Influences: Part 2






Some Mannerists used distortion and general Mannerist weirdness to alienate and subvert, but Bronzino certainly didn't. The marble flesh, distorted limbs and abstracted faces in his portraits give the subjects a semi-divine beauty and remoteness; the effect is far, far more profound than the faux-aristocratic hauteur one thinks of in many of Sargent's portraits.

I also like the airless, artificial atmosphere in some of his mythological paintings, like the The Allegory of Venus. It has this intense feeling of decadence - not the 19th century bourgeois kind in which conservative aesthetics are oversaturated to the point of kitsch, but an otherworldly kind that makes horror and perversity seem wholly acceptable as long as they're aesthetically pleasing.






            There are two types of people I hate in this world: people who are intolerant
            of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.

                                                                                                Nigel Powers

Many of Rembrandt's earlier paintings are magnificent, but they often have something really vulgar about them, which really gets under my skin.

As he got older, though, his sensibilities seem to have changed. The coarse melodrama disappears, the people aren't ugly anymore, and his late paintings are subtle and often extraordinarily beautiful, executed in loose, stratified layers of paint unlike anyone else's. He was an incredible craftsman.















Part 1       Part 3





Copyright © 2010 by Harry Steen