Damn that Caravaggio

I spent a lot of this evening trying (unsuccessfully–there’s a big surprise) to write a poem about Caravaggio’s Victorious Amor.  When that didn’t happen, I turned alternately to The School of Fountainebleau’s Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters (c. 1595), but gave up in disgust, and then turned to the much more interesting painting The Green Turban (1931), by the Polish Art Deco artist and Garbo-esque Socialite (which, yes, is an oxymoron, but she tried to cultivate that persona) Tamara de Lempicka.  I couldn’t find an image of it to show you, but here is a sampling of her art, which is fantastic.  Alas, that poem wasn’t working either. 

I finally settled on Guido Reni’s David and Goliath (1607) and the poem is about as inspired as the subject.  Which is to say, not very.

The sad thing is, I have to come back to these pictures at some point, and I’m generally dissatisfied with the rest of postcards in the book.  Maybe I’m just grumpy.  The de Lempicka picture is amazing, and I didn’t want to ruin my experience of the picture by writing a dreadful poem, so that one had to be abandoned for the time being.

But it’s that damn Caravaggio that has put me out of sorts.  Let’s be honest, I think I hate it.  To refresh your memory, it looks like this.  When I look at Cupid’s face, I just want to smack those red cheeks till they’re purple.  And then, I want to pluck out his feathers one by one and jam them into his ugly crooked teeth.  Surely Caravaggio would be horrified to know his art inspires violence in me.  But that said, Caravaggio himself was a rougue and killed and brawled with people, so maybe he’d enjoy my response.

And maybe I just need to set that postcard aside.  Permanently.

Amor Vincit Omnia

I am a postcard behind again.  I should be on Day 10, but yesterday I could not get a poem to work to save my life, and I just wasn’t being inspired by Caravaggio’s Victoriuos Amor (which is clearly a typo for “victorious”–well, Hidden Love is a German publication), which has a cherub standing beside some musical instruments, holding some arrows, and smirking at the viewer.  It’s basically a stupid little, smug looking Cupid.  And, wouldn’t you know?  I just found it on Wikipedia–so feast your eyes on Caravaggio’s Cupid and read a little about the painting.   As for myself, I’m setting it aside for the time being.

This evening I worked on the painting I should have written about yesterday when Caravaggio’s dippy Cupid was annoying me.  And truthfully, it’s not exactly a painting, and it’s not exactly a photograph.   Anyway, the work is St. Sebastian by Pierre et Gilles.  According to Wikipedia (and hey, this is a blog, not an essay, so I can quote Wikipedia with impunity):

Pierre et Gilles, Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard, are gay French artistic and romantic partners. They produce highly stylized photographs, building their own sets and costumes as well as retouching the photographs. Their work often features images from popular culture, gay culture including porn (especially James Bidgood), and religion.

I couldn’t find the 1987 St. Sebastian, which is kind of a lovely picture.  The Sebastian here is fit and a little bit muscular, but he’s also beautiful, with a sweet-must-be-kissed look on his face, and a gentle innocence the picture compells you to want to corrupt, but nicely.

In my poem, which I’ve creatively called ” St. Sebastian II” (to distinguish it from my poem “St. Sebastian” from the other day), I suggest that his face is really a woman’s face “with a mouth like a Revlon ad”–but of course, after reading about Pierre et Gilles’ collaboration as well as their love affair, the face is just a youthful, pretty-boy face.  

I did find their 2009 St. Sebastian  if you want to look at it, which I don’t like at all.  But then I’m not generally attracted to beefy men and “beefcake” as a genre.  It might be the codpiece throwing me off–it looks so stupid.  I think I would have preferred a Speedo.  (Still, if you’re going to go for the porn look, really go all the way, and let his bits hang out.  I’m just sayin’.)  

I realize I am definitely not the intended audience for this work.  I think I liked the gender ambiguity of the 1987 picture–it’s just softer and sweeter, and it must be said, somewhat holy.   Even my poem, which does comment about how the figure looks, isn’t as lascivious as the  poem I wrote the other day.  In some ways, it seems sacrilegious to lust too much after this St. Sebastian, though clearly the speaker of the poem is physically attracted to him.

The 2009 Sebastian counterpart is just too in-your-face–too much f***, too little art.

Tomorrow I’ve got to throw 2 poems together.  I’d like to be caught up.   Love may conquer all, but it doesn’t get the poems written for me.