A Blog: Fellow Sisters

If you liked our tribute to Escher’s “Drawing Hands”, then perhaps you will also like this drawing

Wednesday June 17, 2009


Thursday November 18, 2010
Portrait of the week # 24

I had not carried out this little ritual, but this week I've felt like give my modest tribute to this lovely person, Sally Draper. Given that there was never a formal farewell to this format, I think it's a fantastic character to put the finishing touch. 

Sally is the daughter of Don and Betty Draper in AMC series Mad Men and is admirably played by Kiernan Shipka . When we began to see Mad Men, Sally was only a child, but the evolution of her character, could already be glimpsed in the third season. She has left me fascinated. If I had begun to see Mad Men when she still wore it the "Portrait of the Week" with constancy, it probably would have portrayed Joan, or Peggy, maybe even Betty, depending on the empathic character the key writers touched upon . However, at this point, it is Sally who captures my expectations.

In the penultimate chapter of the fourth season Sally has a conversation with her neighbor who was embedded in my brain for a few days. I searched the video clip, but no luck, so I'm going to play it as I remembered it. To contextualize,  two children are sharing their impressions about flying in dreams: 

- Sally: Just felt like I was going to heaven, except I do not believe in it.

- Glen: You do not? Then What happens when you die? Nothing?

- Sally: It does not really bother me except that it is forever. When I think about " forever" I get upset. It's like the picture on the  the "Land O Lakes"  carton. There is an Indian girl sitting holding a box. And that image is of her on it holding a box, with a picture of her on it holding a box. Have you ever noticed that?

- Glen: I wish you would not have said that. 

The image in question created deep worries for both Sally and Glenn since it encompasses such ideas as eternity and death.

I wish this little miracle of a character every success in the TV world. I hope they continue with tthe character of Sally Draper in the next season of Mad Men. Hopefully Kiernan with her success does not come back as a diva.

Sometimes I like to image what Sally and her family members would be like if it were 2010. Obviously they would all have cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices. I can see Don Draper as being really into online casino sites. He'd probably have several online casino in usa sites that were his favorites. I think he would play poker online at his computer, as well as a mobile version for his cell phone. Pete Campbell and definitely Roger Sterling would also be big online gambling players. Perhaps it would be roulette for Roger and video poker for Pete. Betty Draper would be a secret online slot fanatic, whereas Peggy Olson would be too busy to bother. I think Joan Holloway would only dabble if she were to play. But she would be good at Texas Holdem Poker or Tri-Card Poker. Sally would be disdainful of her mother and perhaps a bit more forgiving of her father, particularly if he let her watch while he played. What do you think?


Portrait of the week #23

Okay, there are a few reasons why I know that Peter Greenaway, sometimes confuses his audience. His films are noted for the distinct influence of Renaissance and Baroque painting, and particularly, Flemish painting. For my part I have my reasons for liking  him. Please follow my train of thinking. One is that, although he is not always faithful to his own conception, he is a visionary with regard to the visual. In addition, I must admit, we share a great passion for painting, particularly paintings of the Baroque period.

I have not seen all of Greenaway's film, but I can say that what he does best, is how he combines scenic composition and illumination.

Particularly in the Netherlands during the period we call Baroque, painting became independent of its normal religious function which one can obviously observes  whenever in all European churches. The Baroque painter began to make observations of the bourgeois homes and institutions of the day,  creating new genres of art that still influence the art world today. All this is explained wonderfully by Victor I. Stoichita in the  "The Invention of the Box". During the Baroque period painters started to reached a degree of self-analysis and self-awareness that even 300 years still amazes me.

Leaving aside the visual references to Baroque art in Greenaway's films (an example is the backdrop for the wonderful group portrait by Frans Hals in "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover", what interests me especially is when this Baroque influence affects the plot. Both films, "The Draughtsman's Contract" and "Nightwatching" explore the ideas of what separates mere representation of art versus the explicit will of creation by the artist. In both cases the result had catastrophic consequences for the painter, Rembrandt.

Obviously, the key is what the artist wants to explore that is relevant to himself, which interestingly often what makes it relevant to posterity. The art of a brilliant artist becomes more than just his exploring a scene. Most historical paintings are relevant because the artist has exceeded the expected order of his time, and has done so with a specific social commitment. An example: Greenaway exploresd today's visual illiteracy in his Rembrandt's J'Accuse (Rembrandt was played by a wonderful Martin Freeman) via a conspiracy about a murder and the motives of all its characters who conspired to kill for their combined self-advantage. Thus Rembrandt's paintings are more that just  paintings of his time, once you understand them in their social context.