Friday, March 13, 2009

ObamaNation:Passion of the Moment

collage by marguerita -d'apres Titian
Hot is the word for this .It was "interesting," said Gertrude Stein of the Civil War, although she was far more intrigued by General Grant than Abraham Lincoln, whom she virtually ignored. She's the only one, so it seems, especially now with the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, duly touted by committees, books and celebration, having arrived just a few weeks after President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, during which he took the oath of office using Lincoln's burgundy velvet Bible. But then Lincoln has been for a very long time enshrined as a legend, albeit a complex one, whose fate was sealed by the martyrdom that gave him to the ages, or angels, depending on how one recalls Secretary of War Edwin Stanton's tender benediction.
Devotional ardor radiates from monumental church paintings. In a gallery of female nudes with skin so incandescent as to barely need lighting, eroticism floats like a scent. For the first time in European art we see paint itself used as an impassioned material, the instrument of fervid hands and inflamed personalities.

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