Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What a Way to Go: Allie's favorite painting EVER

At left you will see my favorite painting ever, entitled The Roses of Heliogabalus by painted by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (lifted from wiki). Hands down, this is my work of all time (and I do not think that I will ever have another favorite unless someone makes the same painting, but with Hugh Jackman's face in place of the emperor's.... and then gives the painting to me).

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema is one of those painters who is detestably good from a technical perspective and clearly knew it, for why else would he have taken on this painting (which I consider to be an ultimate 'I rock, you suck' statement)? Let me state that this thing is freaking huge and every flower, hair, and chunk of marble is perfectly articulated. The scene is taken from the life of Roman emperor Heliogabalus, better known as Elagabalus. He was crazy (weren't they all?) and one evening he invited all his enemies to a shindig at his place, where the banquet hall had a cloth ceiling which was dropped to crush his guests under tons and tons of flowers. Unlike Tadema's rendition, the flowers are supposed to be violets (I am ashamed to admit that I am familiar with Augustan History). Personally, I think the blushing buds look better compositionally than a ginormous clump of purple, so I have accepted this edit. I still hate him, though.... stupid people with genius.

Phaidon has a great book out on him; check it out at your local library or book haus.

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