I spent yesterday morning wandering around The Metropolitan Museum of Art
with my friend, Stacy. It was quiet when we arrived so we were able to stroll about at our leisure and enjoy all the exhibits without the normal crowds.
We thought the Madame Cezanne
exhibit interesting but really depressing. She looks so sad in the paintings (with the exception of a few sketches Cezanne captured of her in their early years together). We speculated about what it must have been like to sit for painting after painting. I was much struck by one description that said that she & Cezanne married for the purpose of legitimizing their son. Did he paint her over and over again because he loved her? Or only because he liked to paint what he was familiar with?
We were wowed to learn about “The Treatment of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam.”
In 2002, the pedestal under this statue gave way. The marble statue fell to the ground and broke into 28 big pieces and I don’t know how many little pieces. The restoration of the statue was documented and is now being shown, along with the beautifully restored statue, in its own little room (I can’t give you the exact location – just go towards Arms & Armor and ask one of the guards for directions).
The thing about visiting The Met is that one can be easily overwhelmed by size of the museum and the sheer number of amazing things to see. I don’t even try to pay attention to every last item in there. Rather, I prefer to stroll through the galleries and stop when something catches my eye. Midway through our visit, Stacy pointed out that I was stopping at all the creepy stuff.
The sculpture of the bent over wizened old woman with half her face eroded off. The portrait of another elderly woman with great detail spent on the deep furrows in her face and the giant mole on her cheek (Stacy was convinced it was actually a painting of an old man). Rusted masks with empty eye sockets that looked at you anyway… I guess the creepy was attracting and inspiring me yesterday! And the most creepy and inspiring of all? A little blackened figure with feathers on its head that practically jumped out from behind the glass at me and demanded that I draw him. Which I did. I call him “Creepy Guy.”
Here’s the picture of the actual figure. It’s titled “Oracle Figure (Kafigeledjo).” It’s from the Cote d’Ivoire. Part of the description reads,
“A hybrid creation that lies outside the realm of anything in nature. This oracle figure provokes anxiety through its shrouded anonymity through the sense of suffocation and entrapment it suggests.”
I drew Creepy Guy with more childlike proportions (bigger head, pudgier body). I’m toying with the idea of using a plastic baby doll (plenty creepy already) and then swathing it in layers of black fabrics. Hmmm… maybe.