Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Gallileo, Jul 20, 2013.
This is a common theme in his paintings. And also some subtle violent symbolism like knives.
I have a soft spot for all things Americana. I learned to appreciate art from Life Magazine and Norman Rockwell.
He was a man. The morality, or lack thereof, of his work comes into play when, or if, the (primarily male) viewer acts on the impulses that Balthus is clearly not concerned about triggering. It's possible he was deliberately calling out male Victorian era powers of exploitation. It's also possible he was engaging in a sort of internal voyeuristic soft porn that included a variety of "nonstandard" sexualities. It is pretty obvious he was unconcerned about the potential commercial and social ramifications of his producing the works! The fact of the latter leads me to consider the possibilities of the former.
To be sure I am not familiar with the details of his life, in which we might "easily" deign his motives, whether conscious or subconscious.
Be careful about the pedestals upon which you choose to place us.
Absolutely. I’m in no way judging him, but others have, like our friend rainingdogs below.
I think he was just a perv that managed to act hip. He passed it off well due to his art being extremely beautiful even if the subject matter or content isn't exactly "nice".
I believe I read an article a year ago about cancel culture catching up with Balthus. I am flipping through a Balthus book now and the uncomfortable theme is quite obvious. Still it is a slippery slope and maybe anything with cocks and tits will need to be covered up.
Like i said a few posts ago - it's called PROVOCATION, it is supposed to solicit emotion of some kind. I know in 2020 people cannot fathom anything like that lol. It's pathetic.
The Mona Lisa offends me because she has no eyebrows, let's cancel Da Vinci!!!!!
Being from Europe, I cannot help but get visions of what the Nazis called “entartete Kunst” when reading about the cancel culture in the US. Be careful please.
Here it is. Lots of articles come up with search. Pretty scary. Reminds me of the times when art museums need to cover up the nudes for visiting Middle Eastern dignitaries.
I won’t link the NYT article due to the pay wall.
The Met Says 'Suggestive' Balthus Painting Will Stay After Petition for Its Removal Is Signed by Thousands | artnet News
Not familiar with Balthus's work (until now). I am reminded a bit of Lewis Carroll's photographs of young girls.
The composition is outstanding IMO, but I understand how some people would be concerned about the subject matter.
Suggestive? Only if that is ones interpretation of some of his art...
A compromise would be to cover the parts with Parental Advisory stickers
Art IS open to interpretation! Would you be more accepting if the erotic subject matter was far more visually explicit? As in Japanese Shunga?
Oh yeah but what i mean is the media ("suggestive was claimed by the article) shouldn't use point-blank interpretations as some people would take that as being definitive of Balthus, and they should judge for themselves, heh.
Another Renoir I love. Jeanne Samary portrait, 1877.
Balthus gave a rare interview to David Bowie, when the latter was on the editorial board of Modern Painters magazine. I used to own the original magazine, published in Autumn 1994, but it is long gone now.
Here is an extract, taken from an oddly formatted blog post, in which Balthus addresses the lesbian/paedophilic subject matter in his 1934 painting Guitar Lesson:
But now be careful, because we come to a passage of the interview really interesting: the two are analyzing one of the most known and disturbing works of Balthus, or "The Guitar lesson", in which a woman seems in the act of performing a sexual act on a little girl lying on her knees, like a guitar to play. The guitar is thrown to the ground. Perhaps the teacher is "punishing" an unruly student? Is the Sapphic and pedophile love represented between teacher and student? It is a scene that is even more alienating precisely because it takes place within a normal bourgeois environment.
"It's a work that I painted because I was in bad shape and I wanted to make a name for myself " confesses the old man candidly : "You know David ... in those days in Paris, the only way to become famous was to scandalize ..."
David Bowie forever: David Bowie and Balthus: the attraction of opposites
The painting itself is almost certainly too shocking to post directly on this forum. Google it, if you are curious or unfamiliar.
That's interesting stuff for sure. What I find fascinating about this whole discussion is that it is centered around the subject of Fine Art. This is not to minimize the implied exploitation that takes place between older and younger but rather to wonder where is the outrage directed at so many other exploitations. (And it's not like you have to go looking hard for them because they are everywhere.). Economic exploitations, gender exploitations, racial exploitations, environmental exploitations, animal exploitations, etc. All of these involve the powerful taking advantage of the less powerful or the outright helpless in real time, RIGHT NOW.
But no, the outrage is directed at FINE ART. I would suggest to those whose sensibilities have been so abused that they put more energy into political action.
Eyvind Earle . Always thought his stuff was amazing. His skill was honed through pain and loneliness. A true master of his style
Very nice indeed.
Back in the direction of Balthus again...several years ago I was in Saratoga Springs taking in the (recently opened) Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. There was a painting hung there in a rather prominent spot which portrayed a young-ish woman (approximate age eludes me) but she was portrayed in a squatting position as a female who was urinating without benefit of a toilet would. Her legs were spread and her vulva was clearly in evidence. But the most surprising (shocking really) was that there was a long stream of piss emanating from her. I have no idea if the artist was male or female but the curatorial staff (many of whom had to be female) clearly had no problem with displaying the painting! And in a gallery on a college campus!
I'll see if I can come up with a link. Not knowing the artist or the title will not help in the search!
Boy, has this thread lost its appeal (for me , at least). But don't let me stop you if this is the direction you want to go.
Well I couldn't come up with a link or other information but I did discover that artworks with people urinating as a theme are not as rare as one might think.
Separate names with a comma.