Blackpaint 112

Blog Vocabulary

I’ve decided that in future I won’t be using meaningless vocabulary when describing or discussing art – either mine or other artists’ work.  From now on, then, the following words are banned from my blog, unless quoted or used in a reader’s comment : beautiful, amazing, wonderful, ravishing, breathtaking, stunning, fabulous, brilliant, etc., etc., etc.  I will continue to use ugly, crappy, shitty, however, in the interests of accuracy, fairness, moderation and the fine traditions of blogging.  Readers are requested to comment immediately on noticing any use of the specified words or similar ones,  in any context other than that outlined above.  Thank you.

Treeless in Gaza

Michelangelo didn’t do  trees.  Yesterday, I discussed the painting that an expert suggests is by Michelangelo (see Blackpaint 111).  The painting shows John the Baptist preaching to an attentive audience amidst a parkland  scene – sylvan is a better word.  It’s full of trees anyway.

Now, there are several reasons why I think he’s wrong about Michelangelo, but at the risk of seeming slightly mad (unusually  for a blogger) I want to emphasise this point.  I’ve been through all my books on M. and all the images on Google and I can find only THREE trees in all his known work: the tree  up which the serpent winds (presumably the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) in the Adam and Eve picture and two dead trees in the Flood; all of them on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Even in those pictures where M. does some landscaping, it’s always barren or rocky, or both.  I think he didn’t like doing trees because they bored him – no juicy musculature.

So, either he put all except three  of  his trees in this disputed picture – perhaps  someone had pointed the deficiency out to him – or it’s not a Michelangelo.  Actually there  is a third possibility; someone else may have done the trees and the rest of the background, and then M. did  the figures – and the rocks, he often did rocks.  But that doesn’t seem likely to me.

I have to say that, in the fifteen minutes I spent researching this theory, I was delighted to look again at some of the most beautiful, ravishing art in human history.  it was utterly breathtaking.

There we are, then, my hare-brained theory escapes to haunt the web and confound the experts (or probably  not).  Back to normal, possibly, tomorrow.  Have a lovely weekend.

Listening to “The Trees They Grow So High” trad., arr. Martin  Carthy.

“Oh the trees they grow so high, and the grass it grows so green,

And many’s the cold winter’s night my love and I have seen;

On a cold winter’s night, my love, you and I alone have been;

Oh, my bonny boy is young but he’s growing…”



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