“He rode his way with the Queen unto Joyous Gard.”
|The Boy’s King Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory’s History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, Edited for Boys by Sidney Lanier (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1922.)|
Georgia O’Keeffe is so intrinsically and eternally elegant that mere fashion doesn’t matter; it’s a blip on an inconsequential radar. Unlike aesthetic conformity, personal style effortlessly squashes large spans of time into nothingness.
Don’t believe me?
This image of the legendary artist is 97 years old.
There’s so much to love about this look, this vibe, this scene.
Where to start?
- Her focused and intelligent gaze?
- The uplift of her eyebrow?
- The sublime beauty that attends every artist as they are working on their craft, which is powerfully evident here?
- That luxuriously thick and practical sweater, with its large buttons, worn over a thin throw-it-on-and-forget-about-it dress?
- Those boots? Those boots.
Fierce. Every last bit. Fierce.
The Model and the Mannequin (1873) by Giovanni Boldini* has nothing to do with dead writers, reading, writing, books, film, or any of the other usual suspects found on A Small Press Life. I just dig the painting. It’s one of those images that I’d love to jump right into; life would be interesting on that side of the canvas. Look at the colours! Look at the patterns! Look at the textures! The mannequin would have to go (burn it! burn it with fire!), but the model can stay. She’d be a fun, if unpredictable, roomie.
*Although Giovanni Boldini is one of my favourite 19th century genre and portrait painters, every time I see his name I always think of the Erik Rhodes character from the Astaire-Rogers film Top Hat (1935): Alberto Beddini.
Alberto Beddini: “I promised my dresses that I would take them to Venice and that you would be in them!”
That’s actually a decent companion quote for this piece, isn’t it?
“Usually I circle around an idea, coming at it from many angles. In the process it seems to me as valid to move from abstraction towards realism and back again as it is for a poet to move from Lyric to Villanelle and back. The process of work being the discovery of the idea. Sometimes an idea which has been inchoate is defined. Sometimes and idea is inchoate–a song or a poem can help to define it. Or hold it in focus.”-Judith Rothschild, 1976 (Judith Rothschild: An Artist’s Search by Jack Flam)
Julia Frances Strachey by Dora Carrington, 1925: