No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

On Ugliness, by Umberto eco

On Ugliness is the "Mirror Mirror" version of Eco's History of Beauty. Again, Eco uses history, literature and art as illustrations for his little essay-lets on various aspects of the ugly, and in particular the strange way in which beauty and ugliness interact. Is an accurate and artistic portrayal of an ugly thing ugly or beautiful? Is an ugly artistic representation of the beautiful ugly or beautiful? Other themes that he traces through history: the ugliness of the suffering of martyrs and Jesus, Hell and the Devil, monsters as monsters vs. monsters as morality plays, caricatures, satires, witches, sadism, the ill, the mad, decadence, industrialism, kitsch and camp...

Anyway, here are some of the ugly things I liked, including a nice full-page reproduction of Ivan Albright's Dorian Gray in my icon.

Once again I credit Rizzoli for doing a nice job with a beautiful book with really vibrant, even lurid, illustrations. Often the versions I find on the web are not nearly as arresting.

Excellently weird monsters in Matthias Grünewald's Temptations of St. Anthony

Rubens' Head of Medusa

Monster from the church at Chauvigny.

I love that people have been making this face for centuries.

Grotesque Old Woman, probably by Massys.

I like Cranach's Fountain of Youth -- all the old people being pulled in carts or wheelbarrows, and then after a dip in the fountain, it's time for a nice picnic.

Satan Automaton: "It could roll its eyes and move its tongue, emit a noise and spit smoke from the mouth."

Have no Fear - He's a Vegetarian

Martini's Portrait of the Marchesa Luisa Casati.

Susini's modular anatomical statue of 'La Venerina'.

Zumbo's The Plague

Arnold Böcklin's Plague

Walter Crane illo for Beauty and the Beast

Otto Dix Cartoon for Metropolis

And in the realm of kitsch, there's girl on a bear rug, but at least it's from 1896.
Tags: art, book, history

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