This was my first live radio interview which aired in Spain. Lisa Grant was the host of the show. She was great to talk to and I think I did ok considering that I had never been interviewed on the radio before.
Is it possible that the Renaissance artists used their ability to create such beautiful paintings as a way to distract the viewer from other meanings of their paintings?
Here is a painting by Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, painted in 1486 – during the Renaissance.
From the d-point (the angled vantage point), two faces emerge – a man’s face on the left and a woman’s face of some sort on the right. You can see how the flesh tones from the two painted character’s legs on the left make up the flesh tones of the man’s face when viewed from the d-point. Our view seems to be from behind, as if the man is looking slightly away and towards the right. His cheekbone and chin line are well defined.
(I have highlighted the faces below.)
The woman’s view also seems to be focused in the same direction as the man’s. Our view is from behind. She seems to be looking away from us and to the left. Unlike the man, she seems to have a greenish skin, almost alien like. Are they both focusing on the goddess Venus?
What was Botticelli attempting to convey with this odd-looking couple?
This was an interview I did with the Rochester Business Journal. I really liked that Sally added a personality to all the previous stories that had made it out into the media world. She did a great job on this.
Here is the actual link to the story –
In an interview the other day I was asked if I think artists normally hide images in their paintings. I’m not sure about “normally,” but we have seen many works that exist with hidden images. Some are obvious and some not so obvious. Up until now we have been discussing Renaissance paintings that contain images that were not intended to be viewed so easily – “double images” in which one is obvious and the other seems to be hidden in plain site. So I wanted to show some works that we have already accepted as “double images.” Enjoy!
Is this painting above of a tribe or is it a face lying on its side? Or is it both?
Did artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo intend to paint a profile of a lady or a bunch of creatures from the sea? Or both? (By the way, this was created during the Renaissance.)
Here is another painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Did he paint another profile here or are these just a collection of animals?
Interestingly enough, is that a lion head, elephant head, horse head, mule head and a monkey in his Renaissance painting? Haven’t we have seen those animals in other Renaissance paintings?
Here is a logo that we are all familiar with. We’ve seen it many times, but how many of us know about the arrow that is hidden in the logo? (It’s the negative space between the “E” and “x.”) I use this FedEx example as a point that it is possible for something so obvious to stay hidden until pointed out.
And here is a portfolio piece that was created for a client by yours truly – me. Is that a face I see there or just an obvious collection of jewelry?
I guess the question I should have been asked is not whether I think artists would normally hide images in their paintings, but why would artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael want to paint images that were not so obvious to see?
The weekend after I had my first on-air interview, I received a text from a friend saying that
my interview made it to the Today Show.
They referred to me as an art historian. Not sure where they received that information –
I’m actually a graphic designer and oil painter.
How do you prepare for something such as your first interview?
You have in mind what you want to say and how you’re going to say it, but as soon as they put that camera on you, all plans go out the window.
My first interview was with Ray Levato from our local news station – WHEC-TV Channel 10. I had heard that he was a little skeptical about this kind of news, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
We all met at the front lobby of the news station and preceded upstairs to the studio while making small talk. I was trying to get a sense of what Ray was thinking and I felt right away that he was going to have a field day with me. I guess I was as prepared as I could be and just wanted to let my findings do the talking.
The interview lasted about an hour. At first I felt that Ray did not agree with my discoveries as some of the stuff was not that easy to see. He even said me at one point, “The Mona Lisa is perhaps the most studied portrait in the last 500 years. …how is it that (I’m) the first person to see this?” I really wasn’t ready for that question, but the camera was rolling.
WHEC TV 10 • Rochester, NY • November 30, 2011 (View online article)
I had expected nothing but the worst that night. I was ready to be embarrassed at work while my coworkers and I watched. Originally Ray had mentioned doing a one and a half minute news spot. A couple hours before airing, Kristine (my PR rep) had texted me and said that they were going to make my interview the lead story and bump up the time to almost 4 minutes!
As skeptical as I felt Ray to be when we first met, I really felt he had warmed up to me by the end of the interview. I never expected that interview to come out that well (for me).
What do you think?
Here’s another painting that appears to have animal heads hidden in it – similar to Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. In the Mona Lisa I spotted an ape head, a lion head, a mule head, a buffalo head and from the d-point (vantage point), a crocodile head.
This painting is Titian’s Pastoral Concert. Here I spot an ape head, a lion head, an elephant head and what could be a mule or horse head.
Not sure why he didn’t put a crocodile in this one, although he did paint one in his Venus of Urbino (below).
Is this all a coincidence? Maybe.
Did I happen to mention that I found an elephant in Michelangelo’s
Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden (Sistine Chapel)?