01 February 2008

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a Renaissance man.

There's an interesting article in the NY Times today about "Artistic Muscle, Flexed for The Medici." It's a nice little flashback to SACI, but without the dead-out run, followed by hours of standing in a church or palazzo or piazza or field that usually accompanied such information. After reading Ross King's Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, dozens of articles and getting schooled by Helen, I'm quite familiar with Michelangelo and his general brilliant misery, but it was a nice refresher about the Michelangelini - the students and artists who toiled in Michelangelo's shadow... like, say, Pontormo and his creepy Mannerist style. What stands out in memory is the Deposition fresco in Santa Felicità (where Helen, our professor, came this close to interrupting a funeral service, but we ended up getting lunch and someone sneaked a huge slice of Nutella cake into the church). The bright pastels colors don't hide the weird, ethereal and transgender qualities to the fresco. It's unsettling in a way. Bearing that in mind, I was surprised to see this drawing by Pontormo - it's... very modern; made of movement. Full of surprises, that crazy Pontormo!

And apparently (though not surprisingly), most of these artists lived "tortured existences." Rosso Fiorentino died an apparent suicide, Pontormo lived in anti-social solitude, and Michelangelo was an asexual, grumpyass bastard for all of his 88 years. I should really try to check out Vasari's Lives of Artists... I imagine it's like a very well-written Renaissance version of a weekly tabloid.

If I weren't headed back to the central hub of these artists in 80-ish days(!), I would consider catching the show in NY... but I'll be up to my eyeballs in Renaissance art soon enough...

"Michelangelo designed this very panino. It is considered one of the most perfect sandwiches in the history of mankind. Here are the original sketches, as well as 498 letters to his brothers and father describing the pain involved in creating this lunch commission. No eating, please."


Eryn said...

pontormo became one of my fav renaissance paintings on the day of that field trip. although i enjoyed the frescoes he painted in that monastery that we first visited....i love the painting in Santa Felicita. and I'm so glad you remembered the name of that church bc i so couldn't and I just put it on my list of to do's in florence......and of course you'll come to. gah i'm so selfish!

and that nutella cake was grand in more than one ways.....besides tasting great it was free. the "bad" girl in our class bought it and was about to throw it away until i gave her a look of horror and she said, "oh, do you want it, cuz i don't" yes.....i grabbed it and started taking huuugge bites. when we entered i had only eaten about a fourth of it when it fell from my hands and almost splatted on the marble floors but didn't bc it clung to the wax paper it was wrapped in.

I just remember saying, "help!! help!" to cecily. she helped and then said, "dang, we almost had a big piece of doodie fall on the floor!"

oh cecily!

Alec said...

I didn't know the cake story was so complex! All I knew was that I turned around and you were daintily trying to eat it... like the lady you are. The lady that brings cake into a Renaissance church...

It looked really good, though. I'll give you that.

Oh Cecily, indeed! She was full of surprises.