Whenever one is confronted with the random squiggles and daubs that are a feature of “modern” art, there is an irresistible impulse to say dismissively “Looks like something my kid could do”.

Because it’s true.

I defy anyone to argue otherwise when seeing this travesty in what is quite possibly the world’s most cultured city.  (via Insty, thankee Sarah… I think)

Fucking hell.

Silken Drapes

I have always been fascinated, not to say turned on, by the appearance of the female form when loosely covered with soft, diaphanous materials such as silk, satin or linen.  Here’s an example of what I mean, that of a statue of Callipygian Venus, in the Louvre:

The nineteenth-century American sculptor William Wetmore Story specialized in the form, seen here with his Cleopatra Reclining:

…and Semiaramis:

That last pic I took myself when the statue was on display at the Dallas Museum of Art, and I stared at it for ages.

Story, by the way, had this to say about sculpture in general:

Quite so.

Nowadays, of course, such wondrous sights are few and far between, and pretty much confined to photography.  Although there is this lovely picture of Mr. and Mrs. David Bowie:

…wherein even the bony Angela looks quite appealing, most such pictures seem to need backlighting:

…while most (shall we say) are more prurient:

Honestly?  I prefer Story’s sculptures to all of them.

Hidden Depths

I have to admit that while I can appreciate Renaissance art — paintings, I mean, not the sculptures, which I love — I’ve always found the old guys to be a little too much on the Christian thing.  I mean, how many Madonna w/Baby Jesus renderings are there?

Take Agostino Carracci, for example.  Here’s his “Judith As Woman” work, which should make her the idol of ultra-feminists everywhere:

Then there’s the “Last Communion of St. Jerome”, which may have been big news back in the day, but which is not that relevant in today’s world.

Happily, Carracci (Agostino, not his several brothers, sons and cousins — all artists themselves) didn’t just confine himself to religious themes.  Here’s his “Landscape with Bathers”:

…wait, what’s that detail over on the right?

Nekkid bodies?  With no carefully-draped linen (see Jerome, above) to disguise their nekkidness?

Well;  it turns out that ol’ Aggie had a whole ‘nother body of work in the I Modi school, which probably gave people fits. I’m not quite sure how many of the examples below are his — the style varies, and some were printed from his woodcuts — but here are a few:

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RFI: Artist

I need some help, and I have no idea where to start.  Observe this oil painting:

All I know about it is mostly supposition:

  • the unknown artist is supposedly Iranian (or perhaps Persian, back when it was painted)
  • he was supposedly a court painter for the Shah of Iran/Persia
  • the painting is one of a small series — this one is called, I think, “Green”, and others are likewise entitled “Blue”, “Red”, etc.
  • it’s quite large:  60″x48″
  • it was purchased sometime during the 1980s, from a gallery in Los Angeles.

That’s all I know.  I’ve looked and looked all over Teh Intarwebz, but nada.

If anyone can shed light on the piece, or tell me where I can look further, I’d be eternally grateful.

Lunch On The Grass

It was a popular theme, for a while:  people having a picnic lunch en plain air, in some park or other.  Here’s (I think) the best-known example of “Dejeuner sur l’herbe”, painted by Edouard Manet:

(all pics can be right-clicked/embiggened)

His similarly named contemporary Claude Monet also did one (albeit less shockingly):

…and Paul Cézanne did two:

  (I’m pretty sure the second was painted during his Drunken Phase, but whatever.)

Here’s Marcel Dyf’s pair:

…although it must be said that Dyf had a thing about barely-pubescent girls, the dirty old sod.

Of course, Picasso had to add his two pesetas:

…while Egon Schiele went off-script completely:

Some American guy followed the trend:

…but he cocked it up completely, i.e. no nudity — I’m frankly surprised that he had wine in the pic.

The theme has continued into the modern era, mostly through photography (here’s Robert Doisneau):

…and in glorious (?) color:

…and even as a party theme:

There’s been some modern art on the topic, of course. Here’s Chinese artist Yue Minjun:

…which made me howl with laughter.  Absolutely brilliant satire.

There was even a French movie entitled “Dejeuner sur l’herbe”.  Here’s a still:

And yes, that was yesterday’s Caption Competition pic.