Archive for March 10th, 2011

This is a very moving exhibition, at least for me.  I’ve been twice in one week and will go back many more times before it closes May 30.  Around 1500 and a few decades before, this new sensibility emerged in France and it feels like home base to me.  It has a delicacy and grace that I miss in the Italian art of the same period where men are heroically muscular and women are passively dull. By comparison, these French ladies and courtiers enjoyed their playfulness and its possibilities.

I was fascinated as soon as I walked in last Friday. In the second room of the exhibit I was already completely enchanted (sorry, I don’t usually talk like this) by a modanna & child from 1470 called Notre Dame de Grasse.  She’s a girl with a delicate nose, dreamy eyes and a pouty innocent upper lip. The baby, with wavy hair and the same pouty upper lip, is scampering on her left thigh.  With one hand she keeps him from sliding off and with the other she lightly holds on to his foot under the blanket.  But her head is turned in the other direction.  She’s distracted by something, maybe a butterfly or a deer at the edge of the woods.  She is, you see, very young,  a girl of thirteen, no more.  The sculptor must have been very brave to create such a human, fallible, this-worldly image.  1470!

Not only photography, but sketching is also prohibited in the exhibit.  Ouch.  What’s a sketcher to do?  The urge was too great.  I went through the exhibit. Then at the end where the catalogues are laid out on tables, I looked for this little madonna from Toulouse, but she was not reproduced in the catalog.  So, I sketched from memory.  Got some of the basics down.  Went back, for a detail like the book she has tucked under her arm.  Then went back again for a third time.  So, it took three takes.  This is a good exercise, drawing from memory.   Recommend it highly.


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