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The Ideal Viewer

November 19, 2010

Off to mom’s again for the weekend.  Finished Maurice Brock’s Bronzino, and I have to say that I couldn’t have been luckier in my first choice of scholarly art book, especially after looking at some of the others in the UNR library, full as they are of not only the obligatory PC language (privileged patriarchal perspectives etc.) but of the sort of obtuse academic jargon that proves not that you have mastered a subject, just the approved method of talking about it.  I’m sure a great deal is due to the translators as well, but there is nothing of esoterica in Brock – just clean, lucid, explicit documentation of history and technique.  Nothing can put you off a subject like a bad teacher or a boring book, and Brock’s book was excellent on every level.

Low on energy this morning, so I won’t get into my theory on the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, one of Bronzino’s last works.  I’m admittedly demoralized by the low stat count on the site (an average of 5 per day for 2010, most of them “misdirected” by their search for “Cezanne mountain paintings):


I have to remember something Brock said about Bronzino – he may have well known that the references he made to the works of Michelangelo or Pontormo wouldn’t be seen by most viewers, that the bluenoses of the Counter-Reformation (the Tea Party of its time) would fail to see the neo-Platonism in his works that instructed viewers to look up from the hot bods at the bottom of a painting up towards the more ethereal characters, a progression from flesh to spirit, and see only “obscenity.”  All the same, he had to create as if someone would get it, as if his “ideal viewer” was his next viewer – even though it would take 450 years for that viewer to come along in the form of Brock.

So I’ll continue to write, to create a body of work that will (delusional magical wishful thinking ahead) get some rich patron/foundation/media potentate to discover/fund/otherwise raise me up to the purple.  And I’ll append my own theory to Brock’s on the St. Lawrence on Monday.

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