As college student, I studied Renaissance Art and its non-conformist painters, the Mannerists. When I first viewed Parmigianino’s work, “Madonna with the Long Neck” , I found it so unsettling. It violated all the Renaissance compositions that reflected harmony and a sense of balance. The Madonna is extremely distorted and the baby on her lap is over-large, while the figure to her right is tiny. With the figures crammed in to her left, surely there is no symmetry. There is a leg coming out of nowhere, not seeming to be attached to anyone in particular. Pontormo’s “Descent from the Cross” uses the Renaissance colors (pink, blue, red) but the figures are in various positions that are detached and unrelated to the Christ on the Cross. Perhaps this is a truer version of the chaos around the Crucifixion than the harmonious balance depicted in earlier Renaissance works of the same subject. As an abstract artist, I studied them more carefully and developed a respect for these rebels. Distortion, unbalance, and disharmony can certainly be seen in the work of contemporary artists.
Additions to my poems about artists and art.
In July, I was asked to give a lecture for Senior EdVentures at UMASS, my alma mater. It was good going back there as a teacher, and the group was so responsive. My lecture had to do with 3 artists that used Word and Image, drawn from several lectures given for the International Society of…
He is our family historian, he moves around the world with ease, discovering family secrets, uncovering lost traces. “I found the ship’s manifest online,” he said. “Shows the date and time Grandma Benzli arrived from Europe, with her Uncle John and sister, Betty.” Seeing the document I felt I had touched history, a fantasy made…
The recent Armory Show features many artists we know and love along with new talent. l wasn’t able to physically attend, but the online presentation is worth a look!
Playing with Fire