Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love and the Human Soul

~ Amore e Psiche ~, originally uploaded by dujarandille.

While searching around for James Tissot's paintings, I came upon this statue, Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Antonio Canova. This can be found in the Louvre and now I remember this as I remember being struck in awe over The Winged Victory of Samothrace. Winged Victory stood out more since it was so much older (190 BC) and I marveled at the movement of the piece. Not only could you feel the sea breeze, but you could tell it was a damp sea breeze. At the time, in 1984, I was 18 years old and developed the deep appreciation for statues. Some people get hung up on where the head or arms are. Fate or circumstances collaborated with the artist to edit the form to its essential being. To me, Winged Victory of Samothrace is absolutely perfect as it is.

Canova's Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss is more conventially beautiful and intact, but still impactful. Psyche's gaze upward and Cupid's tender examination of her face creates a moment where stone isn't stone. This moment is not unlike the moment created in Dore's Enigma between the angel and the Spinx. Instead of the Spinx' paw on the angel's head, you have Cupid cupping her head in his hand. Knowing the legend of Cupid and Psyche adds another layer to this piece. Their daughter is Delight or Goddess of "sensual pleasure," but the relationship between Cupid and Psyche is plagued with problems. Psyche's future Mother-in-law, Goddess of Love, is jealous by her beauty and perhaps doesn't think a mere mortal is good enough for her son. So she devises tests and tricks, which Psyche for the most part passes with help from those who are taken with her. She falls into sleep when she opens the box that was supposed to have beauty in it, but only had a sleep spell. Her vanity sets up this moment where Cupid brings her back from sleep. One could say that this moment in the story portrays how immortality and the divinity appeciates the human soul even in its imperfection.

Thanks dujarandille for taking this photo and capturing its spirit. Photographing a statue requires the ability to find that certain angle and lighting that brings out the essence of the piece. I think dujarandille does this and his sepia filter gives it the sense of romance and warms up the statue.

At some point, I am going to have to share with you my impressions of my visit to see Michaelangelo's David and his unfinished pieces in Florence, Italy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

WTF Pablo?!?

"Pablo Picasso was never called an a**hole" - Burning Sensations by way of The Modern Lovers

In 1907 Pablo Picasso and his girlfriend Fernande Olivier adopted a 13 year old orphan, Raymonde (one source has her being 10 years old). They adopted her after childless Fernande nagged Pablo to adopt an orphan. How hard could it be as Matisse had a 13 year old daughter? Again, with the rivalry with Matisse. It took only 4 months to figure out that this girl was just getting in the way. In Wayne Andersen's Picasso's brothel: les demoiselles d'Avignon cites that Pablo did some sketches of Raymonde that were disturbing in its sexual undertones (ew!). Biographers get the impression that Raymonde herself may have picked up on the creepy vibes from daddy Pablo. It has also been pointed out that Pablo dated younger and younger women. The sketch on the left here was a sketch of Raymonde on May 1907.

This couple didn't have the courage to send her back themselves. They got their friend Max Jacob to do the deed. He took her to the orphanage where the workers told him he was a bad father and that if he goes through this he cannot adopt again. Raymonde cries. Max cries. Max takes Raymonde for a meal, but ultimately he has to dump her at the orphange. Max covered for Pablo and Fernande while they never really treated him well. Pablo and Fernande end up breaking up anyway and later Pablo cites that they really broke up over Raymonde.

When the Nazis came to take Max away for being Jewish (even though he converted to Catholicism years prior) Pablo did nothing to help his friend. WTF, Pablo. Practice cowardice much?

I may very well end up reading several biographies to figure out what happened and WTF is wrong with you. I love your work. I was close to being 18 in 1984 when I took the AP European History exam where one of the essay questions asked me to analyze Guernica. My heart danced, my eyes brightened, and I said to myself, "Cake!" I rocked that essay and ever since loved that painting. That painting is timeless as it describes the horror of war and the innocence of the civilians who get caught in the crossfire. How can someone so brilliant can be such an (shall I say it) a**hole? I will probably end up reading about your biggest supporter, Gertrude Stein, too. She indulged you like so many others because of your brilliance.
My thoughts turn to Raymonde. What happened to Raymonde? Born in 1894, she is most likely dead. Did she survive the Flu epidemic? Did she survive WWII? That could be an interesting story.

It's Uku-Licious Baby

At the end of April I bought myself a Kala Tenor Ukulele (KA-TEM) at a local music store. This uke stood out with its beautiful grain patterns and when i plucked it the sound was warm and full. It was on sale for $124.00 so I took it home. Almost immediately I printed out songs from the internet and went about learning songs and building callouses. For the longest time I longed to play an instrument and the uke is small enough for my short fingers. When I get into the groove of a song it is such a high for me. I am still a year or two away from really being able to perform anything. At this point I have to get my friends drunk before I play for them. So when I bring my uke, I also bring a bottle of booze.