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Evening Standard refers to painting of older woman as "this ancient crone...ghastliness of ageing flesh... this repellent body."

(160 Posts)
Bidisha Fri 13-Jul-12 01:40:54

tethersend Fri 13-Jul-12 02:58:53

It's Brian Sewell. Quelle surprise.

messyisthenewtidy Fri 13-Jul-12 06:36:01

I quite like it actually, can't quite articulate why not being an art buff but it's something to do with the shock that you initially feel upon seeing a real aged female body in all it's guts and glory to blush hmm and finally smile when you consider the combo of her body and her face which is obviously full of compassion, wisdom and good humour.

Plus it's a great painting.

Do they do a Mumsnet course in Art Critiquing with Emoticons? Cos they should .....

WitchOfEndor Fri 13-Jul-12 07:22:58

I think she looks like a lovely warm and friendly older lady, no crone likeness at all. When was the last time Briam Sewell saw a naked lady anyway?

GaryTankCommander Fri 13-Jul-12 07:28:57

With regard to the skill of the artist though, he does have a point though regarding her proportions. Her belly button for example is too high. It just doesn't look right. Her body look too big for her head. I think (read it yesterday) his comment was something along the lines that the artist got so carried away with the ageing aspect of the painting that the picture suffered.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 13-Jul-12 07:39:00

It's a great painting and I don't think the body is out of proportion to the breasts - but that will be because personally my breasts are larger than my head too. I am also very high waisted so don't think the belly button is out either.

Or maybe I'm just sensitive because I would look like that nude.

To me it looks terribly realistic and I say terribly because ageing is hard for society to embrace and I can see from Sewells description his reaction us quite visceral - it doesn't evoke that in me but I can see why it might do in an elderly, not ageing prettily either, man.

GaryTankCommander Fri 13-Jul-12 07:43:41

You see to me it doesn't look realistic, it looks totally out of proportion. But maybe that's mine (and Brian's problem). I'm a B cup, slim, 35 year old and admit have seen very, very few older women in the nude.

I agree that his choice of words... Hideous, crone etc... Are not to my liking. There is nothing crone-like about it.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 13-Jul-12 07:52:30

That's really interesting and I'm guessing the different reactions is what the painter intended. I worked as a student nurse in elderly care which is probably also why it looks 'normal' to me.

I think a lot of people haven't seen older people nude.

AmazingBouncingFerret Fri 13-Jul-12 07:59:47

Well fuck! From the review by Brian I was envisioning some large bold canvas in blacks, browns and reds done in over the top impressionism style.

It's a portrait of naked woman, nothing more, nothing less.

Brian Sewell, for example, is a twat.

bronze Fri 13-Jul-12 08:04:38

She's high waisted but it looks higher because her beasts are lower than we're used to seeing as there just aren't pictures of women her age.
Also I think people don't realise how much is below the waist proportion wise, bit like those who don't realise that looking straight on its about the same from chin to eyes as it is eyes to top of head.

I agree with the poster who said they liked it. Her personality shines through, she looks amused and like she's fun.

OatyBeatie Fri 13-Jul-12 08:10:18

Her face is really beautiful -- wise and humorous and strong. He body is visually challenging only because we are so deprived of images of older people naked (and even of a realistic range of younger naked bodies). But it isn't ugle, not at all. I'd been expecting something difficult like a Lucian Freud nude, but the skin tones on this picture are warm and comfortable, and the shoulders, arms, hands and collarbone are all beautiful.

I don't understand why Sewell says ". sympathy gentles the stark observation of every detail." It looks like a picture by someone who is very fond of the woman portrayed. The picture is called "Auntie." I wish she was my auntie.

DamselInDisgrace Fri 13-Jul-12 08:14:49

Her belly button is at the same level as her elbows, which is where mine is. It just looks high because there's little distance between her belly button and the bottom of her breasts.

I don't understand the revulsion at all.

OatyBeatie Fri 13-Jul-12 08:16:12

<women all over the country stand up from their keyboards to measure tummy-button height in relation to elbow height>

peoplesrepublicofmeow Fri 13-Jul-12 08:16:19

i think she looks beautiful, and i really mean that.

from going to saunas here in holland i'm quite used to seeing both sexes naked of all ages shapes and sizes, she is a realistic portait.

her belly button is a little high i suppose but thast hardly offensive.

she isnt 18-30 hasnt been nipped/tucked/bleached/shaved/plucked/waxed. no wonder people are offended, they are being confronted with reality.

itsthequietones Fri 13-Jul-12 08:18:58

"no sympathy gentles the stark observation of every detail, nor is desire roused; instead, this painting stimulates revulsion." "the lividity of death about her lower quarters"

It seems that he views women's bodies as purely sexual, they should evoke desire and lust, or, if they fail in that respect, then sympathy. A realistic painting of a older woman repulses him because it doesn't fit in with his view of how women should be portrayed. The language he uses is derogatory and vile. It's just a painting of an older woman, I do wonder how if he views his own body with the same revulsion....

One of the comments in the Standard says that 'his review says more about him than the painting' and I think that's spot on.

blondieminx Fri 13-Jul-12 08:19:13

That lady's eyes really twinkle, she looks like she'd be a really nice person to have a cuppa with. Brian Sewell's eyes... Hmm not so much! grin He is the only man to convincingly manage a catsbum mouth and have it as his byline pic, and his sniffy joyless moans are depressing.

OatyBeatie Fri 13-Jul-12 08:22:00

peoplesrepublic, when you mentioned that she hadn't modified her body with cosmetic procedures, I had a really strong impulse of feeling that her beauty was partly comprised by exactly that authenticity. We do have a sense of beauty as being something not wholly visual, but visual-as-a-manifestation-of-life-or-character. That puts it very badly, but there is some sense in which the authenticity of her body, and the fact that it displays her long experience of life is part of its beauty, not an independent value that compensates for a lack of beauty.

OatyBeatie Fri 13-Jul-12 08:25:01

God god, I missed "the lividity of death about her lower quarters". And how about "the eyes purblind, the slight smile a rictus." Sheesh.

GaryTankCommander Fri 13-Jul-12 08:28:56

Ooh gosh! My belly button is at the same level of my elbows?! Why doesn't it look right to me then? Are her arms too long? Shoulders to narrow? confused

<off to study naked self and portrait>

DamselInDisgrace Fri 13-Jul-12 08:32:20

It's because her breasts are lower thn you're probably expecting.

DoWeQualify Fri 13-Jul-12 08:34:20

Bloody hell I read the description then saw the pcture (as I'm sure they wanted you to) and was expecting something really grotesque. I saw...a woman. Who looks like a normal woman, not a porn star. And that's grotesque is it?

GaryTankCommander Fri 13-Jul-12 08:45:28

Right, studied self naked. I think it's because I'm just not used to large, natural breasts then. confused. I expect Brian isn't either! grin

bronze Fri 13-Jul-12 08:52:47

I keep coming back to it because I actually live it. There are few paintings of people I like but this one has caught me.
Looking at her lower tummy I see life not death.

bronze Fri 13-Jul-12 08:53:48

*love it

MrsMcNulty Fri 13-Jul-12 08:56:45

I read this article last night and thought the language used by BS (what an apt acronym) was hateful. I don't find the painting great but the woman in it looks pretty normal to me, not repellent.

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