Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poetry says something...

While I was printing up some pictures for Christmas presents last night, I realized that I’ve said goodbye to a lot of my art in 2009—like this mixed media piece: Poetry says something nothing else can. I worked on it on and off for at least five years, and with the deadline of my show approaching in October, I said to myself: This is something you must finish. Suddenly, it all came together. Then Poetry spoke to someone and now has a new home.
Thinking about the whole process in retrospect, I can see I was so enamored with the central image (it’s a painting by the 17th century Italian artist Carlo Dolci called Poetry) that I couldn’t make a any kind of decision I felt was visually worthy of her. Once I made her less personal and focused on the act of writing poetry, I was able to finish.
The interesting thing is that Carlo Dolci was a notoriously slow painter himself. “[S]ometimes he would take weeks over a single foot,” wrote his biographer Baldinucci. By all accounts, Dolci was a very sensitive man. He suffered from depression and went into a decline triggered by Luca Giordano’s 1682 visit to Florence. Luca joked that his own rapid style had brought him a fortune, but Dolci would starve if he kept taking so long. Dolci also had a daughter called Agnese who made copies of his work and was a painter in her own right.
The image I used of Poetry seems to be the one around that's available to scan. I got her from a book my godmother gave me years ago …a 1908 bio of Carlo Dolci by George Hay. The reproductions are all hand-tinted because there was no color photography in those days. If you want to check out the book, you can read it online here.And by a curious coincidence, a miniature portrait painted of Dolci painted in the 18th century by Nardelli is available on Ebay right now for $1795.00 U.S (see below). I'm thinking it's time to buy myself a lottery ticket pronto.


Irene said...

I always find your posts, not only interesting, but informative. I'm out to buy a lottery ticket as well, not sure I know how, never buy them. How did/do you feel about saying goodbye to your creations. I have difficulty, parting with things, unless I specifically make/paint them for someone.

A bird in the hand said...

I've missed you! Last night I willed you to post on your blog. And, well, here we are. You didn't know I had such psychic powers, did you!
That's a very good write up -- you would have got honors in my Italian Renaissance art history class at uni.
You're right about those birds I made out of clay. they should have stayed the way they were. the papier mache completely ruined them, at least the flour/water paste ruined them. I was following a recipe that unfortunately doesn't work too well. Pffft! Now I know. Should have asked you first!

azirca said...

Love the texture on the background of this piece, it reminds me of chipped peeling paint.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas, may 2010 be all that you dream of and more.

Leslie Jane Moran said...

I love hearing about your "process". I think that everyone who sees your art thinks it happens rather more quickly than it actually does. I appreciate the angst and sensitivity with which you always approach your masterpieces. Once again, it's fascinating to get the background on your inspirations. Bravo. Can't wait to see your lottery winnings :)

La Dolce Vita said...

what a wonderful piece! and a 1908 book sounds just remarkable. I adore the the portrait and your work which to me, is gorgeously iconic!
Have a beautiful holiday my dear! Buon Natale!

Sandy Michelle said...

Woah I wonder if the portrait will actually sell for that much. Your poetry piece is wonderful. As for my intellect..umm I failed grade one..ha,haa! I guess since I was born the last day of the year it was excusable. I wish we could have met at Martha's! Have a fantastic Christmas Susan!

Sandy xox

me again said...

Susan, this is a special blog post for me because I too often have trouble finishing. Right now, buried somewhere in my now-always-messy studio are two altered books that are only halfway done. Two of many, many unfinished projects. Why does the inspiration come and then fly right out the window? Something to tackle in the new year, I feel.
May you and yours have the happiest of holidays over the next coming days!! Hugs!