So, I’m not the greatest or smartest when it comes to art history. I’ve taken a few classes, and I’ve taken a few of those classes multiple times.
A few years back I took a “Women in Art” class. We ended up discussing some of the famous female artists from early Renaissance all the way up to modern day artists of today, as well as what kind of work they’d make compared to their male counterparts. The teacher always liked to start the class with Gentileschi’s vs Caravaggio’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes” side by side on the projector. (It usually put the male students into a fighting stance to walk in and see that first class.)
I’ve spent a long while trying to figure out what, exactly, is the “male gaze” and trying to understand why it is that women can be depicted in art and still be “artsy” but that the male nude isn’t really considered “art.” I mean, sure, there’s Michaelangelo’s David, who is a super-ripped muscley dude… I guess you can have a few nude males in art and count it as “art”. I had an art teacher tell another student that “women were beautiful, and that men were not” and that was why it’s “better” to paint women and not men.
But then again, I’ve never been that good at following instructions, and I’m still trying to figure all this stuff out. Personally, I think men are beautiful to look at.
So, that’s my attempt to explain what has been going on in my head while I’ve been painting this weekend, but mostly I’ve been trying to figure out how to draw a face where the head looks like it’s going back in space so that you can see up the nose, without getting focused on just the nose.
Here is the painting that I started on Saturday:
Here it is Saturday evening when I went to bed:
Also, my husband introduced this painting as, “…and here is my penis…” to his friends.
Fun fact: There are plenty of tropes of “the sleeping king” or “the giant under the mountain” or things like that, (which tend to be a bit jingoistic/nationalist) but there really aren’t much about “sleeping women” other than… well, Sleeping Beauty, I guess. Maybe it’s that those are lumped under the trope of “damsel in distress”? Also, there are no male analogies to Ophelia, which is weird, considering how some of that Romantic poetry gets a little… emotional… at times.
Yep, and if this under-painting reminds you of Waterhouse’s Ophelia, then that’s exactly what I’m going for. Sort of. But with plants and trees and things.
Bah, I don’t have half a clue as to what it is I’m talking about, do I?