Tuesday, November 27, 2018

All that art

I stopped to stare at another of Tiepolo's paintings, “The Finding of Moses”. The story is that Moses was a foundling. He was rescued and adopted by an Egyptian princess. The Pharoah’s daughter would have been a brown woman and if Moses was of the Hebrew people, it is likely that he was brown too. Tiepolo paints them as white. The other women too are generously bosomed white ladies. There are two slightly darker faces in the painting. One, a figure in red, hangs a little to the back, holding a spear and is possibly a guard. Another is a dwarf with moustaches, possibly also a servant or guard. 

Things change over time. As geopolitics shifts, art and representation changes. There is another painting called “The Finding of Moses by Lawrence Alma-Tadema”, dated 1904. Here, many of the people in the painting are brown and black haired. Does it matter?

The question has found fresh currency with the release of Beyonce and Jay Z’s new release, “Apes**t”.

This is an extract from a longer column published in GQ magazine. Link here (behind a paywall): 

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