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When Alone and Not Working I...

...Creep along to Sky Arts, where no-one else can see me. Netflicks too. Archer is like durian fruit; you know it's awful but you get used to it and suddenly find you can't stop eating.

There was a programme on last night about Artemisia Gentileschi. I had come across the name before, and just assumed,despite my familiarity with Artemisia as a word, that it was a gender-neutral first name and that the artist was male because in the 17th century that's how it was. But I did note, even then, the difference between this artist and other post-Caravaggio painters. Gentileschi's focus on women was active and powerful, memorably murderous, all bible, blood and baroque.

My favourite painting of hers is Judith and her Maidservant, because after horror and shock most stories simmer down, but that's not what happens here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_Gentileschi#/media/File:Gentileschi_judith1.jpg How can it seem threatening when the deed is done and there's nothing left to fear? But she manages it.

I did not know about her rape, the subsequent trial, the torture, and after all that, years of work to culminate in acceptance of her prowess in art across Europe, her success. It's one hell of a life story, an extraordinary artist, an extraordinary woman.

The documentary pointed towards Gentileschi's depiction of Susannah and the Elders. This story has given so many artists so much mileage for so long, from pornography to puritanism... Susannah's a gorgeous young woman, spotted bathing by two old men who then proceed to try and blackmail her into giving them sexual favours. I've seen a few versions of Susannah's story, and Gentileschi's version does not particularly strike me, except in so much as the villains of the piece may resemble  the man who assaulted her and her father. But what did strike me was that an ensuing google search led to one of the most peculiar versions I have ever seen http://www.smk.dk/en/explore-the-art/highlights/jacob-jordaens-susanna-and-the-elders/

Don't get me wrong, I can see merit in the old men's horrible goblin smiles, and this vast amount of flesh dimpling without shame. Even her rather nasty smirk isn't the issue for me...

It's her head. Am I the only one who sees it? Her head.

Her tiny tiny head.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 23rd, 2016 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Jordaens. I can't help but refer to some very old wank in the LotR fandom: My hed is pastede on yay! It's not the only one of his paintings where the head doesn't seem to belong to the body. He never recovered from being influenced by Mannerism.
Sep. 24th, 2016 08:16 am (UTC)
This is the first I knew of him. Shocking stuff!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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