Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The Wednesday Post
Farewell, Jacopo Amigoni!
His vivid 1739 Biblical painting Jael and Sisera notwithstanding, the Italian-Spanish master went two-and-out against Carl Andre and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Yesterday, he become the second artist to exit the Infinite Art Tournament.
Nor has the postage stamp been especially kind to Amigoni's legacy. Neither Italy nor Spain (nor IAT's home county, the United States of America) has, as far as I can tell, put one of his paintings on a stamp. In fact, I've only found two countries that have.
Paraguay's issue from the early 70s shows a little more skin than seems entirely necessary on a business letter, but taken on its own terms it's a fairly charming scene of minor supernatural beings at the frolic. It's fun to pretend that the girl in the foreground is catching an (American) football for an amazing touchdown.
And then there's Mali. This is the tamest of an issue from last year of stamps commemorating the female nude in European art. From Mali. Mali, an African country whose population is approximately 90% Muslim. This is indeed a most cynical playing of the philatelic market! However, since the United States Postal Service has long been in the business of promoting products of the Walt Disney Corporation in order to drum up revenue, the IAT is in no position to throw stones.
Amigoni may not be many people's favorite painter, but he has at least one painting with a truly excellent name. It is a scene from traditional Roman history:
The title in Italian is Il Console Manius Curius Dentatus preferisce le rape ai regali dei Sanniti. That's Consul Marcus Curius Dentatus Prefers Turnips to the Samnites' Gifts. Next time you're in The Hague, you can check it out at the Museum Bredius. Tell them Michael5000 sent you!