Monday, September 1, 2008

Timeless Beauty

For the August Art Poll By Bob, in honor of Annie, Alex, and my annual trek to the New Jersey Shore for sun, surf, and fun, I offered the following question: “Which of the following works brings the beach home to you?” You responded with the closest poll yet. Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl With Ball (1961) won by a nose with 9 votes just ahead of a four-way tie at 8 votes a piece for Gustave Courbet’s The Wave (1869), Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1829-1832), Winslow Homer’s Sunlight on the Coast (1890), and Claude Monet’s Etretat: The End of the Day (1885). Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Wave (1879) brought up the rear with just 2 votes.

For the September Art Poll by Bob, I thought I’d do a little time travelling. If the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood somehow transported themselves to the twenty-first century (perhaps thanks to H.G. Wells) and forgot to bring their models with them, who would they paint? (Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Lady Lilith, from 1868, appears above.) In other words—“Which of the following modern actresses do you consider the most Pre-Raphaelite worthy?”:

Helena Bonham Carter

Angelina Jolie

Nicole Kidman

Keira Knightley

Julianne Moore

Natalie Portman

Charlotte Rampling

Kate Winslet

I’ve taken some liberties with my list to represent the whole range of the Pre-Raphaelite woman. I stretched things age wise to include the 1960s version of Charlotte Rampling as well as younger actresses such as Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley. A certain type of “British” beauty also appears in the faces of Rampling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Kate Winslet. Angelina Jolie fills in the femme fatale role. I’ve tried to include only actresses that I think are particularly Pre-Raphaelite-esque and not just the most beautiful or interesting faces out there. I’ve also tried to find particularly Pre-Raphaelite-esque photos of each woman to help you visualize what a painting of them by one of the Brotherhood would look like. Looking around for photos of these stars that put them in a Pre-Raphaelite light, I realized just how much that period’s sense of beauty still informs ours today, especially in terms of movies and advertising photography.

As always, please feel free to include other nominees in the comments, with a link to a photo you think helps make your case.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

O boy! That's a tough one. But maybe their muse wouldn't have been someone famous. Just as Elizabeth Siddal wasn't famous but became a muse...perhaps much like Patti Boyd for George Harrison and Erik Clapton. Good poll though. I will think on it and vote.

I am new to your blog and am really enjoying it! Thanks!