Friday, June 03, 2005

El Culo de Bettie

(Diego Velázquez; The Rokeby Venus)

Painters often have a
preferred model, almost
a partner. Sometimes
is. Magritte. Picasso. Not
quite Velázquez; though
he used his constant model
to help conceal his sexual
orientation. Drew mainly
boys; liked drawing them, liked
doing other things
to them, or being done by. But the
portraits with which he kept
his royal patronage
always had the same
female body somewhere
in them. Different faces, only ever
shown entire once, the
Rokeby Venus, & that though
regal not Regal like the others
were. Otherwise
much of the Spanish Court,
the Princesses, the
Queen. & appears again
in the painting of another
Court, the Coronation
of Elizabeth of England. Ordered
destroyed by the Pope
because its subject was
"that Protestant Bitch". His
notebooks the remaining
record. Westminster Abbey
in sunlight, the avenue full
of it, the Dukes & Earls on
black horses that absorbed
the sun so their coats shone
glossy with it. But the focus
a small white donkey with plaited
mane & silver trappings, bouncing
the sun back into the viewer's
eyes. & on its back, riding side-
saddle, contrasted, cool unlike
her courtiers, the Queen at the
head of the procession, the head
of the Queen, the body of his
model. A note to Velázquez
from her still survives. In part
it reads: "Diego. Sorry
to hear about the painting.
Such a pity. Naked or clothed,
Venus or Elizabeth, you always
made my ass look great."
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didi said...

Thank you for participating.


didi said...

You won.

I don't think you are in USA so I may have to give you a gift certificate.

Email me and let me know where you are so I can figure out a solution.

Thank you,

Tom Beckett said...

Congrats, amigo.