Sexy Arty Farty Me
Recently, I picked up Roy Bolton’s A Brief History of Painting from the library. I didn’t set out to find this book, it just happened to be lying discarded in the ‘Browsing’ box but something about it caught my attention. I’ve always been interested (enough) in art but too lazy to actually find out about it. Nonetheless, I’ve realised after reading the book, that I prefer old school painterly craft to contemporary art. In other words, I like my Michaelangelos and Raphaels. I like straightforward works on Madonna and Jesus Christ, and am intrigued by allegories.
That said, I like this book because it isn’t heavy at all, but the author gave enough information and juicy titbits to entice my reading appetite. It features 150 works from famous artists from 2000 BC to AD 2000, all gorgeous and clever. Below’s one of my favourite paintings, An Allegory with Venus, Cupid and Time by Bronzino.
Cupid and Venus are kissing in the foreground, with Jealousy/Despair howling behind them on the left. The figure casting a veil over them is interpreted as Fraud/Oblivion. The old man on the right with wings and an hourlass is of course, Time. The boy scattering roses is Jest/Folly/Pleasure and the almost hidden face of a girl depicts Pleasure/Fraud. I’m sure Roy Bolton gave a more detailed description of what was going on in the painting but I’ve forgotten =). Get the book if you’re interested.