Saturday, October 11, 2008

Angie's Lips, Please

[Undirected Blog Four!]

You'll notice I skipped a week. That's because we didn't have any lectures or reading last week. Moving on with my life...

Walking into the lecture this Wednesday, I expected to see the same paintings as the past few weeks--with perfectly painted figures. Imagine my shock when I saw this!


I was horrified. It just looks so...wrong. This painting, Odalesque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1814), was well-painted, sure, but only in the craftsmanship. The figure of the woman shown is just so stretched and distorted that I can't focus on the quality of the piece at all. Think I'm being melodramatic? Perhaps I am. But look at that back leg! It doesn't even look like it belongs to the woman at all. That topic was brought up in class, and then I learned how Ingres painted. He'd paint multiple legs and arms, then pick the best to paint into the final work. Which perfectly explains why his work looks so strange. No one person is perfect, and taking different parts from different people that seem perfect separately (the perfect nose, the best chin, etc.) creates some very strange results.

I was going to compare Ingres' painting style to the creation of Frankenstein's monster, but Mary Shelley published that story (Read it!) in 1818, so its a bit too old for my 'Connection to Today' segment. Instead, I've decided to compare his style to a fad in our decade--plastic surgery! Today's plastic surgeons are like modern day Frankensteins. A customer walks in and points to a picture of Angelina Jolie and says, "I want those lips!", and the doctor does some cutting and pasting (not literally--that would suck.) and tada! The customer now has Angelina Jolie's ridiculously huge lips! Of course, the lips probably won't match that person's face at all, and everyone that sees her will sense something odd about how her face looks. Its the same with Michael Jackson and his nose. And skin color. He looked fine when he had his own parts, but when they were changed, he turned into a monster.


Okay, so comparing Ingres' painting Odalesque to Michael Jackson is a bit extreme. Ingres only mixed arms and legs, and was amazing at rendering faces. In fact, his greatest works were small pencil sketches he did of tourists while living in Rome--he seemed to have trouble when it came to painting figures. But hopefully you understand the point I'm trying to make here. Mixing parts of people together to try and create the 'perfect' figure doesn't always work out, and always looks strange. Some cases more than others.


I am so, so sorry for posting a picture of him. Feel free to bleach your eyes now.


Anonymous said...

I don't have any bleach, but thank God I have Lysol. In the above picture, I totally see what you mean. Her bum is way too far down as well. At first it looks okay, but when you start paying attention, it hurts the eyes :P

Jerbear said...

This piece gave me some really bad nightmares.

I love how both of us chose the same piece and we both connect it to Frakenstein's monster.

Oh, Michael Jackson and Angelina Jolie. The both of them make me giggle with disgust.

cinapoli said...

wow-poor Ingres has a tough audience in you! isn't there anything beautiful in his piece???

BUT yes, excellent comparison to Frankenstein ...