Salvador Dali: Muchacha en la ventana, 1925

L’amour, la folie

Order of the day, from Bonaparte, First Counsul, to his guard:

«Greadier Gobain has committed suicide for love: moreover he was a very fine soldier. This is the second event of this kind which has occurred within the corps in a month. The First Counsul orders the guard to be notified: that a soldier must conquer the pain and melancholy of the passions; that there is as much true courage in suffering steadfastly the pangs of the soul as in standing fast under the fire of a battery…».

(Quoted in «Roland Barthes, by Roland Barthes».)

Edward Hopper: Cape Cod Morning, 1950

Memory and Dusk

A poem by George Sarantaris

They come by slowly

In the garden that accepted us

And was our hideout for life

The hours the women the pigeons…

My photo: Woman in Lisboa, 1992

The Arrows

A poem by Andreas Empeirikos

A girl in a garden

Two women in a tub

Three girls in my heart

Without limits without conditions…

Caspar David Friedrich: Frau am Fenster, 1822

«When I was kissing her, I believed I was taking her soul from her lips, and I was offering her the whole of my soul. It was the sky, the universe.»

(Gamiani, Alfred de Musset)

Savas Haratsidis: Two female figures

«- Why are you slipping away from my hands? Where are you? I have new tatoos to show you. Do not wake up… Exactly the way you are, I will put your figure on the stern… Little girl. Take my hand and show me the world.

- I do not have a hand. There is no world.»

Nikos Kavadias, The Watch

Edvard Munch: The girl by the window, 1893

«What was making me furious was the fact that although I did not love Cecilia, the circumstances were forcing me to have the feelings and the behaviour becoming to a person in love. I wanted to liberate myself from these instances like an animal wanting to take the noose off its neck…»

Alberto Moravia, Boredom

Edward Monet: The Red Kerchief, 1873

Don’t wish too hard, or you will get what you want.

Jewish proverb

Jan Vermeer: Girl reading a letter at an open window, 1659

Desires

A poem by Constantine Cavafy

Like beautiful bodies of the dead, who had not grown old
and they shut them with tears, in a magnificent mausoleum,
with roses at the head and jasmine at the feet –
that is how desires look that have passed
without fultillment; without one of them having achieved
a night of sensual delight, or a moonlit morn.

Henri Matisse: Young woman at the window, 1921

I lost everything

A poem of Giuseppe Ungaretti

I remember how I used to tremble for you,

And look at me now I am lost

In the night’s infinity

Roy Lichtenstein: Collage for still life with reclining nude, 1997

«Hanold had chosen archaeology as a retreat from love. But it was an archaeological object, the sculpture of Gradiva, that aroused his desire. Thus his repressed sexuality used the very instrument of its repression (archaeology) to gain access to consciousness. The symptom of his disorder, the delusion that the sculpture was a real woman, was a compromise formed between the sexual drive and the repression.»

Freud Museum

Gradiva: The Cure Through Love, An exhibition on Freud as archaeological literary critic

Pamela Hanson: Monica Bellucci, 1994

ISOLDE

Do I alone
hear this melody
which, so wondrous
and tender
in its blissful lament,
all‑revealing,
gently pardoning,
sounding from him,
pierces me through,
rises above,
blessedly echoing
and ringing round me?
Resounding yet more clearly,
wafting about me,
are they waves
of refreshing breezes?

(continued…)

Henri Cartier Bresson, Calle Cuauhtemo, Mexico City

Are they clouds
of heavenly fragrance?
As they swell
and roar round me,
shall I breathe them,
shall I listen to them?
Shall I sip them,
plunge beneath them,
to expire in sweet perfume?

In the surging swell,
in the ringing sound,
in the vast wave
of the world’s breath –
to drown,
to sink
unconscious –
supreme bliss!

Isolde’s Death Song, Tristan and Isolde

Introduction

«An artist is an artist only because of his exquisite sense of beauty, a sense which shows him intoxicating pleasures, but which at the same time implies and contains an equally exquisite sense of all deformities and all disproportion.» C.Baudelaire ( I thank «Paintisnotdead» for the quote)

Today I publish more of my favourite depictions of the female in sculptures, paintings and photos, accompanied by a song or an aria. Beaudelaire’s saying epitomizes what is the sense of beauty I am looking for. I am looking for all deformities and disproportions at the same time that I am captivated by the formal elements of beauty.

These are fragments, in the sense that Female Characters and Images and Music, all come together without a coherent Totality. Fragments, moments in times gone, characters in the course of history, real or imaginative.

Fragmenta

1. {Alma Mahler} 

The golden hair of Venus, her eyes contemplating the fate of whoever meets her gaze. She is confident, she is on top of the world, she is unbeatable in the game of Love. Tackling her is suicidal, but this type of death, under her gaze is a sweet death.

Liebst du um Schönheit,

O nicht mich liebe!

Liebe die Sonne,

Sie trägt ein gold’nes Haar!

If you love for beauty,

Oh, do not love me!

Love the sun,

She has golden hair!

(Detail from Botticelli’s «The birth of Venus, Ufizzi in Florence.)

2.(Mimi, La Boheme}

Golden brown hair, contemplation on the mirror, the bluish landscape offering a retreat from the heat of the internal scene. The confidence of Venus is gone. The young woman tries to see into her future. What does the mirror hold for her?

O soave fanciulla, o dolce viso
di mite circonfuso alba lunar,
in te ravviso il sogno
ch’io vorrei sempre sognar!

Oh! sweet little lady! Oh sweetest vision,
with moonlight bathing your pretty face!
The dream that I see in you
is the dream I’ll always dream!

(Young Woman in her Toilet, by Giovanni Bellini (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum)).

Gerhard Richter, Betty 1988

3. Everybody is talking at her, but Betty is looking away.

Everybody’s talking at me.
I don’t hear a word they’re saying,
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping staring,
I can’t see their faces,
Only the shadows of their eyes.

I’m going where the sun keeps shining
Thru’ the pouring rain,
Going where the weather suits my clothes,
Backing off of the North East wind,
Sailing on summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone.

I’m going where the sun keeps shining
Thru’ the pouring rain,
Going where the weather suits my clothes,
Backing off of the North East wind,
Sailing on summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone

(Almost five centuries later, Gerhard Richter’s daughter, Betty, poses unusually in this 1988 portrait. I have published this portrait for the first time in the blog in my 2010 post honoring women.)

David Schoerner, Martynka

4. Run Away, Turn Away

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand
Why you had to leave
But the answers you seek
Will never be found at home
The love that you need
Will never be found at home

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.

Pushed around and kicked around
Always a lonely boy
You were the one
That they’d talk about around town
As they put you down

And as hard as they would try
They’d hurt to make you cry
But you never cried to them
Just to your soul
No you never cried to them
Just to your soul

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.

Cry , boy, cry…

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away.

(Taking the lead from Richter’s unusual position for a portrait, David Schoerner, an American photographer, took this photo «Martynka (after Gerhard Richter’s Betty)», honoring the oblique unusual pose of Richter’s Betty. I found this Martynka thanks to «Eloge de l’ Art par Alain Truong«).)

5. {Cio – Cio San (Madama Butterfly)}

Un bel dì, vedremo
levarsi un fil di fumo
sull’estremo confin del mare.
E poi la nave appare.
Poi la nave bianca
entra nel porto,
romba il suo saluto.
One good day, we will see
Arising a strand of smoke
Over the far horizon on the sea
And then the ship appears
And then the ship is white
It enters into the port, it rumbles its salute.

Cio-cio San asks the mirror the eternal question of beauty. This question is at the same time eternal and astonishingly temporal. She wants to know whether she is beautiful now, the very moment she is looking at the mirror. Tomorrow is too far away. «Am  I beautiful now?»

(The Japanese Master Hokusai painted a woman in front of her mirror. I like the somber background and the restrained tone of the colors.)

Alison Brady: Untitled 2006

6. Alice? Who the fuck is Alice

Brown hair covering the face, painted body inviting. Living painting, the canvas is now the human flesh.

Sally called when she got the word,
She said: «I suppose you’ve heard -
About Alice».
Well I rushed to the window,
And I looked outside,
But I could hardly believe my eyes -
As a big limousine rolled slowly
Into Alice’s drive…

Oh, I don’t know why she’s leaving,
Or where she’s gonna go,
I guess she’s got her reasons,
But I just don’t want to know,
‘Cos for twenty-four years
I’ve been living next door to Alice.
Alice, who the fuck is Alice

Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I’m feeling, maybe get a second glance,
Now I’ve got to get used to not living next door to Alice…
Alice, who the fuck is Alice

Grew up together,
Two kids in the park,
Carved our initials,
Deep in the bark,
Me and Alice.
Now she walks through the door,
With her head held high,
Just for a moment, I caught her eye,
As a big limousine pulled slowly
Out of Alice’s drive.

Oh, I don’t know why she’s leaving,
Or where she’s gonna go,
I guess she’s got her reasons,
But I just don’t want to know,
‘Cos for twenty-four years
I’ve been living next door to Alice.
Alice, who the fuck is Alice

Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I’m feeling, maybe get a second glance,
Now I gotta get used to not living next door to Alice…
Alice, who the fuck is Alice

Sally called back, asked how I felt,
She said: «I know how to help -
Get over Alice».
She said: «Now Alice is gone,
But I’m still here,
You know I’ve been waiting
For twenty-four years…»
And the big limousine disappeared…

I don’t know why she’s leaving,
Or where she’s gonna go,
I guess she’s got her reasons,
But I just don’t want to know,
‘Cos for twenty-four years
I’ve been living next door to Alice.
Alice, who the fuck is Alice

Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I feel, and maybe get a second glance,
But I’ll never get used to not living next door to Alice…
Alice, who the fuck is Alice

Now I’ll never get used to not living next door to Alice…

(The portrait is now mixed with the nude body. Coming to think of it, the face, the object or subject of the portrait, is always naked. But we do not say «this is a naked face», because the face – even when made up – is always naked. Therefore we do not say it as it would be a tautology. In the rather elaborate photo taken by Alison Brady, the face is not only naked, but hidden. In Schoerner’s Martynka the face is not shown, but is not hidden. In Brady’s untitled woman the face is hidden on purpose, as if what matters most is the naked breasts that have been elaborately covered by a paint pattern. Therefore we have a juxtraposition not only of the portrait with the naked body, but of the photo with a painting, as the depicted body is painted.)

Roy Lichtenstein: Crying Girl

7. Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda

Cry, cry girl!!!

Piangi, piangi faciulla!

(Roy Lichtenstein’s crying girl brings pop art to the post. The face in this portrait is not naked, as it is dressed by tears.)

RB Kitaj: Sandra Fisher

8.  Love

I wanna be loved by you
just you and nobody else but you
I wanna be loved by you – alone.
Boo boo bee doo

I wanna be kissed by you
just you and nobody alse but you
I wanna be kissed by you – alone.
Boo boo bee doo

I couldn’t aspire
to anything higher
and to feel the desire
to make you my own.
Badum badum bee doodily dum ! Boo !

(No female portrait collection would be complete without RB Kitaj’s portrait of his beloved Sandra Fisher.)

RB Kitaj: Marynka smoking

9. Marynka, aka Lulu

You keep saying you’ve got something for me.
something you call love, but confess.
You’ve been messin’ where you shouldn’t have been a messin’
and now someone else is gettin’ all your best.

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin’
and you keep losin’ when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin’ when you oughta be changin’.
Now what’s right is right, but you ain’t been right yet.

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

You keep playin’ where you shouldn’t be playin
and you keep thinkin’ that you´ll never get burnt.
Ha!
I just found me a brand new box of matches yeah
and what he know you ain’t HAD time to learn.

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

Are you ready boots? Start walkin’!

RB Kitaj: Marynka on her stomach

10. Lay lady lay

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Whatever colors you have in your mind
I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Until the break of day, let me see you make him smile
His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean
And you’re the best thing that he’s ever seen

Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can have your cake and eat it too
Why wait any longer for the one you love
When he’s standing in front of you

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead
I long to see you in the morning light
I long to reach for you in the night
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead

(Kitaj also painted Marynka lying on her stomach.)

Aneta Bartos, untitled

11. Stairway to Heaven

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying the stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying the stairway to heaven.

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

And it’s whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now,
It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,
The piper’s calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

And she’s buying the stairway to heaven.

(Another photo by Bartos)

Gerhard Richter: Ema - Nude on a staircase

12. Ema

And I would do anything for love,
I’d run right into hell and back.
I would do anything for love,
I’ll never lie to you and that’s a fact.

But I’ll never forget the way you feel right now, oh no, no way.
And I would do anything for love,
Oh I would do anything for love,
I would do anything for love,
But I won’t do that,
No I won’t do that.

And some days it don’t come easy,
And some days it don’t come hard,
Some days it don’t come at all, and these are the days that never end.

And some nights you’re breathing fire.
And some nights you’re carved in ice.
Some nights you’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before or will again.

And maybe I’m crazy.
Oh it’s crazy and it’s true.
I know you can save me, no one else can save me now but you.

As long as the planets are turning.
As long as the stars are burning.
As long as your dreams are coming true, you’d better believe it!

That I would do anything for love,
And I’ll be there till the final act.
And I would do anything for love,
And I’ll take the vow and seal a pact.

But I’ll never forgive myself if we don’t go all the way, tonight.

And I would do anything for love,
But I won’t do that.
No, I won’t do that!

I would do anything for love,
Anything you’ve been dreaming of,
But I just won’t do that.
[x2]

[Solo]
And some days I pray for silence,
And some days I pray for soul,
Some days I just pray to the god of sex and drums and rock ‘n’ roll!

And maybe I’m lonely,
That’s all I’m qualified to be.
There’s just one and only, one and only promise I can keep.

As long as the wheels are turning.
As long as the fires are burning.
As long as your prayers are coming true, you’d better believe it!

That I would do anything for love,
And you know it’s true and that’s a fact.
I would do anything for love,
And there’ll never be no turning back.

But I’ll never do it better than I do it with you, so long, so long.
And I would do anything for love,
Oh, I would do anything for love,
I would do anything for love,
But I won’t do that.
No, no, no, I won’t do…..

I would do anything for love.
Anything you’ve been dreaming of.
But I just won’t do that!
[x3]

But I’ll never stop dreaming of you,
Every night of my life.
No way.

And I would do anything for love.
But I won’t do that.
No I won’t do that.

[Girl]
Will you raise me up, will you help me down?
Will you get me right out of this God forsaken town?
Will you make it all a little less cold?

[Boy]
I can do that. Oh I can do that.

[Girl]
Will you cater to every fantasy I’ve got?
Will you hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot? Hot!
Will you take me places I’ve never known?

[Boy]
Now I can do that! Oh oh now, I can do that!

[Girl]
After awhile you’ll forget everything.
It was a brief interlude
And a midsummer night’s fling,
And you’ll see that it’s time to move on.

[Boy]
I won’t do that. I won’t do that.

[Girl}
I know the territory, I’ve been around,
It’ll all turn to dust and will all fall down,
Sooner or later, you’ll be screwing around.

[Boy]
I won’t do that. No, I won’t do that.

Anything for love,
Oh, I would do anything for love,
I would do anything for love,
But I won’t do that.
No, I won’t do that.

(Gerhard Richter’s painting )

Sarah Lucas: Nuds, 2010

13. Sweet Jane

Standing on the corner,
Suitcase in my hand
Jack is in his corset, and Jane is her vest,
And me I’m in a rock’n’roll band Hah!
Ridin’ in a Stutz Bear Cat, Jim
You know, those were different times!
Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
And those ladies, they rolled their eyes

Sweet Jane! Whoa! Sweet Jane, oh-oh-a! Sweet Jane!

I’ll tell you something
Jack, he is a banker
And Jane, she is a clerk
Both of them save their monies, ha
And when, when they come home from work
Oh, Sittin’ down by the fire, oh!
The radio does play
The classical music there, Jim
«The March of the Wooden Soldiers»
All you protest kids
You can hear Jack say, get ready, ah

Sweet Jane! Come on baby! Sweet Jane! Oh-oh-a! Sweet Jane!

Some people, they like to go out dancing
And other peoples, they have to work, Just watch me now!
And there’s even some evil mothers
Well they’re gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
Y’know that, women, never really faint
And that villains always blink their eyes, woo!
And that, y’know, children are the only ones who blush!
And that, life is just to die!
And, everyone who ever had a heart
They wouldn’t turn around and break it
And anyone who ever played a part
Oh wouldn’t turn around and hate it!

Sweet Jane! Whoa-oh-oh! Sweet Jane! Sweet Jane!

Heavenly wine and roses
Seems to whisper to her when he smiles
Heavenly wine and roses
Seems to whisper to her when she smiles
La lala lala la, la lala lala la
Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane

(The transfiguration of food objects into body parts was a post that brought Sarah Lucas to my blog. Her NUDS is a series of sculptures that I find intriguing. I quote from the «Auckland’s Art Festival 2011″ relevant web page:)

Sarah Lucas: Nuds, 2010

(Lucas’s new sculptural series, NUDS, consists of nylon tights stuffed with fluff and fashioned into ambiguous biomorphic forms. The coinage NUDS itself implies knots, nodes, or nudes and is evidence of Lucas’s use of puns, slang and language as elements of her sculpture.  The works brim with allusions, inviting different interpretations from the tender to the auto-erotic. Leaning towards primitivism and abstraction, they echo the work of iconic British sculptors such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The sculptural approximation of the female form also links back to the gender-orientated works that defined Lucas’s early practice, in which assemblages of found objects became stand-ins for the female body.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Κυριακή, 14 Φεβρουαρίου, 2010

To the Women

"Poppy" Georgia O'Keefe

and Men on Earth and beyond,

I wish the happiest Valentine’s Day

Love is a hard, difficult thing

Tracey Amin

Our life is full of promises

Suffering is the bread if love is the butter

And it usually starts very differently

Tracey Amin

«When everything has been said,

when everything has been done,

just remember

I never stopped

loving you»

"Porchsester Baths" Tracey Amin 1988

Paradise is lost….

"Paradise Lost" Emil Nolde

……. but there is nothing more comforting than a kiss…

Roy Lichtenstein

…and a walk to the seashore

"By the Seashore" Emil Nolde

Happy Valentine’s!

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