Thursday, February 15, 2007


Check out your grumpy turtle!
I used your picture to get the face and the markings just right!
This turtle is not as angry as yours was, though; he's just kind of disappointed.

When I wake up at three in the morning I want to wake up for a good reason. Instead I woke up at three thismorning because I was ferociously thinking about something I had gone to sleep idly considering. See, my daughter has a teacher who is convinced that Ingres is just a FANTASTIC artist.
The woman actually receives a paycheck to teach people this shit.
Ingres was not a fantastic artist.

This is not a collage. It is a painting. Although it looks like he sat on the floor and cut random pictures out of a magazine and then pasted them to a canvas, you must remember that the magazine had not been invented yet.

Let's call in our guest hamster, B. Schmuggleware, young rodent about town and ENTIRELY WITHOUT ODOR, as you may recall.

...his fu is unbeatable

Mr. Ware, tell us in your own words what this is a picture of. Spit out the goddamn sunflower seeds first, though. And sit up straight.
_ Ok. Um. Ok, its the barbecue scene from 'Oklahoma' and in the middle of it this guy doing star jumps knocked over a hibachi.
...It's the Roman centurion dance number from Fame and everyone else stopped dancing but he's still going..."I'm gonna live for-ev-errr, Baby remember my name-FAME!' and the director up there is yelling at him. And a dog got in.
No, you silly hamster person, it is obviously the Martyrdom of St Symphorian!

...See; he is defiantly forming the letter 'X'! It's a symbol! X for No! X on sacrificing to pagan gods! Defiant, noble X to that crap right in your face! DEFIANTLY! Then they kill him.

Never mind that nobody in this picture occupies the same frame of time or space. Each and every item in this picture plane is completely unrelated to anything else. It's like a prop closet. And everything is marked out in a completely different light, which comes in from completely random directions, as though they were all watching a fireworks display, only it isn't night and they didn't' have fireworks, except for in China, but this is supposed to be Roman Autun so there you go.

The castle-y tower-ey wall thing in the background there just makes me sad. It has been the victim of an act of senseless, random miniaturization. No. Let me cry.

As you can see, this was a man to whom perspective was a complete mystery. So much so that I honestly think there was some kind of physical impairment there. The popular opinion holds that this was purposeful exaggeration on his part, but even a casual overview of his work gives lie to that. The guy just had no damn depth perception. It gave his pictures an odd quality...some things appear as though they are stamped upon the outside of a ball, they have that distorted, swollen, fish-eye lens look.

When the sitter was less than classically beautiful this could have really unfortunate consequences.

Things he likes are big and detailed and REALLYREALLYCLOSE. Things he doesn't care much about are small and barely sketched in. Each item is portrayed from it's own separate dead-on point of view, giving the whole the appearance of a luxury store window designed by a profoundly stoned child.

Ingres was also desperately uncomfortable with the undraped human form.

And let's not forget the guys...


Now womens' arms; that's another matter entirely.

Here we have as lascivious an image as Ingres was ever to produce. Bare nekkidness as far as they eye can see. (I mean, no fluffies or anything; that would be gross.) There's even girl-on-girl booby honkage going on. But what you see are aaaaaaarmssss. Successive undulating waves of them which disappear into the distance like a seascape full of pink water balloons. It's one of his hallmarks. Most of his depictions of women have this trademark erotocized, plump arm.

Hand it to the man, his craft technique is fantastic. His paintings are beautifully finished objects. Furthermore, as is plain from his portrait drawings, the man can capture a likeness. He knows about texture and color, but he tries to make it all patch over his shortcomings in the depth of field department.

And that's what gives his work this odd, 'ahead-of-it's-time' modern look. Nearly all his stuff has the odd, flattened out, discontinuous look of modern art that is trying too hard. But that wasn't because he was a rebel. It was because he needed laser surgery.


  1. redneckarts10:20 PM

    har. thankyou, thankyou, thankyou...

  2. I really liked the hamster

    but then I'm a philistine

    here's proof if proof be needed

  3. Blimey , I leave you alone for 5 minutes and out come the nekkid renaisance bottoms and stuff.....
    Where do you manage to find these marvellous pictures, I have scoured the internet when trying to illustrate posts and cant ever find anything (but then again I dont know any artist's names.......err becuase I am a bit of a thicko)
    Still I will read studiously(trying not to move my lips at the same time)
    Colour in the pictures
    inwardly digest
    and comment in a knowing and intellectual manner(this may take some time)

  4. Brilliant. I love your art posts, FN.

    You are spot on with the "collage" comment. Had me giggling the whole way through.

    It's sad, really. Such a great talent for detail and then all wonky with the perspective. He should have had somebody else sketch the compositions in for him.

    P.S.: I demand a regular guest spot for the hamster!

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  6. I love it when you do art posts. Love it. That one painting of that man in drag, I mean, beautiful woman...left me in tears. Yes, tears.

  7. Yay! The Angry Turtle! That is a lovely needlepoint, FN. You can see the allusion to rage in his face.

    I love your art posts, too, and would also like to see this hamster become a regular critic. He is quite smart.

    I have a feeling you walk around a museum much like i do. "Oh my god, the lack of any kind of perspective is giving me a headache...", etc.

  8. Anonymous8:54 AM

    lol. oh my goodness. too funny. i agree with ziggi. i loved the hamster's comments.

  9. Ingres is teh suckage.
    However. We did a whole Art Noveau architecture lecture, so I can forgive her kinda. I actually know more about the movement than she does, though. LE SADNESS.

  10. goddamnit that's what I get for having two fucking google accounts. HI MOM IT IS SSA. Ferfuckssake.

  11. Hello, is that FN's daughter? !

    Anyhow, yeah - glad you put your insomnia to good use, educating uneducated folk like me about Art.

    That big orange-and-black post thing, is that a stop sign?

  12. I forgot to say:


  13. Bluto2:38 PM

    Where are my royalites, beyotch?!

  14. redneck: not a problem.
    ziggi: i, um, nailed the test. mainly because it was modern stuff i already like.
    beast: XOO. just glad to have you among the upright, my darling. hint: google images using strange phrases. thats how people tag their images. like 'socks dog' or 'roadkill peanut'. hours of fun!
    danator: Mr. Schmuggleware has already appeared in a former post on the Pre-Raphaelites. he has a demanding tour schedule, though, and things have been even more difficult for him since they phased out the Concorde.
    awaiting; i can sympathize. lots of ingres' stuff makes me cry.
    claire: yup! and i'm the one who always makes the proximity warning bell go off too. i'm on the 'most annoying' list of docents and museum guards all over the west coast.
    pink: Mr. Schmuggleware says thank you.
    SSA; i knowed it was you. i shouldn't doubt you know more about art nouveau; you know more about it than i do too, and i'm the one who turned you on to it. you need to swoop in and nail her good when she gets to the bauhaus!!!!!
    spinny: no, that is a big sign that says 'caution: any christians who refuse to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods by making a big 'x' sign with their bodies like one of the 'up with people' singers will be put to death." well, thats a slight paraphrase.
    danator: claires' mr. grumpy turtle photo is even awesommer. that is one grumpy ass turtle.

    bluto; the agreement was travel expenses and a supply of organic sunflower seeds for the duration of the engagement. once you stepped onto that hovercraft my part was done, buddy.

  15. i'LL BE honest, I'm pissed off my tits.

    I didn't read the blog. I'm way too fucked for that.

    I did note it had alot of scantyly cladiness.

    That's good enough for me.

  16. brilliant post FN.

    I would love to hear your opinions on such work as American Progess by John Gast. I imagine you look just like Columbia but have a keyboard tucked under your arm and a following of yummy bikers and liberated men and women. Oh yeah... and the daughter-types asking for more money for their wedding... ok... maybe it is just me...

  17. oh yeah... and I forgot to mention that the first painting looks like what I imagine (it is only my imagination thank G) the floor of the 2004 Republican National Convention looked like... but for the life of me... I can't find Laura and the twins...

  18. Do you know I never noticed that before , in all the group pictures , all the people look like they are singularly alone and have all been shoved together in the same picture (apart form the two grappling with each others devil dumplings)
    How wierd.The St symphorian one is hilarious , it gives the impression that the saintly dudes attention seeking (Helloooooooooo its only me ....GODS chosen one!!!!!) has embarrassed everyone and they are all prentending they are not there.

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  20. Good work from the hamster. I've got really terrible eyesight and yeah, it does give you a weird perspective.

    The two pictures in the middle seem to be of the same woman - was she a muse (or bit on the side, perhaps)? She strongly resembles the Scottish comedian Jerry Sadowitz -

  21. Now that you mention it, they do seem just dropped next to each other. And the arms, nothing but arms. I love the zoftig women of art from the days of yore, makes me feel just the right size.

  22. i want to put the hamsters right hind foot gently on my lips (only if had cold feet though)

  23. kristy6:17 PM

    Four inches long and built like a potato. Who knew a hamster could be so astute about art?

  24. I agree about the name "Paul" but I don't know... hanging around with this many naked people...

  25. I'm sure I love the hamster more than Pod. Interloper - put down that foot!
    Thanks for all the skin tone. Yummy/ers. I wonder if Ingres' long-backed models used to moan all the time during sittings, about "never being able to find a pair of trousers that fit these days"?

  26. Yes but! *splutters* he was a misogynist bastard, old Ingres, but he does give you quite a head trip. His pictures are visual mazes - you just think 'if I leaned a little bit this way I'd see something different . . .'

    Tamara de Lempicka did the same thing with perspective and she's FAB.

  27. He also has an all but unpronounceable name.

    Wondrous post, m'darlin'. Tea-from-nose scenario. Love it!

  28. Repling to your comment:


    And I'd have to say Batman. Because batman has the atitude of a winner. And there's not a doubt in my mind that Batman wouldn't send out Robin to jack some kryptonie from a junkie on the corner and then slip it to superman when he sat down for his afternoon tea. That's the Magna way.

  29. tick: see, who says that liquor reduces focus?
    kindness: i was always more of a Magenta type:) now i have to google gast! googlegast? mervyn peakes prequel.
    beast: it's like a bunch of mismatched action figures. and the face of the male saint is the face of his odalisque with the looooong back, too. bozique.
    betty: i googled jerry sadowitz and cracked up. what tartan is sadowitz? moire?
    g: yeah, me too. i knew a girl back in highschool who looked exactly like Phryne and it was amazing.
    pod: hamster foot smooching? this isn't that kind of a blog! no wait, yes it is. nevermind.
    kristy: his mommy is a chaucerian scholar. no kidding.
    paul II: welcome! you don't have to be naked to hang around here..just tolerant of the word 'fuck' and willing to put up with a lot of mispellings and syntax errors. the discussion at your place is really interesting, btw.
    ara: this is a hamster worthy of international adoration. good thing he has four footies, huh! i bet the longwaisted girl ran around in a bathrobe all the time.
    mangonel: it wasn't planned in Ingres case, though...he's desparately trying to fake it and not succeeding. and now i have to google ANOTHER name.
    tim: it's an art rant-it's a sinus remedy. dang!
    not: that was an awesome comment and i have no idea what you're talking about whatsoever. welcome! you fit right in, bubbi!

  30. Amazing post dude.

    All that contorted naked flesh is called "mannerism", I think - blame Michelangelo.

    But I do think Ingres was a pretty fantastic portraitist.