I had to get up in the middle of the night and throw on socks, sweats, and another blanket onto my bed. I wasn't ready to let go of summer yet and I certainly don't appreciate winter hustling autumn out of its way into my house this cold, cold morning. And all day long I sat in my freezing art building because no one at the school had quite gotten round to turning on the heat. Long sleeve shirt, knit sweater, AND pagmina clutched tightly around my shoulders, and I STILL felt like an eskimo in lecture. I am so, so sad.
Some of the world's greatest, most touching art is sad. I'm trying to think of artworks I've actually cried in front of. I know there were several on my study abroad (random tangent, but sometimes I feel like my study abroad and my senior thesis and my grad school are my mission. They make me work so hard and they string out my emotions in ways no other experience has). Michelangelo's Pieta, which sits smack dab in a vaulted niche off to one side of the entrance of the HUGE Vatican, is the first artwork I can remember that brought waterworks during that trip.
|Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1499.|
That looks about how I remembered it, thanks Internet. I've often wondered where the tradition of the Lamentation of Christ or Descent from the Cross pictures came from in Christian art. Could you pick a more despondent subject? Though not based on any scriptural text, these scenes emerged as many artists began to imagine what might have happened AFTER the Savior died on the cross. After the earth had stopped shaking, the Pharisees were somewhere downtown cackling to themselves, and all that were left on Golgotha were grief-stricken friends, family, and followers, and maybe some Romans. In many Lamentation/Descent from the Cross scenes, the artist chooses to render Mary in almost as miserable and pathetic a condition as the body of Jesus. My art history friends (especially my fellow Martha Peacock-ites!) better have the name of this artist on the tip of your tonuge, ready, go:
Rogier van der Weyden! How'd we do? Descent from the Cross, 1435, just LOOK at that blue! and the folds of that drapery! Notice how Mary's body, even her arms, curve just like her son's. Look at their faces. So sad.
I remember seeing the following painting on my trip and NOT crying, because I was writing an essay for class about it, BUT I still feel like showing it, because man is it glorious, sad, and slightly morbid (plus, I don't think I've had any Spanish art on my blog). Well, here's making up for lost time:
|Andrea Mantegna, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, 1490. In Milan.|
Of course, there are a lot of things out there to make us sad. Lots of them have been made into art. Vis a vis:
|Anton van Dyke's golden angel weeping into his serpentine swath of silk.|
|Camille Claudel's bronze alterego has her lover ripped from her hands in The Age of Maturity (1900, Musee d'Orsay).|
|Ah, homelessnes. I remember that. :)|
|Untitled (Big Man), Ron Mueck, Hirshhorn, 2003. Big, naked, and not loving it.|
|Clifford Still, 1960. 1960. Also at the Hirshhorn. "The Pit of Dithpair!!!" What movie?|
And even BIGGER Fat Baby! I can't-remember-the-name at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
|And finally, Butterflies, from the hilarious and modern (?) Odilon Redon (1910, MOMA). I sure do love you, guy. So cute. And slightly fruity.|
Life is good. Tomorrow will be better. Tonight I will sleep with my winter BFF: Electric Blankie. GOOD DAY to you!