Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pictures at an Exhibition Part 2: How Cameron got his Conceptualization of Beauty back

Dear Constant Readers,

I am well aware that I said I was not going to do posts until after break. I am also quite aware that this is my FINALS week. I am painfully aware that I still have to take my soul-consuming Organic Chem Lab Final. Nevertheless, I am unperturbed enough by the surrounding chaos to write this blog. Well, not exactly write, more or less look at pictures. Hundreds of pictures. I've narrowed it down to 13 (lousy obsessions) for the sake of convenience. I'd also thought my readers would also like to take a break from my writing and just look at pretty Neo-Classical paintings.

With the high speed Internet on campus, a truly holy experience for me, I can finally look at a lot of artwork. Instead of pouring over books of forgotten lore in the library, I can look at as many paintings as I can stomach in minutes. Visit the ARC International website for thousands and thousands of incredible paintings. Unfortunately things on the Internet don't have the same "feel" as to something printed out, but really touching paintings still get me. I'll admit I first looked at eldritch works (here and here), but I have moved on. Alright I'll still cover some more, but right now I'm fascinated by beauty. To make something ugly is easy (unnerving is something else though), and capturing beauty is an incredibly tough task. I've tried it and it is pretty darn hard. So I've been pouring through hundreds (maybe a couple thousand) paintings looking for those which embody beauty. I'm rather obsessive by nature so I had to stop myself at one point...I normally won't stop until I've seen every painting I can find on the Internet.

Here is a showcase of the 13 paintings which have touched upon my concept of beauty in some way. None of them perfectly capture it, but you can see similarities in appearance, pose, and aesthetic "feel" which obviously appeal to me. Now I will have to admit that not all of these ladies are entirely modest or clothed, but that is not the point. This is not intended to be gawking (i.e. pornographic) in nature, it is meant to be a higher brow for of respect. Let's keep it cerebral here people. I know everybody has different ideas of beauty, but I hope mine is at least interesting. Perhaps you can all think about what is beautiful to you?

John William Waterhouse: Ophelia [by the pond] - 1894

Just as a note, this painting does have a special connection to me. Remembrance of things past I suppose.

John William Waterhouse: Ophelia [lying in the meadow] - 1905

John William Waterhouse: Boreas - 1902

John William Waterhouse: The Lady Clare - 1900

J. W. Godward: The Tambourine Girl - 1906

J. W. Godward: Sabrinella - 1912

William Bouguereau: Head of a Young Girl - 1898

Willaim Bouguereau: Evening Mood - 1882

William Bouguereau: Italian Girl Drawing Water - 1871

Fredrick Leighton: An Italian Lady

Jules Joseph Lefebvre: Girl with a Mandolin

Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez: Venus at her Mirror

Yes, this painting is in fact as you have feared...a segway into a future post.

Francesco Hayez: Meditation on the History of Italy - 1850

Probably the closest to my idea of beauty out of the whole lot. If it wasn't for the open shirt (to dissipate heat due to deep meditation?) I'd be prouder to say that. Notice that there really aren't too many artists represented here. Hmm, perhaps room for a sequel? Maybe...I've already got far too many sequels planned out as it is.

Does this post make me a shallow person? Are all these girls just totally awful people inside? I don't know...perhaps shallowness can be the subject of a future post.

More crazy stuff coming soon.



John said...

You have excellent taste.

If you like Bouguereau and Waterhouse, you might also enjoy Alma-Tadema and Cabanel.

Anonymous said...

I also agree that you have good taste. I somehow remember a certain someone telling you about the first two paintings lol. You aren't shallow by the way. Oh and I will try to find you some more beautiful artwork by the way.

Anonymous said...

ALthough all of the pictures were qiute beautiful if you want to get a better sense of the definition of 'beauty' you need to span more time periods and more cultures. Out of all the pictures that my low-speed internet was able to show me all of these girls look basically the same.

Anonymous said...

Looking at this from a fashion history point of view, I enjoy seeing the dress of this time period. Very pretty and feminine.

Anonymous said...

Waterhouse is amazing, albeit rather obsessed with painting dying people, especially dying people by water (ophelia, the lady of shallot) I wonder if at one point of time he tried to build a house out of water....

Josee said...

I have been looking for William Bouguerau's girl at the well ( the one standing) . We used to own that painting and after my father passed away my mother sold it at Sotherby's. Where did you find the picture?
J. F

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