Saturday, May 31, 2008

Painting of the Day # 1

[okay, so I've realized that if I keep waiting to write full length posts about the galleries I visited, I'm never going to get done. So I figure I'll just throw in a painting a day and do longer posts on a couple of things - Nicholas Poussin, for instance, or the Dada exhibition at the Tate Modern]

Niccollo dell'Abate The Death of Eurydice

That blue! Is it Life, snatched from the woman's shoulders by a sudden wind, crackling above her like an electric ghost? Or Death, claiming her like a lover, encircling her in the flickering smoke of his arms? Is it a man she flees, or just this mortal cloak?

Slowly we take in the other details: the woman to the right, who lies in a pool of the same shimmering blue (is she an unconscious companion, or a premonition of the corpse to come?); the spilled pot; the tiny figure of Orpheus in a nearby clearing, singing his songs to an audience of wild and mythic creatures (notice the Unicorn), oblivious of the tragedy that is soon to engulf him; the city with its temples and towers already starting to vanish into the haze; and, most remarkably, the distant churn of the landscape, where the water lies still and pale while the mountains boil in great scudding waves.

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