Lovers in the Snow, Roy Moyer, 1980, American Art Museum. While perusing the other Smithsonian art museum's online collection, I was brought to a standstill by this contemporary painting. Always a sucker for unusal compositions, I was captivated by the yawning yet inviting circle of white. I enjoyed the "hunt" my eye had to go on to find the small, innocuous couple in love blending into trees on the side. Why do you think the artist would place them there, instead of in the middle of the painting? Perhaps as if to say,"Keep passing by!...But if you happen to catch a little bit of our tenderness on your way out, we won't care. We've got each other."
Painter's Honeymoon, Lord Frederic Leighton. ca. 1864. Sigh. It's GORGEOUS!
One of my all-time favorite Victorian paintings! While meandering through the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last spring, I fell in love at first sight with this scene. Apparently, to THIS artist, love quite literally equated with art. Oh what a life he must have lead. Notice the amazing details of her silks, and how her curving body just leads your eye right into their touching cheeks and back down to their clasped hands. LOVE!
The Green Stripe, Henri Matisse, 1905. Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark. You may be wondering why this fierce-looking image earned a place on my blog during the love post, well I'll tell you. This is actually one of my favorite legends in art history (I heard it in my Intro to Humanities class, where I was first enchanted by art history's powerful emotions). The Green Stripe is a picture of the artist's wife. How would you like to be rendered that way by your honey? Well, we don't think she minded. See, Henri Matisse was a Fauvist, meaning a "wild beast" of an artist. He was given that name by a critic because of the crazy way he used his colors. He pioneered the use of colors not as they are found in nature, but rather, as symbols of his own personal feelings. Green, as it turns out, was Matisse's color for love! He painted his wifey with a green line down her face because he wanted to show that he loved her. (Incidentally, the Oriental-looking bun and kimono outfit were just a fad. Japan had just recently opened up to Western traders, and French women were crazy about "Japonisme" fashion at the turn of the century). Green's my favorite color, too, Matisse (well, green and grey). I was actually bent on getting an emerald engagement ring for like a year after hearing this story- emeralds, carat for carat, are actually more valuable than diamonds, did you know that?
Happy Single Awareness Day (Happy SAD Day??)
Untitled, Clyfford Still, 1935, The Hirshhorn Museum. Sad indeed. 'Nuff said. Thought I'd throw it in :) I want to know what that slightly anthropomorphic stick on the right side of the canvas is... a memory? A demon? A hat stand?
Indian Love Call, Hassel Smith, 1961, Hirshhorn Museum. I really have no idea what this one's about but it's grey and about Indian love, so I figured I'd throw it in the SAD category. Once a week I go and eat at the Mitisam Native Foods Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian (the newest Smithsonian museum) and it is just delightful to see all of these different cooking methods and weird types of food (today I had bean succotash, last week I got delicious pumpkin and butternut squash soup with hazelnuts). Apparently their love calls are just as unique as their foods are.
Girl in Satin Dress with Roses, Gelatin Silver Print (aka a very old, senstive photograph) by Gertrude Kasebier. No Date. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I decided she's me this season. Real, all dolled up, and waiting patiently.
As you can see, I sat and amused myself today at work by doing a little impromptu research on how artists have depicted love over the ages, since this Saturday is the day I take the GRE and we all know how much I looooooove studying my brains out even after I've graduated college. JK, Saturday's Valentine's Day. AND GRE day. Which means that after I flog my guts out on a $175 test of DEATH, I get to come home to a big, fat, heart-shaped box of chocolates. Also, there is a distinct possibility of me setting my GRE study book and fatty stack of flash cards on fire that evening. Chocolate by firelight. Ah it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to think about it. If I were an artist, and had to illustrate what I feel love is to me today, it would be a glowing, golden orb spray painted on a subway train: fleeting, but happy and warm, wherever it is. (Obviously, I am on the right side of the museum business. Much better at critiquing others' work than doing my own) Happy V-day, yalls. If you're reading this, chances are you're someone I love.