Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Virgin

This virgin is from a photograph I took of a painted wooden statue in a niche across from the Brancacci chapel in the Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. I love it because she is wearing a crown and holding a purse - no halo, no baby. The crown is metal and obviously an add-on, the purse is even odder - made of cloth and ribbons.

I started thinking back on Madonna portraits - the goldfinch, the rose, the holy spirit in the form of a white dove. What would be really interesting instead of the purse would be a dimly visible white bird in a cage. In Renaissance paintings she is always bowing before the angel and the dove. What if she caught the bird instead? Or used a caged bird, like a magician's trick, to awe the crowd?

I finally figured out how to mix a particularly intense sleeve shadow, did a world of scumbling (what did I do for fun before I discovered scumbling?) and it all sharpened and deepened.
I'm going to try a sketch of the cage, keep it all very shadowy & see if it will work. It might not. And I'm going to let the current layer paint dry for at least a week before I do anything to the canvas, so I can lift it off with turp if I have to.

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