100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Flaming June

I first became aware of this painting via this 2013 Vogue cover (skip to the last slide of the slideshow.) Between this and discovering Whistler's Mother via America's Next Top Model, I'm realizing how much fashion in pop culture was an introduction to fine art for me. Such is the life of an uncultured American suburbanite.

I was proud of this one when I finished. I could tell that I had grown my skills and understood color much better. I had the patience to shade the complex drapery, and a better understanding of human heads. I had fun zooming in much too far and patiently shading each fold of cloth as I worked on this between (and sometimes during) meetings.

One strange thing I noticed while copying (both times, actually)--this woman's thigh is 100 miles long and totally unrealistic in terms of human anatomy. But it works for this image. It lets her become a radiant orange disc, curled up like a cat. (Writing that sentence just gave me an idea to parody this image but with Garfield...)

I feel a bit conflicted about loving this painting. In terms of meaning, it's just a boring picture of an objectified sexy lady. But it's also sumptuous and striking, a feast for the eyes. Leighton believed in Aestheticism, and "Art for Art's Sake," so that fits. I really enjoy looking at this painting despite its shallowness. The same way I enjoy good smells and crème brulée. Not everything has to be profound, I guess, as long as its beautiful and otherwise not distractingly problematic.

My last 10 entries were redos of paintings I'd attempted at the beginning so that I could compare progress and give the original artworks their proper due. You can see my first swing at Flaming June at entry 5.

Reference image is from Wikipedia. It is now in the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

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