Thursday, June 02, 2005

Artemisia and Existentialisme


I am watching an atmospheric movie about Artemisia Gentileschi, a female painter of the 16th century, daughter of the famous Orazio Gentileschi. She was a true artist and loved the human form, colour, lines, seeing everything through an artist's eyes. La jeune fille qui peint. She would burn the midnight oil to draw, to release her frustrations. But to be a woman painter back then spelled disaster - she and her tutor Tassi - well, history says he took advantage of her but in any case it went to trial. It is Artemisia who painted scenes of women taking revenge on men, such as Judith beheading Holofernes...
And do you know why history says he violated her? Because the judge took it out of the courtoom into his cabinet. They tortured her in front of Tassi by tying her hands together and tightening the wires every time she swore her love, until her hands bled. It was Tassi who saved her artistic hands by "confessing" to his "crime".

Because it is in French, I nearly started this blog en francais! A good exercise: I read the subtitles and then re-translate back into French for myself, approximating what I heard them say. English has so many more synonyms than French and requires more creative translation.

Also, and don't laugh...At first I was confused to hear Italian characters speaking French. So there you go. It must be strange for people of any nationality to hear their stories acted out in English: Joan of Arc, Gladiator...So kudos to The Passion for being in Latin and Aramaic.

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Who hasn't heard about Paris Hilton's engagement to Paris Latsis? Match made in heaven if they both have cotton wool between their ears.
The match itself puts me in mind of the joining of merchant houses in old Florence, but I doubt the she-Paris would agree to anything that serious: American hotel heiress marries Greek shipping heir. Ooh la la. All they have to do is live together and spend, spend, spend.
(But just watch it fall apart in the next few months, knowing her. He-Paris says he feels lucky to be marrying the most beautiful woman in the world, but I doubt there are many more positive attributes anyone can think of.)

Then I got thinking. I would hate to have too much money. It's more exciting to be comfortable and disciplined, to know you can do almost anything you want, but don't because you have respect - for yourself and the money. To have deep pockets but not bottomless ones. There is a thrill in that.
Imagine them, isolated and pampered in their luxurious, echoing palaces of boredom. Posing in front of endless cameras, thinking the whole world is in love with them. Fill the time with pretence and masquerade but soon even that rings hollow. There has to be substance and meaning to life.

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It is always very exhilarating to meet someone who makes you think, regarding various things: Hey, I'm not the only one!

This Gets me Every Time (scary car) - it really is a good one! I'm almost afraid to watch it again, but last time no one heard me scream (I asked).

8 comments:

eruditebaboon said...

Maybe the parises (parii?) will start a blog. That will help to validate their existence.

Rebecca said...

"There has to be substance and meaning to life."
ACCOUNTABILITY. It all comes down to accountability - can you account for the things you have done in your life, the choices you have made and actions you have taken!

And about Artemisia Gentileschi, my mother recently read a book about her which she highly recommended. i forgot the name (although perhaps you know it already), but in any case I will ask her and let you know.

Steliano Ponticos said...

Kalimera..I have finished my exams thank you++ for coming when I was away and wishing me luck..Also I had never heard of Artemisia Gentileschi. Her name is very beautiful..I know more about the Metafisica in Italian drawing (19th century) but this seems so cool. bey now

Olivia said...

EB - The Parii? They sound like mythological characters now. In a way, blogging does feel fulfilling. It's *cathartic* ... ouch.

Rebecca - Accountability, yes, a quality shared mostly by people who respect themselves and others. And do please tell me the name of the Artemisia book :-) Grazie.

Olivia said...

Steliano - felicitations on finishing your exams. I hope you have done well. Thank you for returning! Artemisia Gentileschi is a beautiful name. Another lovely one is Sofonisba Anguissola. Another early female artist. I meant to mention her!

eruditebaboon said...

Just watched the video too ... I was about to go to bed, but I think I'm going to be awake for hours yet after that!

Olivia said...

Oh...I just watched the video again, too. For the fifth time. My palms are sweating right now. I said to myself, "Olivia, DO NOT scream. You know what is going to happen." Needless to say, I screamed.

Jia Li said...

you know, the vid didn't get me. I was watching and waiting and then pop a guy pops out and I'm like what the... go change your pants? Uh Ok.