Blackpaint 364 – Michelangelo and the Animals, Schutte’s Soft Heads


Raoul De Keyser

His obit was in the papers the other day.  One of the famous Belgians.  His paintings were simple, often geometric but roughly so, bright, primary colours – when they were not totally abstract, they were of everyday things; football pitches, dogs, monkey puzzle trees…  In this respect, he reminded me a little of Prunella Clough, writ large…

De Keyser

Clough

Thomas Schutte at the Serpentine

Free exhibition; outside on the grass, a group of Schutte’s squat, bald figures bound to each other, supported on broomstick legs.  Inside, photographs of his distorted, softened and sagging wax heads line the upper walls of one room around a huge, central figure apparently made out of resin – but actually metal, the colour presumably supplied by oxidation.  Small etchings and drawings, all portraits or figures, many self portraits, done with a minimal line and sparing colour; a striking one of a woman with an orange throat (which he uses in another picture too).  Worth the visit, but I missed his stumpy little bald gnomes with the ecstatic, or maybe tortured, expressions.

Michelangelo and the Animals

  • Some readers will be familiar with my discovery that M didn’t do trees (see Blackpaints 111, 112 et al)); it struck me recently that he didn’t do much in the way of animals either – certainly fewer than any other Renaissance painter I can think of.  Titian, Leonardo, Tintoretto, all took the opportunity to knock out a variety of animals at times, but M seems to have kept it to a bare minimum.  Here’s my list:
  • Fish, apparently sucking Jonah’s leg, on the Sistine ceiling;
  • Ram with throat cut, another awaiting sacrifice, a horse (head only) and an ox (head only), also on Sistine ceiling – in the Noah section;
  • A couple of fanciful serpents in the Underworld on the Sistine altarpiece, and the serpent tempting Eve, on the Sistine ceiling (but does this count? It’s half woman);
  • In the Presentation Drawings, the horses attached to Phaeton’s chariot as it plunges to the ground and the eagle eating Tityus’ liver;
  • A marble barn owl on one of the tombs.  And that’s it, so far as I can see.

Actually, let’s go the whole way: there’s not much landscape either – rocks, desert, bare minimum really.  What he really liked was doing figures.

Paolo Sorrentino

Watched his two great films on DVD – “Il Divo” and “The Consequences of Love”, both starring the prince of stillness, Tony Servillo .  He’s the complete anti – stereotype of Italians; or  maybe that’s just a British conception, that Italians are voluble and animated.  In “Il Divo”, he is Andreotti, the seven times PM, with links to the Mafia; it touches on the deaths of Calvi (the banker found “hanged” under Waterloo Bridge), Aldo Moro (kidnapped and eventually shot by the Red Brigades) and other political murders of judges, lawyers, etc.  Unlike the work of Francesco Rosi (Giulano, The Mattei Affair, Illustrious Corpses) it has an almost operatic feel – there is no attempt at “documentary”.  “Consequences” co-stars Olivia Magnani; presumably Anna’s granddaughter(?); she is riveting.

Head of Saint Luke, the Painter Saint

Blackpaint

25.10.12 

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2 Responses to “Blackpaint 364 – Michelangelo and the Animals, Schutte’s Soft Heads”

  1. cgrice1 Says:

    Head of St Paul great painting

  2. blackpaint Says:

    Is it really? I couldn’t possibly comment – but thanks all the same Dad.

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