Michelangelo’s Bacchus and the 4 Types of Artists.

It’s odd how we often we look at things without seeing them, quite like I’ve looked at Bacchus and David and the Creation of Adam that’s painted upon the ceiling of Sistine chapel. We look at them and move on to the next creation by the artist…and then the next.

But among all the creations of Michelangelo, Bacchus left me moved.

This sculpture of the Roman god of wine and festivities is possibly the only one that does justice to him and his fine duties along with the Satyr that nibbles at the bunch of grapes that hang at the god’s side, and yet, it’s the sculpture for which Michelangelo wasn’t paid.

Why?

  • Because Bacchus looked drunk and slightly out of control.
  • Because Michelangelo had gone beyond what was required of him.
  • Because in his depiction of Bacchus Michelangelo had broken the moral boundaries of his time.

But mostly because with Bacchus, Michelangelo had stretched limits of the ability expected from an artist at the time. He had given his figures an exalted form. That, or his lack of training in painting led him to paint somewhat elongated figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the artists that came after him thought that elongation of bodies might be secret to his his success. Whatever the reason might have been, Michelangelo inadvertently started the Mannerist school of art, which El Greco took to perfection.

The wikipedia entry on Bacchus tells us…

“Commissioned by Raffaele Riario, a high-ranking Cardinal and collector of antique sculpture, it was rejected by him and was bought instead by Jacopo Galli, Riario’s banker and a friend to Michelangelo.”

I am not surprised that the gentleman who commissioned the sculpture decided not to put it in his courtyard. We don’t know whether it was because the god appeared drunken or because he wasn’t clothed. I’d say it must’ve been a bit of both. We know that after Michelangelo had finished “The Last Judgment” his work was denigrated by Cesna (the Papal Master of Ceremonies) and at a later date  another artist Volterra was commissioned to cover the nakedness that disgraced the chapel. Volterra might not have envisioned how this particular commission would earn him a place in history, and a rather cute nickname that translates to knickers-maker.

Raffaele Riario who was a cardinal himself would obviously be averse to decorating his courtyard with a sculpture of a butt-naked god who looked, “drunken, brutal, and narrow-minded, and has an expression of dissoluteness the most revolting,” according to P.B. Shelley.

And yet, I believe that Bacchus is a master-piece – for it’s a manifestation of Michelangelo’s courage and imagination. Perhaps the first sculpture of its kind – the first to cast a god in the mold of a man both in body and spirit, and yet, it was rejected by the man who commissioned it. In the sixteenth century, an artist was more an illustrator of an idea who worked for a price and delivered per the requirement of the client. The artistic license that Michelangelo took with Bacchus must’ve caused him considerable inconvenience too.

It’s said that history has lessons for us.

One of the lessons to be learned here is that artists must sometimes rein-in their imagination, especially if they want to eat well. They must decide what kind of artist they want to be – Starving, Dying, Dead, or Rich.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

 

 

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Cartoon/caricature Sculpture in Polymer Clay– The Devil – Satire/Story – The Devil Wants Out!

Well…here’s my Clay Caricature Number 3 – The Devil (or the Devil’s son – if you go by the story that follows the picture.) You are welcome to view my previous sculpting efforts the Harlot here and the Bald Man here.

A Caricature, Cartoon Sculpture of the horned Devil in Polymer Clay.

Caricature/Cartoon in Polymer Clay. Title: "The Horned Devil" Size: 2.25" tall x 1.5" wide x 1.5" deep.

The Devil Wants Out!

(A Tiny Story/Satire – by The Caricaturist)

He sat in his room watching Bedazzled – a Devil Movie from his Hollywood collection. His father, the Devil, disapproved of all but the Devil movies – so though he disliked them he didn’t have a lot of other options. Thankfully, he rather liked this particular movie – Watching Liz Hurley play the Devil was like seeing his dad in a gown…and he found it hilarious – the buttered Popcorn, the sexy Devil and the star-struck Fraser – all made his life seem a little worthwhile, but he knew that this feeling of wholesomeness would disappear the moment the movie ended – the movie just helped him escape his reality.

His reality was Hell. He was expected to take over as the CEO of Hell when his dad retired at the end of the century – and he really didn’t want to. He didn’t like his Job Description at all. Collecting souls, sorting them, meting out the right punishment in the right measure – all this was just one part of it… the glamorous part! The other part was recruiting help, managing them, overseeing them, auditing the processes…why, just the other day he had caught a minion accepting bribe for moving a promiscuous lawyer’s spiky bed near a harlot’s fire!

He’d swap his life with anyone’s… Liz Hurley’s, Brendan Fraser’s, even Jim Carrey’s – of course he’d love to be Paris Hilton and send her here in his place, but his puritan dad would kill him if it was discovered that he traded places with a woman – and then there was the obvious bottleneck – what did Paris know of sins, and sinners, and hell? Lady Gaga was another interesting possibility what with her meat dress and her devilish attitude – but then despite the controversy there was a good chance that she too was a woman – and he didn’t want to risk making his father go berserk.

Two years ago, he would’ve happily swapped with Barack Obama, but then being a brand new politician he was a novice in the matters of hell…and today, Obama were probably stuck worse than him! That won’t work. He wanted to swap with someone who had inherited a lot of wealth because inherited wealth would help him sin and sinning would make sure that he returned to hell instead of going to heaven, which of course was out of question! He was also open to reviewing potential swaps with people in power because power too made people sin.

So he thought and he thought,  until the movie ended – but he reached no conclusion. He wanted to do something else…he didn’t want to do what the eldest son always did – run Hell efficiently…

There had to be a way out – somewhere, if not in the present, in the past – there would be someone who had it in him – who he could swap places with! As he browsed through the recorded programs on the History Channel, he found his answer.

 

A Caricature of Adolf Hitler, Nazi Dictator with Horns!

He was going to swap with Adolf Hitler!

 

 

——–(ooo)——–

Thank You Nancy! Coming up soon…the Polymer Clay Caricature of the Horned Devil:-)

This week I received a fabulous surprise, which swept me off my feet. From a land far far away came a box….and in that box were two Clay Sculpting Tool-sets  and many other beautiful inspirations in the form of clay dogs.  I’d like to thank Nancy Johanson (Dewey‘s Gram) for everything that I’ve ever done with clay (which isn’t really much so far – about 2.5 clay caricatures) and everything that I’ll ever do. I would never have discovered this beautiful medium – I’d never have thought that the little clay packets that they sold in those stationery stores with those not-so-inspirational clay model pictures on their boxes held such potential.

Nancy, whatever I do with clay – ever in my life, would be because of you. You are my inspiration…and I hope that one day I’ll make you proud. Thank you for the tools. I am so happy to have a tool for sculpting every little idea that pops into my head.

zwani.com myspace graphic comments
THANK YOU NANCY 🙂

The eyebrow tweezers and the screwdrivers are no match to even a single tool in this fabulous collection. I hope that you’ll all see a marked improvement in the level of detail and the overall quality of my clay caricatures.

The sculpture of the Horned Devil, my first attempt to create a Polymer Clay Sculpture with the tools, is done – but it has to be painted before it can debut on the blog:)  I shall complete it soon and post it for your viewing pleasure.

– Shafali

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams – Caricature/Cartoon – A Polymer Clay Sculpture and a Short Story.

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams

(A Short Story and a Verbal Caricature – by Shafali The Caricaturist)

The Year: 2020 A. D.

Brice checked the machine once again. Everything appeared to be in order – but Brice wanted to be sure. On his last trip into the past, his time machine had developed some sort of engine trouble, and it had delayed his arrival back. Technically you could never be late in arriving back into your time as you could program the machine to bring you back as soon as you had departed – but when you spend 2 years of your time in the World War II Europe, trying to fix your machine, you age. Those worry-lines on Brice’s forehead weren’t there when he had walked into the time travel machine for that last trip!

So after Brice had ensured that the machine was in good shape, he stepped into it, set the time dial to 5:30 PM, July 1725 BC, and typed in the longitude and latitude of the place of his dreams. It was time of inundation; it was the time when the androgynous goddess of fertility Hapi rode the Nile and made the land fertile; it was also the time that he had been dreaming of, every night of the last three months – it was the time of Amunet!

—ooo—

The door closed behind Brice. It would take the machine about 3 minutes to reach its destination. Brice closed his eyes and memories from his dreams rushed to fill his mind. The beautiful almond eyes outlined with kohl, the full red lips, and the dewy freshness of her skin – the way he had been seeing Amunet all these months. He also saw the banks of the swollen Nile; and he almost felt the happiness that came with the flooding of the Nile. Brice was a time travel scientist, he wasn’t a historian; but that girl in his dreams made him spend hours of his time researching not time-travel, but the history Ancient Egypt. She had become his obsession, and he had to find her – and if he really did, he might even stay back in time…Love makes you do strange things.

A sharp beep told him that the time machine had arrived into the past, at his destination – the City of Thebes on the eastern bank of the river Nile. Everything was as he had visualized…except the landscape. What were they? Broken Chariot wheels?! The Hyksos had brought the chariots to Egypt, and they hadn’t arrived until 1700 BC! Something wasn’t right – but then everything else wasn’t a lot different from what he had seen in his dreams! He hid his time machine, and looked around…if Amunet were there he’d see her because nobody else could be as beautiful!

And then he saw her…on the steps of the ruins. The steps, on which she sat, looked like they belonged to the beautiful fountain that he saw in his dreams. It was the same place – and there she was – the same almond-shaped eyes, the same sideways glance…but she looked different with all that makeup! And her jewelry was mostly blue…Lapis Lazuli. He looked again. She sat there laughing, talking to drunken men, who’d pay her and then stagger over to one of the younger girls and…Brice could watch no more. He turned and ran, trying not to vomit – the girl who he had seen in his dreams was now the much older harlot who sat on those steps – she and all the other girls, wore the blue Lapis Lazuli stone on their foreheads or in their hair – he had read in the history text s that the law in Ancient Egypt required that the harlots announced their calling to everyone by wearing the blue stone on their foreheads.

The caricature, cartoon, sculpture, 3D image of an egyptian harlot.

Amunet, the Egyptian Harlot. A Polymer Clay Model – 3″ tall, 1.75″ wide, 1.5″ deep.

Brice ran across the fields towards his time machine. He couldn’t understand it at all. What went wrong? And then it occurred to him…the history books that he had read during his research and based his calculations on – were wrong! They were at least 25 years off the mark!

The time machine was still there. Brice thanked his stars, climbed into it, and reset the dials! He was going back to his home in the time-space – never to return!

—ooo—

The Year: 2025 A. D.

After his Egyptian fiasco five years ago, Brice decided to junk his job as a time-travel scientist and decided to become a computer programmer instead. Now he programs computer applications that drive people nuts by asking them for updates twice a day!

 

Special Thanks to:

  • Nancy Johanson, Dewey’s Gram who inspired me to dabble with clay.
  • Wilbur Smith my favorite author, who helped me time travel to Ancient Egypt through his Egyptian series.
  • Oorvi’s Cameo who photographed the Harlot 🙂

Caricature/Cartoon – Bald Man Smiling – A Polymer Clay Sculpture!

99.9% Artists don’t eat…from doing art! I am one among the 99.9%! Drawing is a skill that’s as useless as the skill of scratching your own back – It isn’t easy, it twists you all out of shape, it’s also extremely gratifying; but you can’t earn by scratching your back!

So what does an artist (specifically this one) do? She tries out other options.

Remember she turned a writer recently? No? Well…that tells us something – doesn’t it?!

Obviously then, something else had to be tried – and so she turned a caricaturist sculptoress (sculptor/sculptoress?! Dictionary writers must all be men – they didn’t bother! Artist/Artistress?! See what I mean – Woman artists are twice as unwanted as their fellow male counterparts!)

So here’s my second effort at creating clay sculptures (and don’t ask me to show you my first…it was a disaster!)

3d caricature cartoon clay sculpture (wall plaque) of a smiling bald man with moustache and beard.

I am bald and bearded, and I have a handlebar mustache...it must make me look funny...but who cares! Check out my smile, because that's what's really important!

A Thank You Note to my Teacher:) Nancy Johanson (Dewey Dewster‘s Gram), who makes beautiful clay doggies, and whose creations inspired me to try out clay modeling.

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for inspiring me and telling me all about clay modeling. It’s fun though it’s different:) I think I’d stick to modeling caricatures in clay for some time…they are simpler for me to handle:) This afternoon I used the second box of clay to create this wall-plaque. It’s tiny. About 2.5 inches by 1.25 inches. I made a wall-plaque of it by adding a clay-loop behind it, and right now it’s hanging on my soft-board, with a push-pin!

That’s all for now:) See you soon with some new caricatures!