This morning I realized that yesterday I jumped the gun. I had sat down yesterday evening with the intention of getting a jump start on today’s post. It was then that I realized that I had not finished the post from that day. I finished it, added in the new pictures and posted it. This morning it dawned on me that I had put today’s photos on yesterday’s post.
I was looking at Degas’ ballerinas. So many people think they are of the romantic ideal of the ballet, beautiful and graceful. So pure and inoccent in thier lovely tutus. This is sort of jumping the gun in another way, the truth and historical context is a little less pretty than that. The girls in those paintings were my daughters age, and they were professional working girls.
So often we look at Art without a context, because we bring our own meaning to the work. For me when I see dancers, I see the strong lines thier bodies form, the contrast between the hard work and appearance of effortless grace that is the goal. I can see were others were pulling in the inocent and pure as compared to many modern dance costumes they are quite modest. Due to my modern sensibilities, I can only imagine the shock of the bare arms and the tantalising view of the legs.
There are some that is wrong to look at the painting in any other context than the historical one in which it was painted. I believe that knowing the whole story adds depth to the painting, but does not make any other vision of the painting less valid.
My daughter looked at this shot and said, it is picture of my ugly foot. I said, no, it is a picture that highlights the transformation of the plain foot to the graceful slippered foot. My pictures draws on the historical perspective of dancers in art, that contrast between the appearance and the reality. It makes me think, how many peices of art have I jumped the gun and gone only with my first impression without making any attemtp to understand what the artist was trying to convey.