Tag Archives: baroque

Ready For My Close Up

In the final scene Norma Desmond (Gloria Swans...
In the final scene Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) says, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up,” before appearing to reach into the camera and dissolving into the light. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prompts for the Promptless

“A total Monet” is an expression used to describe someone or something that looks good from far away, but up close is a total mess.

  • This expression comes from the movie, Clueless.
  • It refers to the impressionistic styling of Claude Monet

Ha!  This reminds me of the funny phrase “When you are baroque, you are out of Monet”.  And maybe that means you’re also a total mess, but wow, two sentences in and I’m already kind of off topic. But I do have a couple of things to talk about that look good from far away and not so great up close.  One is eyeballs and the other is my face.

irisEvery day I look at eyeballs with a slit lamp, which consists of high magnification and an intensely bright light. It’s not designed to make you go blind, only to make you wish that you were, at least temporarily,  because that light can be painful.   I have seem some gross and disgusting deposits on contact lenses, some unhealthy corneas, and some incredibly scary globs of makeup.

Guys tend to have fewer contact lens complications simply because they don’t slather on the eyeliner and rarely get sparkly bits of eyeshadow floating around in their tears.  But they are not immune.  I have also seen some incredibly interesting iris patterns, although that’s not what I’m supposed to be looking at.  But really, you can’t spend your entire day looking  at scleral injection and blood vessels without your mind starting to wander.

So looking deep into people’s eyes is part of my job, but looking at my face in a 10X magnifying mirror is something I do at home for my own entertainment.  And by entertainment, I mean the same kind you expect to get from watching a horror movie.  So, not everyone’s idea of fun.

I used to think my skin looked pretty good for a person my age.  You know, from across a candle lit room, for instance.  But magnified ten times in a well-lit bathroom, it’s down right frightening.

Kaqchikel Mayan woman; Panajachel, Guatemala
Kaqchikel Mayan woman; Panajachel, Guatemala (Photo credit: xopherlance)

There are pores around my nose the size of craters.  On my chin are random single hairs of various colors, the most disturbing being white, since those are the hardest to see and thus the most likely to grow long before being detected and plucked.  There are fine lines on my upper lip.  Too many to count, actually, but 50 seems a reasonable estimate.  There are strange bumps here and there, small patches of flaky dry skin, and a few splotches of discoloration.  I know they’re age spots, but I don’t want to call them by that name.  Let’s just say they’re over sized freckles.  Then there are the wrinkle patches around my eyes that look like road maps gone mad.

I also have single eyebrow hairs that want to grow up, down, or sideways in the wrong direction.  And mustache hairs!

Seriously, I can’t go on, this is making me too depressed.  Since Doctors are always telling us to keep an eye on our skin for any changes, I thought the magnifying mirror would be a great thing to have as my skin ages and my eyesight deteriorates.  Now I see there’s method to the madness of our vision becoming less sharp as we get older so that we won’t notice how deeply etched the laugh lines have become. They’re not all that funny as it turns out.

Aging gracefully can be a challenge, so I just try to remember that every person is a unique work of art.  Some of us have matured to the Monet stage where our beauty is simply more apparent when viewed from afar.

Claude Monet - Pêches
Claude Monet – Pêches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

P is for Putto

It’s a mystery to me how I have lived so long without knowing this word.  I also don’t know why I have neglected my Alphabet Soup category since the 23rd of October.  Mine is a life filled with wonder and confusion and maybe I’ll get into all that later, but for now, here’s a picture of a putto, (plural putti) (also known as an amoretto or an amorino when it depicts cupid);  a representation in baroque painting or sculpture of a small chubby naked boy with wings.

Sleeping Putto, by Léon Bazille Perrault, 1882
Sleeping Putto, by Léon Bazille Perrault, 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That would be Cupid, right?  Looks like cupid to me.  Or a cherub.  Apparently it’s common to get these things mixed up, and that’s why there’s Wikipedia to help straighten everything out for us:

Art historian Juan Carlos Martinez writes:

Originally, Cherubs and Putti had distinctly different roles, with the former being sacred, and the latter, profane. That is, Cherubs and Seraphs (Cherubim, Seraphim) are Angels, occupying the highest angelic orders in Heaven and are thus the closest to God. On the other hand, Putti, arise from Greco-Roman classical mythos (i.e., non-Christian). They are associated with Eros/Cupid as well as with the Muse, Erato; the muse of lyric and love poetry…
….By the time the Baroque Era came about, which might arguably have been the high point for Cherubim and Putti, both of these little beings were usually being depicted in the same way. Which one they were, simply depended upon the theme of the painting or sculpture: If religious (sacred) – they were Cherubs. If secular or mythic (profane) – they were Putti.

Wenceslas Hollar - Jesus, John, and four cheru...

I suppose it depends on the artist whether these putto/cherub illustrations turn out to be beautiful or butt ugly.  I think if I tried to paint one it might end up in that second category.
Anyway, enough putti pondering for this Grey Cup Sunday.  I guess since I’m in the West I should be cheering for the West.  Even though that means rooting for Calgary, which is probably against some obscure Edmonton bylaw from the baroque period of our shared city histories.  If they all dressed like cherubs I’d watch the whole thing.  But my becoming a football fan is probably not sufficient motivation for the players, especially in November.  That could get butt ugly fast.