All posts tagged: Art History

Corona Chronicles 3: La Gioconda

Written by my friend, Clara Zabludowsky, who found inspiration on a park in London. March 4th, 1504. Day 7 of the lockdown. Florence, Italy This was not the plan. It was supposed to be a quick two-day sitting. A sketch to honor the birth of Andrea, a little memento per se to mark the oh so magical moment when I became a mother for the second time. By the way only a man would think that this makes a good push present. “Why don’t you go put your postpartum body in a girdle and sit still in a stuffy old room that stinks of paint for 8 hours.” Great idea Francesco. How about a wet nurse instead? Or just some flowers for God’s sake… No need to get creative. But instead the quarantine caught me here, stuck with this weirdo Leonardo in this room full of strange things and no matter how much I have wanted to leave, I can’t leave. The caribinieri are patrolling the streets and arresting anyone that is as much as going for …

Corona Chronicles 2: Edie Sedgwick

New York City, 1966. 11:32 AM We were all ready to start shooting a new project when the news of the virus hit the front pages of every newspaper and magazine in town. I’ll admit that it was a welcome change from that bony British fake, Twiggy that keeps appearing everywhere. She’s like a fish that has been out of the refrigerator for too long: she stinks. Everyone knows she’s copying me. The hair? The style? The makeup? It all screams Edie. And for heaven’s sake, that androgynous look is not appealing to anyone. Someone please send her a memo.  For the first time we were going to step outside the walls of The Factory to a darling little cottage upstate that belongs to my father but instead, New York went rogue. The streets are empty, the shops are closed, the life is gone and the city has actually gone to sleep. The first week of the shutdown I dove head first into all the obvious rituals that I could have sworn would keep me …

Corona Chronicles 1: Dora Maar

The Corona Chronicles is a column, contributed through a first-person essay, where deceased artists, muses and art world personalities vent about how their lives have been altered and interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Drastic times call for creative measures.  Paris, 1936. 7:30 AM Pablo and I were still in bed, naked and sweaty (yes, from exactly what you’re imagining), sipping a cup of lavender tea and devouring a croissant when we heard the newspaper boy shouting the day’s headlines: “Deadly virus infecting people left and right, read all about it!” Oh mon dieu! I quietly thought to myself. The world can’t end while our love is just beginning to blossom. Although Pablo is still married to Marie-Therese, I have always been sure that he will leave that blonde bob for me. He can’t resist the seduction and masochism that comes out of my pores…  When I first heard that the government was endorsing this social distancing thing I thought this cannot be, I am a photographer, a muse, a painter, a poet – I need …

The “Madame X” Scandal

Are you curious to know the story of Madame X? The story of the dazzling parisienne beauty who was banished from the glamorous Third Republic society into oblivion? Her name was Virginie Amelie Gantreau and she was only 23 years old when John Singer Sargent painted the portrait that would change everything. Paris in the late 1870’s was filled with sophisticated French beauties whose breathtaking looks were heard of everywhere because that is what they lived off. These “it girls” dominated the social scene, lived for fashion and fascinated young artists who were obsessed with capturing their beauty. In the case of Amelie Gantreau, “every artist wanted to make her in marble or paint,” said Edward Simmons, an American student living in Paris at the time. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1859, Amelie moved to Paris with her mother when she was just 8 years old as her father had died several years before from a wound received in battle during the American Civil War. Soon mother and daughter ascended Paris’ social scene and when Amelie was …