Drop The Leaf [on Two Artists Tuesday]

I’ve spent hours of my life in figure drawing classes. There’s nothing more beautiful or complex than the human body. There’s nothing more sacred. When I was very young, I drew people – both naked and clothed, both male and female – from photos in The National Geographic magazines. I drew figures and bits of bodies from plaster casts – both plaster-naked and plaster-clothed. I drew figures from those weird artist wooden mannequins, never clothed, sex-neutral, gender unknown.

A friend just sent a story from The Washington Post. A principal in Florida was forced to resign after sixth grade art students were shown a picture of Michelangelo’s David. Had my eye-roll been any more pronounced my eyeballs would have popped out of my head and rolled across the floor. This principal’s forced resignation: a fig leaf by another name.

It’s true, The David was strapped with a fig leaf by outraged clergy shortly after it was displayed in public in 1504. Humanity has grown-up a bit since then, or so we might have hoped. It’s true: history repeats itself though you’d think with all the bodies sunning on Florida beaches, with the ubiquitous sex in movies, on television, and used to sell everything from automobiles to vacation destinations, that the un-leafed David might be understood as high art rather than an affront to any pretend moral authority.

Don’t look up if you visit the Sistine Chapel; Adam has yet to eat from the tree of knowledge and is naked, naked, naked. Touched by god. It is, after all, a painting of the day he was “born.”

The Greeks-of-yore, those whacky inventors of democracy and critical thinking, understood the body to be virtuous. Michelangelo was drawing from that deep pool of tradition and wisdom rather than the shallow frog pond of pretend-pious-purity. David, a biblical figure, stands naked before the giant Goliath. Virtue with a slingshot. Sacred and beautiful.

It takes a modern-day-Florida to turn virtue to vice while elevating vice as virtue. The cure for their fake-moral-fig-leaf is simple: attend a few figuring drawing classes. Drop the leaf. Or, go to the beach and open their eyes.

read Kerri’s blogpost on LEAF IMPRESSIONS

One Response

  1. […] read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY […]

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