Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Making Our Marks; ...also, Wombats in Victorian England

Doesn't Cy Twombly's name match his scribbly art so well, like he's a talented wombat with vertigo and some sticks of carbon?

I've always liked Twombly's scratchy marks, and I like them even more in this era of smooth computer images.

This photo (by Mario Dondero) of him scritching on canvas makes me want to go home and mark up some paper. 

BELOW: Center panel of Twombly's triptych 
"Three studies from the Temeraire"
You can see it whole (and read art jargon about it, if you like that sort of thing ) here: Art Gallery of NSW.

Even though these are named after Turner's Temeraire from the early 1800s, to me they look like ships out of Homer. 

I've written before--here--about how Turner's painting of the Temeraire being hauled off against a setting sun looks like the starship Enterprise going down in flames in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (really vice versa, of course).

I don't see any of that sadness or loss in Twombly's tritych: to me it looks more like it's about bravery:
How brave we humans can be, launching out into the unknown, whether that's a sea or outer space or an empty piece of paper.

Making our marks. 
Turns out it is illegal to mention wombats without a picture of one. 
So, keeping with the theme of marks on paper, here is a drawing by British painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti of his beloved Jane Morris with a wombat, 1869:
--from the British Museum
Rossetti really had a pet wombat; two, in fact. 
Here is the text of a  scholarly lecture that seriously, yet hilariously, considers the question, "Why were Rossetti and his protégés so interested in wombats?": 
"Rossetti's Wombat: A Pre-Raphaelite Obsession in Victorian England"


bink said...

Delightful article on the Pre-Raphaelite wombats. It's no wonder they were so popular with these artists. To know a wombat is to love a wombat.

Fresca said...