I’m getting ready for an activity in tomorrow’s class: we’re going to explore the historiography of arguments surrounding Durer’s enigmatic Melencolia I engraving (shown above). Perhaps one day I’ll outline some of the arguments on Alberti’s Window. For now, though, I wanted to post a very amusing, tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the winged child (in the center of the composition) and the large seated figure:
“The staring winged figure, compass listlessly in hand, has come upon a problem that exceeds her angelic strength, perhaps in string theory, and she is peevish; behind her a small graduate student, unaware of the deep difficulties that has stumped his Doktormutter, scribbles away blissfully at his dissertation.”1
1 John L. Heilbron, “A Short History of Light in the Western World,” from Visions of Discovery: New Light on Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness, edited by Raymond Y. Chiao et al., (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 8-9. Citation available online here.
While commuting to work this morning, I listened to Led Zeppelin’s “Mothership” album in anticipation for my lecture on Baroque art. But there’s no similarity between those two things, you say? I beg to differ:
I don’t have any profound thoughts tonight folks – just something I found a little humorous. The other day I had a good chuckle when I realized that the Human Figure from Ain Ghazal (6500 BCE, shown above) looks a lot like Voldemort. Do you think Ralph Fiennes’ makeup designer was inspired by art from the ancient Near East?
So now I propose a game, readers. Do you know of any the artists mentioned in this clip which actually depict a bicycle in their art? (And I don’t think that I heard Duchamp listed in the clip, so you can’t choose his Bicycle Wheel (original of 1913). That’s too easy, anyway.) I’m not too savvy on bicycle art, but I do have one contribution:
This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.