Posts Tagged ‘William Burroughs’

Blackpaint 212

October 28, 2010

Raphael v. Michelangelo (cont.)

Having made one of my usual sweeping generalisations ( great cliche that; you can see them sweeping in the mind’s eye, Horatio),  I am now having to qualify it repeatedly.  Raphael’s “static” compositions (see last blog) – the Fire in the Borgo is perhaps the least static.  The man hanging by his hands is very Michelangelesque.  Also, The Expulsion of Heliodorus. 

Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement”

So the angels swirling about in the top left and right lunettes are carrying the Instruments of the Passion.  On the left, the cross, the crown of thorns, the nails – invisible, but presumably in the hands which are being cradled by a second angel – but NOT the lash,  a strange omission, really; on the right, the whipping column (the huge phallic object, in case you hadn’t noticed), the sponges on a stick, the ladder, peeping up at the very top.  Vasari mentions a lance, the one that pierced Christ’s side presumably, but I was unable to make it out.

St. Bartholomew and St. Peter

These two seem oddly threatening to the Christ figure; the first, waving his skinning knife near the left leg, and Peter pointing a huge key at Christ, like some kind of Star Wars firearm.  Christ could be recoiling in alarm.  Opposite Bart, St. Lawrence sneaks away like a thief, with a backward glance, his grill over his shoulder.

Naked Lunch

From Michelangelo to William Burroughs.  Re-reading the above book, in the section titled “benway”, I found a description of interrogation and demoralisation techniques, short of out and out torture, that coincided very closely with the techniques in which British forces were trained, according to a Guardian article a day or two ago; I think the Guardian source was Wikileaks.  The Burroughs book was written in the 50’s.

“A naked lunch is natural to us,

We eat reality sandwiches.

But allegories are so much lettuce.

Don’t hide the madness.”

“On Burrough’s work”, Allen Ginsberg 1954.  What great advice for an artist.

Fra Angelico

I’ve already blogged about the above, in relation to his strange and beautiful “Mocking of Christ”, with the disembodied head spitting into his face.  Looking at other paintings, I have some questions:  why, in “The Dream of the Deacon Justinian”, are Sts. Cosmas and Damian replacing Justinian’s corrupted leg with a healthy – but black – leg (Justinian is white)?  And in the gruesome “Decapitation of St. Cosmas and St.Damian”, the sainted heads retain their halos, as they roll about in the dust, looking like space helmets; do saint’s heads always retain the halo after removal?  I shall be checking the web to find out.