Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Raphael ~ La Velata

Yes, I've been here in Portland since October 24 and I'll be here for another two months. Each day except Sunday and Monday is the same for me. Visitors start to visit at 10 am except Sunday when it's at noon.Security seems to always be here. Monday the museum is closed so I'm pretty much by myself except for that ever present Security. I'm really beginning to like this touring away from home. Home for me is the Palatine Gallery at the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy. Back there sometimes people hardly even stop to see me, the place is so large. They've seen so many other paintings; they have an agenda; they're hungry; they're tired. Here in Portland, they've made a special point to come and see me. They stand close, not as close as Raphael did, but close. It's good to look into their eyes and see my reflection. I hear them talk about how I look. They stay for a long time, ten or 15 minutes just looking. That's a good feeling.

I'm dressed in creamy silk, I'm like a portrait in beige and white. I wanted to wear more red but Raphael said no. When you come to see me you'll see how he painted my veil and the background, they're so similar in color but not. And then look at the gold trim on the sleeves. And those sleeves – I loved how the material was so very full. He said that with all of those creams against my skin tones I would attract more attention. People would stay longer to look at the way the shadows change, how the values of the colors shift. Look at how he painted the folds of the sleeves. I'm positive he put those three bows around my neckline so your eyes would be certain to take in all of my neck around the back even. He also insisted that strand of hair on my forehead be not quite in place. I wanted to put it back but he said no. "This is how I remember you. Sitting there across the room from me with that all knowing gaze. Men will look at you and see you as a sensual woman. Women will look at you and see you as a sensual woman. Both will see you as a strong person, someone to reckon with." That's what I remember him saying. Oh and other things but they were just between him and me.

I'm glad he waited to paint me in 1516. His style of painting seemed so much more realistic than what he had done five and ten years before. He used a technique called sfumato that Leonardo had developed. (Here's a definition from About.Com Sfumato: A word, from the Latin (via Italian) fumare ("to smoke"), used to denote a painting technique. Sfumato means that there are no harsh outlines (as in a coloring book) present; areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes, which makes for a rather hazy, albeit more realistic, depiction of light and color.) My skin does look quite marvelous especially compared to that of Maddalena Doni - take a look at her portrait on the left. Raphael painted her back in 1506. I also prefer how he did my necklace and hair ornament. There's a nice contrast with my skin but they're not gaudy or ostentatious. Speaking of flash, look at her left hand – does she have enough rings on? Raphael hid my left hand in my portrait. In La Fornarina, the ring is shown, albeit small and discreet. That pleased me.

You'll really get to know me when you come to the gallery. Be patient and maybe you'll have some time with just me alone (the security officers are very discreet). We'll have that moment where we can exchange glances. And then you'll want to see me again and again. You'll have that chance until January 3 and then I go to Reno, Nevada for a few months and then off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After that you'll have to visit me in Florence, Italy. I hope you do come while I'm here though.

1 comment:

Clare said...

Your skin looks great. And it looks better at the museum than on the web. I was about ready to ask who your aesthetician is.