The sitter of this arresting work, Portrait of a Young Man (1530s) remains unknown, but he was part of Bronzino’s close circle of literary friends in Florence, and probable holds a book of poetry. The artist was himself a poet, delighting as much in the beauty of language as he did in the witty and fanciful details of his paintings. Here, viewers would have appreciated the carved grotesque heads on the table and chair, and the almost hidden, mask-like face suggested in the folds of the youth’s breeches as comments unmasks and disguises. Bronzino has delineated a sophisticated visual identity for the sitter.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
If you travel all the way to the back end of Freeman Alley (right by the city’s most secret restaurant) you may still be able to find this Astronaut floating amid a constellation of stickers, stencils and paste ups, accompanied by the phrase “Fly me to the moon!” spray painted in vibrant pink. How delightful. The artist, Poet (#poetwastaken on Instagram) offers that, “the astronaut is both an ode to Ol’ Blue Eyes‘ lyric of love, yet a modern nod to the Coachella Moon Man.” “After all,” he concludes, ” love is out of this world!” Amen to that!
Poet is the name of a street artist whose work I discovered through his Pink Mail Box series, which is called Love Letters. I started following him on Instagram under the hashtag #poetwastaken and, over the weekend, I went out looking for a few of the works he’s been posting on his feed. This piece, which includes an image of Kurt Cobain alongside a spray painted quote, is located in Freeman’s Alley on the LES.
Once I found the piece in person (and if you’ve seen Freeman’s Alley, you know that’s no easy feat) I was disappointed to discover that the quote had already been pasted over by another artist’s work, even though Poet’s piece had only been up since January 28th. This kind of thing happens so often that Poet said he has learned not to let it bother him. Everything is a work in progress.
Poet, who is based in Los Angeles, told me a bit more about the Cobain piece in a chat via Instagram. “The Kurt Cobain piece was actually initially derived from his quote “Thank you for the trajedy (sic), I need it for my art.” I had spray painted that next to that paste up, but the very next day it was covered by another paste up. This lead me to a add a short and sweet message of “I’m so happy” over Kurt’s image. I’ve been painting that quote for about a year now, and with paste ups only for a few months.”
Watch for more street art by Poet to be featured here in the coming weeks!
Happy Valentines Day, Bitches! Remember a while back when I stumbled upon this Pink Graffiti Mail Box on Chrystie Street? I didn’t know it at the time, but the box was part of the Love Letters Project by an LA-based street artist who calls himself Poet. Through the magic of Instagram, Poet (#poetwastaken) made himself known to me and I’ve been stalking his art ever since.
In January, Poet was back in NYC creating more Pink Mail Boxes like this one on Elizabeth Street near the corner of Broome Street. As you can see, many people stop to photograph it for their own Instagram feeds. Very meta.
I thought it would be a perfect Pink Thing for Valentine’s Day! Watch for more cool art by Poet to hit the blog in the coming weeks!
The Belgian artist Jean Delville (1867 – 1953) was among the participating artists that feverishly shared Josephin Peladan’s beliefs in the spiritual power of art. Delville exhibited in the first four Salons de la Rose+Croix, earning particular admiration in 1894 for The Death Of Orpheus (1893). During the 19th century, Orpheus, the supernaturally talented poet of classical Western mythology, was a popular paradigm for the artist as enchanter, seer, and martyr whose creations transcend death. In one myth, after Orpheus is dismembered by wild female followers of Dionysus — the god of wine, fertility and madness — his head floats downriver, still singing, and becomes an oracle. Orpheus’s androgynous features, reportedly modeled after the artist’s wife, manifest the Symbolist belief in androgynes as ideal beings that represent the synthesis of opposites into a beautiful and perfect whole.
Photographed as part of the exhibit Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897, at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.
E.E.Cummings (1894 – 1962) is best known as a poet, but he also worked as a painter, referring to the visual and literary arts as his “twin obsessions.” In a series of abstractions made between 1919 and 1925 — titled either Sound or Noise followed by a number — Cummings explored sensory crossover between aural and visual forms. In Noise Number 13, spiraling and conical shapes seem to expand and contract; each overlapping color (or noise) vie to stand out from the others.
Cummings’ painterly vision is also reflected in his poems, particularly those composed with complicated line breaks and non-traditional spacing on the page. Those poems must be looked at to be heard — and the converse might be said of experiencing Noise Number 13, whose throbbing configurations we can imagine hearing.
Photographed in the Whitney Museum of America Art in NYC.