Posts Tagged ‘The Lighthouse’

Blackpaint 673 – Smug Dutchmen, Michelangelo and Mermaid Sex

June 17, 2020

Andrew Graham Dixon, Art of the Low Countries, BBC4

Must be an old series, since not much is getting made at the moment, but it was new to me.  It had the usual Graham Dixon startling and rather dubious suggestions – for instance, the Dutch bourgeoisie portraying themselves in art was a sort of collective depiction of a revolution comparable to that of Russia in 1917.  However, the revelation for me was the later paintings of Frans Hals.  The so-called Laughing Cavalier was highly finished, ornate and rich, the subject plump and smug: look at the pieces below it; the hands and the woman from one picture and the self-portrait with baggy eyes.  The brushwork is loose, the woman has a face out of Van Gogh – and it’s hard to imagine that the same artist painted those hands and the moustached smirker above.

 

 

 

 

The two paintings below were not identified in the programme, but I think they are both superb, whoever painted them.

 

 

 

Michelangelo, Love and Death, Sky Arts

Again, I think this was maybe an old programme – it brought home to me just how staggering his achievement was in painting that ceiling – I’d not really noticed how strong the trompe l’oeil effect was when I visited the Vatican.  The crowds and the continual chanting from the attendant of “no talkin, no photo” , coupled with the need to keep moving, didn’t allow much in the way of close scrutiny.

 

The Altar wall (detail).  Michelangelo did the wall some 30 years after the ceiling.

 

St. Lawrence with his grill on the left, and St. Bartholomew with his flayed skin in the centre (supposed to be a self portrait – of M, not Bartholomew).

 

This is a scene from the programme, NOT a painting – imagine it without the cars; could be Brueghel or Carpaccio.

 

You can really see the trompe l’oeil effect in this section, 

 

Go and put your pants on immediately, says God…

 

The Lighthouse, dir. Robert Eggers (2019)

Fabulous cinematography, recalling the work of Bela Tarr- say, Satantango or The Man from London, I thought.  Some rather strange accents, here and there hints of Monty Python – but plenty of violence against seagulls and humans, masturbation, drinking, frenzied dancing, more drinking, imaginary mermaid sex, a live burial, axe and pickaxe attacks and a naked man being eaten by seabirds.  All this, and a recording over the credits of AL (Bert) Lloyd, a famous British folk singer and researcher, performing the shanty “Doodle Let me go, me boys”, which turns out to be a genuine earworm.

The film is a basically a two-hander (sorry), William Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.  There is, of course, the mermaid and the seagull but they don’t have speaking roles.  Dafoe has made a career out of films which “push the boundaries”, as they say: I’m thinking of Antichrist (Von Trier) and Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini, with the long and energetic sequence of oral sex in the car park.  I’ll certainly be watching The Lighthouse again, for the heroic drinking and the AL Lloyd, as well as the classy cinematography – but not for the mermaid sex, which, like many men, I get enough of in dreams…

As a painter, it’s dispiriting when you realise that paintings you were doing 10 years or more ago are better than the ones you are doing now….  Here are a few examples:

 

 

 

Blackpaint

16/06/20