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09 December 2010 @ 04:56 pm

"Apostles of Meat," Dario Ortiz, Colombia (b. 1968)

In Spanish, the title is "Apostilicos de Carne," which could also mean "Apostles of flesh," or "Apostles of the flesh." "Meat" sounds more stark, or like a commodity to be consumed; "carne" has more implication of the sensual and immediate physical reality of flesh. The artist says, "In Antwerp the nicname for Rubens was "The apostle of the flesh". My painting is a personal homage to this great master."

Rubens also masterfully and sympathetically painted aging flesh.

07 December 2010 @ 12:21 pm

Detail from Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, c. 1675, Giovanni Battista Gaulli (1639–1709)

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02 December 2010 @ 10:38 am

"Portrait of a Fat Man," by Master of Flémalle (probably Robert Campin, c. 1375-1444)
Click to enlarge.

The sitter probably was Robert de Masmines, a distinguished Burgundian soldier, identifiable on the basis of a drawing now in Arras. The daring white background is calculated to heighten every aspect of the sitter's jowly, stubbly physiognomy, his ducal ties indicated by the court's characteristic short haircut and fur-trimmed robes. (Web Gallery of Art)

Campin was a very early Dutch Northern Renaissance painter whose crisp, almost hyper-realism evokes manuscript illumination. It's interesting that the man being painted was a soldier. We have this somewhat stereotyped view of the military bearing as buff and youthful, but like the mid-seventeenth century Alessandro del Borro, the paintings provide another side to the story.
25 October 2010 @ 01:15 pm

“Bacchus,” by Jan van Dalen (c. 1620-c. 1653, Flemish) 1648 (link)
(click to enlarge)

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20 October 2010 @ 12:08 pm

I wish I could give credit for this; I know it's a wedding shot, though.

ETA: It's eggwards and his husband Chris.

19 October 2010 @ 12:08 pm

Artist Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931) liked to draw scenes from the late nineteenth century Paris demi-monde.

As individuals mingled in public places of amusement it became more difficult to pigeonhole their places in the social hierarchy. [Forain was] among the first to investigate the beer halls, cabarets, cafe-concerts and dance halls where women and children went out at night, sometimes without being properly escorted by men ...

I like the sly, half-concealed expression on the woman's face as she glances over to the man on her right. It's as if the artist captured her in the middle of one of those fleeting expressions which reveal underlying feelings.

And who is she, anyway, and what's the significance of that sideways glance? We could assume she's a prostitute or courtesan, but maybe not. As stated above, one of the features of Parisian life at this time was how social categories became increasingly blurred, especially for women. Because a woman sat alone in a restaurant didn't necessarily mean she was a "working woman." Middle-class, "respectable" women in Paris might have assignations at the maisons des rendezvous, or pursue affairs on their own. On the other hand, the man is probably exactly what he seems to be - a prosperous middle-class man hanging out in a Montmartre cafe, most likely open to the attentions of the woman to his side. The difference, though, is the "female gaze" to which she subjects him. And in capturing that brief moment, Forain documents a whole sea-change in cultural history.

Current Music: "Astroboy" theme song
14 October 2010 @ 07:57 pm
brancher pointed out this fat centaur t-shirt. (Thanks!) It goes up to size 3X in "unisex," measuring 28" armpit-to-armpit when laid flat. That's generous enough to fit a 56" chest. The length is a bit over 33", which might lead to a bit of belly-peek in those with long torsos. (Unless you're in one of those situations where you *want* a little bit of peekage!) Kudos to the sellers for *having* measurements; a lot of clothiers don't.

08 October 2010 @ 04:19 pm
Who would have thought that Isaac M. Singer, the inventor of the Singer sewing machine, was such a handsome man?

by Edward Harrison May (1824-1887), Oil on canvas, 1869 (link)

22 September 2010 @ 11:34 am

Above is 'The Fat Men’ Scene from the film ‘Wait and See’ made at the Nettlefield Studios, Walton on Thames in 1928, featuring London’s "Thirty Fat Men." My guess is that the "Thirty Fat Men" was a fat man's club, which used to be pretty common in the late 19th and even up into the 20th century.

Clubmen circa 1900 have a "Fat Man's Contest

Not just for the turn of the century: Sailors of the USS Irex started one in 1953

ETA: Read about a Fat Man's Ball from earlier.

18 September 2010 @ 07:57 pm
I like George Caleb Bingham's 1854 painting "Stump Speaking" (full-size; *very* large) because it shows a wide range of men, both physically and in their stations in life. The crowd has gathered to listen to a local political candidate's speech. The term arose because the speakers would elevate themselves on a sawed-off tree stump so that the onlookers could see and hear them better. Below are some details of men from the crowd (click to enlarge.) The colors are a little different in the full versus smaller segments, because I shot the details myself directly from the painting in the St. Louis Art Museum.