i preferiti.

“it is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance . . . and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.”

–henry james.

aaah, isn’t it the truth.  in my opinion, art is synonymous with beauty.  so what do i find beautiful?  i’ve compiled my top 5 favorite paintings.  although i have other current obsessions, these 5 have staying power in my heart (and four of them are plastered to my walls).

Gustav KlimtGustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman 1905

first of all, i am obsessed with klimt.  i love how he melds the fine and decorative arts to make beautiful, intricate, ornate masterpieces.  but out of all of his works, this is by far my fave.  i love how he portrays the stages of life with such delicacy  and how the image exudes both happiness and sorrow.  i dont know how i missed seeing this while i was in roma.

Edvard MunchEdvard Munch’s Madonna 1894/5

I love how lost in ecstasy she is yet, at the same time she is dubbed the sacred mother making this image uber-sacreligious (it doesnt help that in the print version, munch borders the image with swimming sperm).  the contrasting blues and red form this dynamism that draws me in and the fact that her limbs dissipate into the background creates an overall fluidity to the composition that just screams sensuality.

John Everett MillaisJohn Everett Millais’ Ophelia 1851

the first time i was shown painting, my heart melted.  it’s heartbreaking–she just took her own life in the name of love–yet so beautiful at the same time.  the river’s stillness is chilling, contrasted with the flourishing vegetation–the circle of life is undeniable in this image.  fun fact: millais’ model elizabeth siddal nearly froze while posing for this.

TitianTitian’s Venus of Urbino 1538

lover? prostitute? goddess of love?  one will never know.  and that, darling, is her magic. i mean, what else is there to say about her? (i have a 14 page essay if you do, for some reason, want to know more).

Fra AngelicoFra Angelico’s Annunciation 1438/45

as is true with most paintings, reproductions do not do this any justice.  i’ve always liked this image, it’s pretty enough, and then i saw it in person.  i cried.  this is magnificent—gabriel’s wings are enhanced with gold and they glow ever so slightly in the dim lighting of san marco.  its inexplicable really, you must go see it yourself.


so thats my 5.  clearly i have a thing for beautiful nymph-ish women in art–but hey, everyone needs a good muse.  and as adolf loos said, “all art is erotic.”


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