Chapter 11 Guide

Chapter 11 – Camera Obscura


Below is the British National Gallery and one of the huge lions guarding Trafalgar square. (I took this in 2007)



“Because her face is out of focus, but her bottom is sharp. I mean, soft, but sharp. That’s not the way he paints the cherub, whose face is in vivid focus but in the same plane as the mirror—because he was painted from imagination, or from a different sitting.”


Venus at her Mirror – Diego Velazquez –

Lucien discusses the Camera Obscura that it’s theorized was used to make this painting. It’s postulated that the Dutch painter Vermeer also used this device. It’s explained in the book, but click to go to Wikipedia if you’re interested.

“It’s a Michelangelo,” Lucien said. The picture, while almost ten feet tall, looked to be part of a larger piece, perhaps an altarpiece, with the Madonna in the center and the Christ child…. The shadow of her robe had been shaded in black, but otherwise it had never been painted.

Madonna and Child- (The “Manchester” Madonna)- Michelangelo Buonnaroti – 1497
“He didn’t finish this one either,” said Lucien. “In fact, there’s no blue in the painting at all.”
Burial by Michelangelo
The Entombment- Michelangelo Buonnaroti – 1501 (Once again, no blue.)
(I got the years wrong for these two paintings. I thought they were both done in 1497.)

“This is where real painting starts, I think,” said Lucien. “This is where object gives way to emotion.”

Juliette smiled. “They say that he went mad and tied himself to the mast of a steamship that was headed out into a snowstorm, just so he could see the real motion of a storm from inside it —(Snowstorm or storm-seam-boat-off-a-harbour-s-mouth-making-signals-in-shallow-water-and-going-by-the-lead – J.M.W. Turner)
This anecdote about Turner having himself tied to the mast of ship heading out into a storm has persevered. Who knows if it happened, but Turner was said to have some truely lunatic moments to accompany his genius and so would have been the lure for the Colorman and Julliette.

“Why the huge head?”

Drawing by Elias D’elia, The Colorman and Michelangelo.


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