-- Pablo Picasso's early Blue Period masterpiece “Melancholy
Woman” is back home in Detroit at the DIA after a two-year
hiatus in which it was exhibited in this order: Zurich, Amsterdam
( marijuana smoke damage?), San Francisco, Paris, and New York
City. Picasso's full name is Pablo Diego José Francisco
de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano
de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, pretty cool, huh?
it for its sweet homecoming are four other masterful paintings,
Salvador Dali’s “Soft Construction with Boiled Beans
(Premonition of Civil War),” Francisco Goya's “Portrait
of the Matador Pedro Romero,” El Greco's “The Holy
Family with St. Anne and the infant St. John the Baptist,”
and, lastly, “Portrait of a Man” by Diego Velazquez.
a picture tells a thousand words; so I will now write a thousand
words on each painting to do each justice. Ready? Just kidding!
say that the El Grego is one of the greatest “Madonna &
Child” motif paintings on Earth, and in The Solar System
for that matter. El Greco can, and does, hold a candle to Michelangelo;
El Greco once boasted that, if allowed, he could repaint The Sixteenth,
ah, I mean, The Sistine Chapel better than said Michelangelo di
Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni himself.
José de Goya y Lucientes's “Portrait of the Matador
Pedro Romero” is the most lifelike of the fivesome. Pedro
Romero is widely regarded as one of the, if not the,
greatest matadors of all time. Salvador Salort-Pons, Ph. D., Head
of the European Art Department, and Curator of European Painting
at the DIA spoke of Mr. Romero and Goya with great passion and
learning, as he did of all five works. I see Dr. Salort-Pons as
a sort of matador of the Art World. His lecture during the Media
Preview I attended really made me realize the utter greatness
of the five paintings, but, to me, especially the Goya, the El
Greco, and the Dali.
Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech's “Soft
Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War),”
to me, is the best of show, with El Greco losing out in a photo
finish, as it were. Dali's fabulously surrealist work captures
with brilliance and genius his fears of an impending civil war
(it started six months after his last brushstroke), a war that
both Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls and Orwell's
Homage to Catalonia in literature and Picasso
in art with “Guernica” captured The Spanish Civil
War in all its horror and gore. Gorror?
also known for a great anti-war work of art called “El Coloso,”
or, in English, “Colossus.” Wikipedia, thinks (so
far as a website can “think”) that it was probably
painted by an apprentice named Asensio Juliá, but the jury
is still out, so Goya's it is. Besides, Dr. Salort-Pons didn't
mention the controversy; I just happened upon it whilst cybersurfing....
A photo of it appears after this article. The painting was made
during The Peninsular War when Spain was fighting off Napoleon's
the Velazquez is a very intellectual work, said Dr. Salort-Pons.
I liked it and would even “Like” it on Facebook if
someone posted it, but in the face of the four others, it fizzles
and flops like a hockey player that wasn't tripped. No offense,
Diego, but you've done better, my friend.
see the Fab Five. It's only around until Aug. 19 and it is no
extra charge to see it. Tell them Mike sent you!
kids, too! Educating young people about art might elevate their
minds so that you never have to bail them out of jail, or worse!
It ain't no joke! You gotta have art! Earth cannot afford any
more cretins! No offense to El Greco, who was born on Crete, as
shortly after Anwar Sadat was assassinated, I painted a watercolor
called “Opposition,” an abstract that speaks to the
hope Sadat brought to the world that love might reign over peoples
that at some point diverged into different dogmas. But a bullet
changed all that. The large green space represents a sky of hope
and love and all things good, like people slowing down so a raccoon
can get across the street, and perhaps not even massacring each
other, to boot. The red represents the blood of Sadat and all
the innocents who have been cut down by evil acts of humans who
somehow justify murder in their cretinous minds with their dogma
of the day – their dogma du jour.
after Sadat had a long period of ostensible peace with his successor,
the then-Vice President, Hosni Mubarak, who was wounded in the
hand during the attack that killed Sadat; but Mubarak's clandestine
brutality is well-documented. One of the groups he kept down was
The Muslim Brotherhood, a group some say will be a bane to Egypt
and its neighbors, a group that, like the military, is trying
to co-opt the peoples' revolution, much like how the hardcore
Bolsheviks co-opted the Russian Revolution and how the mullahs
did so in Iran. It is a pretty common formula for taking power,
ride the wave until you can jump off and betray the spirit of
the revolt with your own cretinous agenda. Sad, but true. Already
murders, rapes, and other sexual assaults, like the vicious and
cowardly attack on media goddess Lara Logan, have shaken the world's
faith that the overthrow of Mubarak bodes well for not only Egypt,
but the entire region, and, frankly, the world. We are all interconnected.
Ever hear of Nuclear Winter? It is sort of like winter, but without
Santa Claus. I did not see all these events when I painted “Opposition,”
but I did feel a distinct ominous dread when I heard Sadat was
the men charged with the craven crime was Ayman al-Zawahiri, who
was released three years later in 1984. He now leads al-Qaeda.
Adam Smith once said, “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty
to the innocent.” You could also say, “Once
a snake, always a snake.” I guess you could say Mubarak
was not too bright to have allowed al-Zawahiri to go free. That
same mental defect in Mubarak is perhaps what led him to do other
actions that would eventually cause his own people to reject his
rule. Karma has a way of doing that. Hopefully, we can all learn
from the history of Egypt so that America and other nations that
espouse civility will not go down the path of brutality and be
relegated to the dustbin of History, along with, as sometimes
happens, their art and literature. Did you ever read a play by
Agathon, the Ancient Greek playwright? No? Neither have I –
for none of his works survived the ravages of antiquity when Ancient
Greece was conquered by the Romans, and then the Ottomans. As
Hemingway once said, paraphrasing, “War sucks, but if
you lose your wars, it sucks even worse, for you put your people
and your culture at the very real risk of complete annihilation
and utter oblivion.”
Revealed: Photographs, 2000-2010' on display at the DIA