valadilenne: (Art: sly Mucha poppy)
I have a love for lush paintings around about the Gilded Age.

Specifically I prefer Alfons Mucha--his paintings of women are so fascinating because they're bold and seem so content with being pretty but secretly quite powerful, like a bunch of barely-clothed Earth goddesses he came across and decided would be great in a champagne ad. Oh, but there's so much more substance to these ladies than their poufy updos and Gibson girl pouts.

We both knew this was coming--this is my favorite of the Mucha pieces, and I'm not ashamed to admit that it's because I like champagne (a lot). There's something really sly about her expression, and I think it's more than what was at the time the emerging sexual value of putting a beautiful woman in a painting that had (relatively, if you don't count the [inexplicably red] grapes) nothing to do with champagne. Maybe she knows she's out to sell you a bottle of Moet White Star and is smirking because she's just that fantastic.

Perhaps what does it for me are the edges of each "piece" of the piece itself--and that's something that Mucha carries over into many pieces, whether it's a heavy outline of the woman, or breaking the scene up into symmetrical "presentation" segments. It suggests stained glass in a way, those heavy lead lines and clear spaces between the title and the space the woman occupies. She cuts in and out near the bottom, and I could call that a statement on her objectified status or how she's being used, but I don't care.

I love her, I think she's so beautiful.

Second place goes to his series of four-panel "Season" paintings. I'm with Autumn--she looks ready to party.


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May 2009

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