Posts Tagged ‘art’

Close Your Eyes and Hope to Die

In 1, art on January 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

The Raft of Medusa by Theodore Gericault, 1819

This painting seems melodramatic, and frankly not relevant to life today but as a poor substitute for an action movie. But NOT SO FAST buddy-oh, this painting has some conceptual undertones which can relate to some very contemporary issues.

The subject is a true story. A ship called ‘La Meduse’ crashed off the West coast of Africa, carrying some future French colonists. However, when it became clear that the ship would sink, the officers took the lifeboats and escaped, leaving 150 people to cast out on a raft. With only 15 of 150 people rescued, the French public were shocked by tales of cannibalism and gruesome conditions at sea.

It was the greatest tragedy after Napoleons escapades in Russia.

It also raised a few feathers among the public because it showed how the ‘little people’ got screwed over by the authorities. This post-revolution France who has seen a republic become an empire become a monarchy again. No authority was absolutely certain anymore, but this painting served as a sharp reminder that ancien régime hierarchies had not changed much at all.

Now where does that feature today? After a brief skim of the economist, it seems that the little people will be paying for the over-educated rich.

In the painting, there is a crescendo of hope, beginning with a father contemplating his dead son, and slowly rising to a figure standing and waving a flag. But there is no sign of a ship in the horizon. Is this false hope?

Are these people so desperate to survive that they will believe anything this self-appointed leader says?

Perhaps this could be a bit of a joke on Gericault’s part, the little people get screwed over once, only for it to happen again.


Giorgione – The Renaissance’s Dark Horse

In 1, art, Poetry, Renaissance on December 9, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Today, in a sleepy History of Art lesson, a slide of Giorgione’s Tempesta c.1508 shook me out of post-pub fatigue.

The hangover slid away to the deep green and the strangeness of this picture.

It looked like a scene of some magic fantasy, not all good. Somehow I related to this scene, which is strange because the idea of breastfeeding gives me shivers, and Italian scenery is hardly familiar.

Giorgione (1477 – 1510), was born Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco, but like a lot of painters shortened his name. I guess artists names were one of the first types of slogan.

Gombrich agrees:

“Giorgione has not drawn things and persons to arrange them afterwards in space, but he thought of nature, the earth, the trees, the light, air and clouds and the human beings with their cities and bridges as one. … From now on, painting was more than drawing plus coloring. It was art with its own secret laws and devices.”

There are only 5 paintings left known to be of Giorgione. He is one of the most elusive painters of the Italian Renaissance. Contemporary of Titian in Venice, Competing with Michelangelo and Raphael in Rome, he did not produce such a volume of work. Even the size is smaller, the Tempesta is barely bigger than an A3 piece of paper.

I think this multiplies the mystery of the woman’s stare – the lightning bolt.

The Best of Edible Fashion – Jean Paul Gaultier

In Contemporary Art, Fashion on November 17, 2009 at 11:53 pm

The Best of Edible Fashion


Breasts in dough, corsets out of breadsticks – every man’s dream really.