Monday, November 26, 2007

Images from Italy

[NB: The following contains images from art history that depict nudity. I will refrain from further comment at this time if you have a problem with that.]

No, this is not a post of photos I took. That will come later... maybe.

For those of you who don't know (which would be almost all of you if more people read my blog, Jason), I just got back from Italy with my family. It was a good experience. We had great weather, saw tons of amazing art, spent a ton of time walking around with the family, ate gelato (ice cream), took some great pictures, walked a ton, dealt with children, family dynamics, bedbugs, exhaustion, cramped seating, the smell of natural gas leaking from the heating units, virtual starvation, high exchange rates, and customs.

All in all, the Duomo and the David were the most impressive things we saw, but this is not a post about them. They're famous. I'm going to post about the three images that I personally liked to look at. Don't get me wrong, there are much more amazing works of art, but these were ones that stuck with me in a "warm and fuzzy" kind of way.

First, one that I only saw in postcards, bookmarks, and diary covers was Bouguereau's "First Kiss".

Perhaps I'm a sap, or maybe I'm just looking forward to having a cute little girl of my own, but I think the little girl (with moth wings, making her a... "mothgel"?) is simply adorable. This is not done by any of the "old masters", but I like it.

Second, while walking through the private corridor from the Uffizi, we buzzed past this image:

I fell in love with it right away. However, since we weren't allowed to use a flash or a tripod and there was no placard with information, it took me a while to figure out what it was--Reni's "Susanna and the Elders". After poking around a bit, I found this image, also by Reni:

I like the second better because her face is more striking, even if the colors are muted. Although, it is frustrating when an artist does multiple renditions of his own work that are so similar. Even so, in my search I found the following quote amusing as well:

"The story [of Sussana] is a complex narrative of sexual desire and visual temptation, female chastity and masculine law. During the Renaissance the dramatic focus on the moment of the woman's nakedness while bathing exposed to a lecherous conspiracy emphasized the sexual, voyeuristic and visually violating aspects of the theme, while providing a biblical and even theological justification for the painting of an erotic female nude, a genre that was emerging in this period, shifting the connotations of the female nude from its traditional iconographic association with Truth towards its modern signification of (masculine) desire and its privileged visuality" [Griselda Pollock].

Last, I really liked the following scene by Sarto:

My sister told me that she wasn't as impressed because it looked like everyone was "searching for a lost shoe" instead of mourning the death of Christ. I can see that. I'm really not impressed with the overall picture either. However, I really like how Mary Magdalene looks. In fact, I'd prefer just a poster of her, but I had to do that myself.

It is mildly interesting to me to note that the art I like contains pictures I like of girls. I like cute girls. I didn't need to fly half-way 'round the world to realize that, but it was nice to be reminded.

~Luke Holzmann


Anthony said...

Luke the second painting with the less striking colors is a copy -

Luke said...

Thanks, Anthony!