Back in April I reported on an art appreciation class at CSU-Long Beach which features the fantastic assignment of painting reenactment. I suggested a few works for the fall semester - Washington Crossing the Delaware, a painting of John Brown, and a Botticelli Annunciation, which is basically the ecumenical inverse of that scene in Nightmare On Elm Street III when Freddy Krueger is leading Johnny Depp around by his tendons. I think I'd be equally frightened by either scenario, wouldn't you? Someone write me an essay on the role of horror films as an existential response to ecstatic experience in a post-religious culture, stat!
Anyway, I was thrilled when instructor Glenn Zucman found the post and basically shot all my ideas down. Well, not exactly. As it happens, works need to be on permanent display in Los Angeles in order to be considered, because the students have to go look at the actual artwork, not just some crappy photos on a website somewhere. The gall! But he invited me to come up with some alternatives. I had a lot of fun browsing the LACMA permanent collection online, and have come up with a bunch of options that may or may not be on display at any given moment.
The following selections have been made based on their intrinsic beauty, compositional complexity, pathos, aeronautics, or other challenges.
The Liberation of Saint Peter, circa 1625
Getting the lighting right here could be a challenge. This picture has always looked demonic to me. All those blacks and browns.
Dido and Aeneas, circa 1630
Selected for pathos, and for having so many faces in such different relationships and layers.
Psyche Obtaining the Elixir of Beauty from Proserpine, circa 1735
How would you represent that dragon? No teddy bears allowed!
The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia, circa 1610
Beautiful and hard to do!
Joseph Marie Vien (French, 1716 - 1809)
Venus Emerging from the Sea, circa 1754-1755