From historic Egypt during the 19th century, Sexual Personae explores the provocative connections among paintings and pagan ritual; among Emily Dickinson and the Marquis de Sade; among Lord Byron and Elvis Presley. It finally demanding situations the cultural assumptions of either conservatives and standard liberals. forty seven images.
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Extra info for Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
His personae, unreachable, contemplative, hover in a dream imaginative and prescient. they've got the materiality of pagan pictorialism. Their light soft flesh glitters with the aristocracy of Apollonian attractiveness, a creative dynasty based in Egypt. This theatrical compounding of sexual personae with moody atmosphere, sober and ascetic in Botticelli, is reproduced and darkened via Leonardo da Vinci. Botticelli's sophisticated atmospherics are so obvious they're effortless to overlook. yet in Leonardo a thundercloud of chiaroscuro is accumulating. Leonardo, who melts the Apollonian line in shadow, is associated with Botticelli by means of the motif of an obsessively repeated face, used for either sexes. Leonardo and Michelangelo, solitary and depressive, created the personality of the artist as religious quester, as a lot a guy of principles as any thinker. For either males, artwork, technological know-how, and development have been highbrow substitutes for intercourse — no longer sublimation yet undisguised aggression, a antagonistic domination of nature. Their celibacy and sick mood have been correlated, rational responses to our outrageous extension in those tyrannous our bodies, branded with gender by means of mom nature. Leonardo dissected and anatomized the physique to take away its lady mysteries, unstringing muscle tissues, detaching bones, even commencing a womb to attract the huddled fetus. In his innovations, from flying machines to engines of conflict, the legislation of dynamics have been captured by means of the mathematical male brain. Michelangelo, by way of enormous masculine athleticism, attempted to hammer subject into servitude. After the breakup of the ordered medieval cosmos, either males grew to become nervousness into megalomania, a fanatical enlargement of the desire. yet Leonardo painted little. Even his entire works had a 154 Renaissance shape 22. Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1505. self-destruct quotient, just like the final Supper, with its experimental procedure, which made the paint shortly start to peel off the refectory wall. Leonardo's Mona Lisa is the most appropriate sexual personality of western artwork (fig. 22). She is the Renaissance Nefertiti, ceaselessly looking at. She is unnervingly placid. the main attractive lady, making herself an ideal stillness, will consistently flip Gorgon. I said the Mona Lisa as Leonardo's apotropaion, his loved ones attraction of warding-off. She is an envoy from primeval occasions, while earth used to be a desolate tract inhospitable to guy. She presides over a panorama of uncooked rock and water. The far away river's snaky meander is the elusiveness of her chilly daemonic middle. Her determine is a good lady delta, a perceptual pyramid crowned with the mystic eye. however the history is dishonest and incoherent. The mismatched horizon traces, which one hardly notices before everything, are subliminally disorienting. they're the unbalanced scales of an archetypal international with out legislation or justice. Mona Lisa's recognized smile is a skinny mouth receding into shadow. Her expression, like her puffy eyes, is hooded. The egglike head with its huge, immense plucked forehead turns out to pillow at the ample, self-embraced Italian bosom. what's Mona Lisa considering? not anything, after all.