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Category: Elective Affinities

Elective Affinities, hors-série: Arthur Valle



[Some time ago, Arthur Valle used exactly this juxtaposition in his Facebook page, with a subtitle that resembled something like the following: “Warburg for the poor”. I decided to appropriate his brilliant association for the Elective Affinities series – with his permission, of course. It was not just the visual affinity that stood out, but the humorous reference to Warburg really got me]


Elective Affinities XXXIII


Paul Klee, Pastorale (Rhythms), 1927, tempera on canvas mounted on wood, 69.3 x 52.4 cm, MoMA, New York


Wall hanging (detail), India (Gujarat?), produced for the Portuguese market, early seventeenth century, silk and cotton, 311 x 278 cm, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon (photo © Foteini Vlachou)

Elective Affinities XXXII: And then s/he left (pt. 2)


Suggested by Francois Quiviger, on Facebook.


Amorgos, Greece ©Noti Klagka



Henri Cartier-Bresson, Island of Siphnos, Greece, 1961, gelatin silver print, 24 x 36.2 cm © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos


(see also “And then he left“)



Elective Affinities, hors-série: Alexandra Curvelo


The watercolors of Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1853–1919) have been associated with the work of Ingmar Bergman before, particularly Fanny and Alexander‘s interiors with Larsson’s illustrated book A Home of 1894 (you can read Egil Törnqvist’s article on the relationship of Bergman with visual art here). Alexandra Curvelo (dear colleague of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and dearer friend) has established this remarkable visual parallel, between one of Larsson’s watercolors and a scene from Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, where a smiling Bibi Anderson positioned behind a branch and outside a wooden cottage, closely echoes Larsson’s composition. What is even more striking though is the feeling of nostalgia and irretrievable happiness of childhood and youth that both images exude and that becomes more pronounced by their juxtaposition.



Carl Larsson, 1914, watercolor, Private collection (?)



Ingmar Bergman, Wild Strawberries (1957)




Elective Affinities XXXI: Knife in the head


Screenshot 2016-08-29 23.24.24

Kazimir Malevich, Girl with a Comb in her Hair, 1932, oil on canvas, 35.5 х 31, The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (partial view)



Lorenzo Lotto, Friar Angelo Ferretti as Saint Peter Martyr, 1549, oil on canvas, 89.9 x 69.4 cm, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts


[I had never seen Malevich’s painting before Gerasimos Mamonas posted it, a couple of days ago, in Aimez-vous Brahms, a Facebook page dedicated to classical music and painting. Needless to say, the association was instantaneous: Lorenzo Lotto’s versions are among the most well-known representations of the saint, as well as Cima da Conegliano’s. We are so used to seeing saints depicted with their attributes of martyrdom in otherwise realistic scenes, especially in the type of painting known as a ‘sacra conversazione’, that we rarely think about how weird and ‘unnatural’ the whole thing is. Comparing it to the kind of modern art that places little value on realistic representation, makes it even more obvious – but the parallel also serves as a kind of visual joke.]



Elective Affinities XXX: To the light


blue grotto

Carl Friedrich Seiffert, The Blue Grotto on Capri, 1860, oil on canvas, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin (photo © Jean Louis Mazieres)



Hieronymous Bosch, detail from the so-called Cardinal Grimani’s altarpiece (Ascent of the Blessed), 1505-15, oil on wood (polyptych), 86.5 × 39.5 cm (each panel), Palazzo Ducale, Venice


[Thanks to Gerasimos Mamonas for bringing Carl Friedrich Seiffert’s painting to my attention: the association was almost automatic. Seiffert’s painting also recalled to memory a trip, a little less than two decades ago, to Diros, the stunning caves in the Peloponnese, rich with white stalactites and stalagmites, which one visits by a rowboat on dark, impenetrable waters]


Elective Affinities, hors-série: Noti Klagka


Desperation, some three hundred years apart, and for apparently very different reasons (comparison established by Noti Klagka).

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Dosso Dossi, Anger or the Tussle, 1515-16, lozenge panel, 107 x 95 cm, Collezione Vittorio Cini, Venice (detail, from http://www.wga.hu/)


Screenshot 2016-05-24 15.37.42

Gustave Courbet, The Desperate man, 1843-1845, oil on canvas, 45 x 54 cm, Private collection (from http://goo.gl/pDI5km)



Elective Affinities, hors-série: Ourania Panoutsou


Monument to the Conquerors of Space (Moscow, 1964) – Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Lisbon, 1960). Two ventures (the exploration of space and the exploration of the then-unknown world) set wide apart in time (the twentieth century in the Soviet Union, the fifteenth century in Portugal), two very different regimes (the Soviet Union under Khrushchev during communism and the Cold War, Portugal under Salazar during the dictatorship of the Estado Novo), two very different choices in representation: the people versus the protagonists.



[The comparison was suggested by Ourania Panoutsou during her trip to Lisbon. It was she who brought to my attention the Russian monument and pointed to its similarities with the Padrão – the upward thrusting curve of the main structure in both monuments can also be considered comparable, in its abstraction]


Elective Affinities XXIX


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Fu Baoshi (1904-1965), Playing the Qin and Watching Geese in Flight, 1948, hanging scroll; ink and color on bark paper, 36.2 x 60.3 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


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Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, 1808-1810, oil on canvas, 110 x 172 cm, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin


Elective Affinities XXVIII: 1899 in St. Petersburg and Paris


somov bathers

Konstantin Andreyevich Somov, The Bathers, 1899, oil on paper mounted on canvas, 75 х 104.2 cm, The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow



Félix Vallotton, The Ball, 1899, oil on card glued on wood, 48 x 61 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris



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