoundry Central.)