The assignment is this:
I forgot to mention in class that another reason why that spot The Beach in New Orleans is near to my heart. You know how every American over 55 or so remembers where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot? Well, The Beach is where I was when I heard that Nate Dogg had died. The DJ slipped it in between cuts — “Yo RIP Nate Dogg” — and my friend (who’s from Long Beach, so you can imagine how hard the news would be for him) and I looked at each other incredulously, checked our phones to confirm the news, then poured out some of our drinks in silent remembrance.
Since I told you I’m going to Seattle next week, here’s a few hot tracks from Odesza, a duo who hail from the Emerald City (and this remix, which reminds me a bit of “Better Off Alone” by Alice DeeJay, which most of your should be old enough to remember, I hope).
One of Diego Velázquez’s best works (and that’s really saying something, as some (including Manet) believe he was the greatest painter of all time) is the Portrait of Pope Innocent X, which is the masterpiece of the Doria Pamphilj Gallery in Rome. It’s also one of the greatest potraits of all time. Legend has it Il Papa said upon viewing it “E troppo vero!” (It is too true!) but that might be apocryphal:
The collection is among the world’s finest in private ownership, and the palazzo that houses it is one of the grandest. There’s an interesting Pamphilj inheritance battle that was detailed in a Vanity Fair article that came out late last year. (I have the paper copy in my office if you are into physical artifacts.)The short of it is that Jonathan Doria Pamphilj, one of the two heirs to the massive estate, is married to a man, with whom he has two children who were born by surrogacy. Jonathan’s sister Gesine Doria challenged the two children’s right of inheritance based on the fact that they were born of a surrogate. The case was thrown out without a ruling, on the grounds that Princess Gesine (of course she’s princess) didn’t have grounds to bring the suit. In an interesting twist, neither Gesine nor Jonathan themselves are in fact Pamphilj by blood; they were adopted almost five decades ago from England by Orietta Doria Pamphilj, who was at the time the sole heir to the estate.
The great 20th-century Irish painter Francis Bacon (not to be confused with the English philosopher/statesman/scientist Francis Bacon, who was one of the most important proponents of the scientific method, and in 1603 became the first scientist to receive a knighthood) was greatly inspired by Innocent X, and created a number of works that engaged directly with Velázquez’s masterpiece, including this funky rendition:
Bacon was perhaps even more influenced by Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin, particularly this face, seen during the famous Odessa steps sequence, which appears and reappears in various forms throughout Bacon’s oeuvre:
Incidentally, Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud recently sold for $142.4 million, a record price for a painting at auction.
Lucian Freud (grandson of Sigmund) was a pretty brilliant painter himself:
Though he caught some grief (for some reason, I distinctly remember this article (or at least the Daily Telegraph quote within), even though it was 12+ years ago and I’m sure I’d never heard of Lucian Freud at the time) for this portrait of Queen Elizabeth II:
“Troppo vero”, indeed.
“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”