Art History --Part One - Portraits of an Agenda
Having spent a fair amount of time in the last couple of weeks in art museums, I thought it only fair that I share a bit the vast culture which I have absorbed. Last week I was able to view the collection of paintings and sculpture at the Legion of Honor is San Francisco, and through the miracle of digital photography, and a few bribes to security, I'm now able to bring them to you, arranged thematically, not by region or chronology.
Much of the history of art is actually the history of men trying to get a look at some naked babes. Yet no matter what the subject might be, we can observe that the painter allows the agenda of his subject to peek through.
Here we see a portrait of a Dutch noblewoman by
Hoopla Van Der Hooven, and the title of the painting
gives us a clue as to what the painter was trying to convey.
You Are Not Gettin' Any -- Hooven - 1768
Contrast the dire attitude of Hooven's painting,
with this following series by Sir Joshua Reynolds of
Anne Viscountess Townshend of Flautenshire.
I AM SO GOING TO DO YOU - Reynolds 1788
In this first painting we see Anne engaging the artist,
who it is obvious she was about to go down on --
the custom of the day for ending a coffee date.
Here, in a painting from two years later, we see a more
controlled, experienced Anne, conveying her message
with both power and thinly-veiled desperation.
CHECK OUT MY TALL, GOT-MY-FREAK-ON HAIR - Reynolds 1790
Here, in a portrait painted twenty minutes later,
we see how Reynolds has captured the minutes
in between, without actually showing them.
(Note the combination of the satisfied smile
the obvious sex hair.)
REMEMBERANCE OF A MOMENT MOST SQUISHY - Reynolds 1790
Yet, to think that the art of the period was
singularly concerned with the sublimation of sex,
or simple gratitude that no one had invented scratch and sniff,
witness the portrait below of Joshua Reynolds himself
by the English painter Turner
DUDE, I AM SO FUCKING BAKED - Turner 1783
Also on the theme of a hidden agenda, in the portrait
of a Belgiun nobleman by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis
we see the subject attempting to convey his business acumen
by holding a quill, but again, this is not the message we
get from the painting.
HOW'S MY PACKAGE LOOK? - Joseph-Siffred Dupliessis 1777
But it is in their portrayal of the children of time that we see
the true agenda below the surface of the people of the late
18th century, evinced in this painting by Flemish painter Jan VanLoo.
CREEPY LITTLE KIDS PLANNING A TERRORIST ATTACK- VanLoo - 1792
The well-earned distrust of children continued well into the next century,
illustrated in this painting by Renoir from the 1870s.
LITTLE KID HURTING A KITTY -- Renoir - 1870
Stay tuned for our next lesson, when we will examine the artistic theme of "Dude, I can totally see her bazooms!"