Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sad Day

Today I am a little bit sad. Revelation!! It's ok to be sad on your blog once in a while I think.

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.
I don't really feel like delving into the heart and soul and history of these paintings, because their best feature is in fact the way they make you sad, make you ponder on the dead Christ, too, like the other people watching over him in these paintings. Although for this one I can't get away without saying, Yeesh will you look at that angle? Why do you think Mantegna wanted to direct our eyes up the body of the Christ starting at the feet? I can think of a few reasons...)

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?

BUT AT LAST! As I thumb through my picture albums to come up with more depressing photos, I find...

Fat Baby Choking a Goose! (Roman, around 150 A.D., in the Louvre) BAHAHA I don't know why this made me laugh so hard but it did. And right after violent fat baby, I found:

Tiny Dancer! Georg Kolbe, Woman Dancing, 1911.

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!


Raunee said...

I love your posts! They always make me ponder about life! I hope today is better!

MOM said...

I can just hear you saying "fat baby!"...with that laughter in your voice! This was a treat of a post. A good dose of art. Thank you.

I guess your sad day gave way for a happier next day. Hooray for serendipity! I love how life does that. I always admired in you, Lindsey, that you could turn your emotions on a dime. You could turn and "decide" to be happy. And off you'd flit, like those cute butterflies!

I know you hate the cold; me too. But I hope you get some fall back. Sweater weather makes me happy! So does snuggling under blankies. :) Keep warm sis!

Erin said...

I loved this. I also loved remembering my study abroad tears. I cried a LOT in Europe, Linds. But the three times I remember most clearly are the Pieta and St. Peter's in general, Bernini at the Borghese--the gripping of the thigh! It's marble! HOW DID HE DO THAT?, and our first day in Paris, when we walked that back way to the Louvre. When we came through the arches of the building and saw the Pei pyramid, I started crying. We hadn't even gone inside yet, and I had tears running down my face. Anyway. You probably didn't care to know all that, but it made me think of it.

I love the fat baby head.

Judy Anne said...

Thank you Lindsey, I don't miss summer, I rejoice in it's leaving LV and the HOT. However, next year at this time I will be singing a different tune. I too have been sad as of late, for me it is changes that I know are coming but can't prepare for. My mind is awash with worry, concerns and what ifs, but as I looked at the last four pics, my sad turned into smiling. Thanks for the uplift.