Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beauty Through Other Eyes

Note: This post contains graphics which may take a while to download, but they're worth it).

When I have a hard time seeing beauty through my own eyes — and I’m not seeing much beauty here recently — I look for beauty through other eyes.

Wednesday proved an overcast, gray, rainy day.

A day for reading not working.

But I longed to see something beautiful.

Of course, being the dirty old man that I am, I was tempted to browse porno sites and in the morning I did that for a while; but soon I choose to do something else I enjoy so I visited Olga’s Gallery.

Of all the courses I ever took in school, my high school art class influenced me more than any other. Except for the fact that I can’t paint, draw, or sculpt, I’d like to have been an artist.

Three years ago when my son Donald gave me my first computer, among the first sites I visited were on-line art museums. Olga’s Gallery ranks in my top ten.

This site collects great paintings from all the world’s galleries, museums and private collections so the viewer can sample them in one place. It lists the world’s great painters alphabetically with hundreds of thumbnails to click on to see their work.

When I see a painting that strikes my fancy, I do a Save As file then transfer them to a Make-Your-Own screensaver program. That way paintings that sell for hundreds of millions of dollars parade across my desktop for me to enjoy.

I have systematically worked my way up to the Ks

Olga’s features biographical sketches of the artists, tells the location of the owner, and sometimes reveals stories behind the subject of the paintings.

For instance the Louvre in Paris, France, displays a painting called in Roger Delivering Angelica painted in 1819 by Jean-August-Dominique Ingres.

Until yesterday afternoon, I had never heard of Jean-August-Dominique Ingres.

And the only Roger I knew of was a rabbit in a movie.

And who is Angelica? And why are there two dragons in this painting?

With a bit of research I found out that the legend portrayed dates back to the time of the Emperor Charlemagne who lived between the years 747 and 814 A.D.

He beat Moslem terrorists back from overrunning Europe. (Yes, the current war has been going on that long).

Anyhow the terrorists kidnapped the beautiful Angelica (not sure who she was) and chained her to a rock in Ireland (yes, Ireland) for a sea monster called an Orc to rape. Charlemagne’s young relative, Roger, tamed a hippogriff to ride to her rescue… but then he left Angelica to go off and marry another lady.

I got all that from seeing this single painting

What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon!

I also learned that all reputable artists paint a self-portrait; I think it’s a job requirement.

If I were an artist and I painted my own self-portrait, I’d look something like this:

That’s exercising a tiny bit of artistic license, you understand.

But if it’s realism you want, maybe my self-portrait should look like this:

Take away the cool hat and the beard and that’s my spitting-image.

I marvel at what real artists can do!

Imagine doing all this dress pattern in oils as Ingres did:

Or, if you prefer simpler prints, consider this image called Fishblood by Gustav Klimt in 1898:

In 1903 Gustav Klimt did another painting which really speaks to me on this gloomy day when I see little beauty in my world, when dark things hover in the background to cloud my mind. If you click to enlarge it, you’ll see why he named his painting — HOPE:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:42 AM


At 7:27 AM, Blogger pai said...

Klimt is one of my favorites - you showed me something I had not seen before! I thought it was Aubrey Beardsley. Very, very cool.


At 10:11 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Sadly, yes, its nearly christmas. Though here in Britian summer is holding on with its fingernails. I'm being blinded by the warm sun.

Beautiful pictures.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Seeker said...

real art: YAYYYYYY!

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Irene said...

Such gloriously stunning art! Thanks for sharing them. I enjoyed your post. c",)

At 9:53 PM, Blogger agoodlistener said...

Thanks for the link! I never did take art history. Maybe I should have, since that is a huge gap in my education. You're right about the stories behind the paintings. There should be a show: "Behind the Canvas" or something, modeled on "Behind the Music" that would feature such background details.

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Marcus said...

Some words about Your Comment:

1- They were a Muslim Army, not Muslim Terrorists. It has nothing to do with the current war. Not all Muslims are terorrists (and not all terrorists are Muslim)

2- Angelica, according to Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" (one of the best chivalrous poems in italian literature) is a princess of a foreign land, Cathay. I'd suggest to read it, if you find a translation.

3- Roger is riding an Hyppogryph, not a dragon. this is explained as well in the poem i mentioned above

Nice art research, though.


Post a Comment

<< Home