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Thursday 29 August 2013

So who did Raphael Paint
if not Isabel de Requesens,
wife of the viceroy of Naples?

(see here )

One thing that you should know about this portrait,
deemed by many, the world's most perfect yet:
the sitter and the artist never met.

Commission 199: Portrait: Lady
Viceroy of Malta: a.k.a. The Ice Queen...
But Raphael was busy, so dispatched
a Jack-the-Lad assistant from the ranks
to sketch the high born lady from the sticks
while he made hay with nobles grown near home.

It's here I interject my small conceit:
Jack tarried in the local inns a while,
boasting wildly of the fortune that would follow
when once he'd lifted this old dame to fame.
Then on the very eve of the first sit
a ne'er-do-well who'd overheard him, spiked
his ale with something clearly meant to put
Jack in his his power. Jack hardly noticed
how brush and silverpoint found harmonies
of flesh and hue which only The Divine
had seen before. He painted like a man
possessed, a man possessed of every skill
and passion which the artist craves, the like
of which were never in his bag before.
And none could say the model's likeness had
in any truthful way been captured in
Jack's image. But neither could be found just
one detractor who would say the two were
not the same. From fevered art a beauty
radiated that was never in the flesh

And then there was the business of the eyes.
As Jack unrolled his work to Raphael and
the studio, it would become quite clear
that Jack had changed, not once but many times,
his subject's eyes from straight ahead to left
or right then back again -- details all of
iconography to show her status.
How come her status was not known to Jack?
How come her beauty paled Jack's art?
Who was this dame he picked up at the inn?

Notes: The third line of this poem is the only trustworthy one. The business of the eyes is factual, but relates to Raphael's (?) final painting and not Jack's sketches.

From The Sleepy Zombie.


Mary said...

So glad to see you, Dave. I see you have not lost your touch. Welcome back.

Brian Miller said...

hiya zombie....smiles...i am sleepy today as well but for surely different reasons...its an interesting conjecture on the creation of the painting...also the sketch by another still allowing an artist to see the life in someone, cant imagine that would be easy you know....

jabblog said...

Sleep is good:-)

How many minions didn't receive their just recognition, I wonder.

Cloudia said...

Your imagination runs riot in such productive fashion. Always good to see you :-)


The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice to have you back Dave - have missed you. Interesting back story to the painting.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Welcome back, with a work sinking deep into a puzzle of life and art...

David Cranmer said...

Dave, Can you drop me an e-mail? Mine is paladin-1@hotmail.com

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Welcome back Dave - and what a fine tale you spin!
Anna :o]

Elephant's Child said...

I am joining in the Welcome back chorus.
And am in awe. At your work, and at the concept of painting such a stunning portrait without seeing the subject.

Carl said...

Welcome back Dave. What interesting story to start us out with.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great to be able to take a painting potion?

A lot of fun here -- hope you are feeling better. k.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great to see you back, Dave. Have a lovely weekend.

Ygraine said...

So wonderful to have you back:)

Oh how I love your amazing imagination, especially when it unravels the background of such a fabulous work of art.
This one had me enthralled!

A Cuban In London said...

Great to read you again, now that I've come back from my sojourn in Shropshire. Interesting poem with a lot of history of which I was unaware behind it. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

ds said...

Very glad to see you. Wonderful stuff. "From fevered art a beauty/radiated that was never in the flesh"
Art's power to transform, the bit about the eyes & status (never knew that, thank you).
Many thanks for this.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much everyone, both for the interesting observations and the kind thoughts and wishes. All equally appreciated.

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