Tag Archives: art

The Light of Italy

19 Apr

We have looked at dozens of paintings in my art history class, but a few have stayed with me without having to revise and quiz myself on them. In the first few weeks, we were looking at the transition from medieval art to Renaissance art, with reference to the characteristics of Byzantine art – so basically, we were looking at the point when artists began trying to capture reality.

These two paintings are actually part of a diptych, which is double-sided, so there are four distinct scenes that are separate but have an obvious relationship. The man is Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482), Duke of Urbino. As well as being a condottieri, or mercenary (sort of almost like a warlord), he known as ‘the light of Italy’ and made major contributions to the humanist movement through his rule, as well as his patronage and encouragement of artistic and scholarly enlightenment. The woman is Battista Sforza, Federico’s wife, who died before him and from all accounts was very much loved by her husband. These are the back panels:

In my class, there were many interpretations; including one of the paintings being a sort of ‘love tribute’ from the Duke to his wife. In the different panels, there are lots of opposite symbols that could be representative of earth and heaven – the Duke is almost tanned and wearing bright red, a colour of vitality, whereas Battista appears ethereal and alabaster in comparison, wearing pearls to demonstrate not only her wealth but an allusion to the attire usually signifying the ‘regina coeli’ (Queen of Heaven), a status usually saved for the Virgin Mary in art. On the back panels, the Duke and his wife are shown in separate carriages being drawn by white horses and unicorns; he is accompanied by the personifications of Glory, Justice, Wisdom, Valour and Moderation; Battista is chaperoned by Faith, Hope, Charity and Chastity.

I suppose the irony is how easily the symbols could reinvent the meaning of the painting, especially after Battista’s death. There is a dichotomy of earth and heaven, which can suddenly represent life and death. The carriages are shown approaching each other, borne by angels and cupids, yet they are still distant; he is approaching light in his gleaming armour, yet she is headed for the sunset clutching her prayer book. It is strange that the painting doesn’t commemorate any sort of occasion that would warrant a portrait – it’s not a marriage, for example. Nor are the couple shown standing together. The distance between them in the painting, and the opposites that define them, are fairly tragic and bittersweet – especially when you consider the fact that the Duke never remarried, and after Battista’s death he pretty much retired from life in general to just sit in his palace. At least with the portrait, it was hinged down the middle; when closed, their faces would look the same way and they would be side by side.

Seeing the painting, I just imagine the Duke sitting alone in his palace waiting for death; the only thing that could reunite him with the woman he loved.

…I can’t believe I am this much of a geek that I am actually getting all sad and romantic over a painting.

multitudinous seas incarnadine

1 Apr

… has been floating around my head all day. Such musical words. A snippet of Shakespeare that I came across in my copy of The Little Red Writing Book, but I’m not sure where it is from originally – bets on the Sonnets though.

I really, really, really wish I: a) knew where my camera is, or b) was rich enough to buy the new one I want, so I could show you all what I got up to today. Spectacular sights galore. So, I have raided google image search for some approximations.

ours were not this pretty

Nath and I met up for lunch; Shanghai Dumpling Restaurant! Prawn and chicken, pork and a big plate of Chinese broccoli. I made a huge mess and, of course, ordered at least five times more than I was capable of eating. Nath summed it up as “okay” – I think it’s only fair to interpret that as “I like yours better”.

We went to Mind Games because he simply needed some Warhammer paints, then stood in a bus shelter talking and watching the traffic lights change; again and again and again. He finally went back to work and it was a bit sad..

Uprisings by kozyndan

Next stop: Outre. I wanted to buy everything. EVERYTHING. Especially this piece by kozyndan (see right); very similar to Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa except for one vital detail – the frothy crests of the waves consist of hundreds of white tumbling bunnies. I want it.. there were a few more giclee prints of Japanese inspired bunny-art by kozyndan as well; maybe I need them all.

Other eye candy included prints by Angelique Houtkamp, the beautiful Mark Ryden, the ubiquitous Shag, a print of Royal Disorder Poison Party by Camille Rose Garcia, and then Niagara who I hadn’t encountered before but loved. I had to restrain myself from calling people who didn’t even care just to tell them how brilliant some of these works were…… which I suppose is sort of what I am doing now. Just one more…

Delfina y Maria by Sylvia Ji - I wanted this one too.

Okay. Being an art wanker = over.

I wandered off to Lincraft to get some supplies and walked away totally disappointed – why oh why do they only stock A4 sheets of horrible acrylic felt? It defies logic.

.. someone's cupcake. mine was cuter this time. and chocolate.

Anyway, my disappointment was so great that I needed to do two things: buy some bamboo knitting needles and a ball of pretty wool to entertain myself with, and a chocolate mini cupcake with cream cheese frosting to nibble whilst wandering around Degraves St. Having previously discussed the virtues of ‘mini-food’ on Facebook (conclusion: everything ‘mini’ is cuter therefore tastier), it seemed necessary.

So. Now we can pretend that all I do in life is look at art, knit and eat cupcakes. I did laundry? Hunted through a dusty garage and dangled preciously from a teetering ladder while hunting for super glue? Spent half an hour scrubbing a pair of particularly gross shoes with an old toothbrush and methylated spirits? Swept up a small mountain of dog hair from the hallway alone? Am currently doing another small mountain of homework? NEVER.

xx

I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE SOME ART NOW PLZ

30 Mar

I don’t know, maybe not.

There is always this struggle; I feel little vibrations in me that feel like they are gathering resources and heading for my hands, wanting to come out somehow, yet my mind always kicks into overdrive with this “what medium? themes? so-and-so is already doing that right now. you don’t have any space here, or resources” rubbish. Then I feel guilty for wanting to create something that isn’t on my to-do list.

Ash Print by Betsy Walton

I found out last night that despite any idea I had about being unique or whatever, I can be summed up by a well-established cinematic trope – the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. It explains a lot, and honestly, I am a little annoyed that I am that predictable that there is an entire host of stock characters just like me.

So anyway -trying, without success, to formulate a plan of action for today. Audrey turned me on to the dangeresque combination of crepes, nutella and frozen berries – now I really, really, really want some. But it involves going to the store… and it is raining… hmmm. Or I could just lay in bed listening to Suzanne’s 8tracks and reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Bah. Grey day. Ignore me.. and watch this instead.

xx