Sunday, February 6, 2011

Visible Revision: This is what Social Media Can Do

Part 1: This is what Social Media Can Do

I am indexing a book. Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity:  Art, Opera, Fiction, and the Proclamation of Modernity. It is by Simon Goldhill and forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Reading it made something happen in my brain--while I was asleep--so I tweeted this ...

I imagined I'd found a ragged old primer. The stories were those I already know. The illustrations were Waterhouse and Millais originals. 

I got a reply from a person, @ . I am associated with her only through Twitter, far as I know. She likes Keats and butter, so we share some passions. This is what she tweeted...

@: @ If in NYC, you must visit the Morgan library.  

I followed MaryBeth's link and saw this:

A  strange photograph in Mary Millais's scrapbook.
Posted on The Morgan Library & Museum site by Carolyn Vega Dec. 10, 2010

I recognized a painting. So I tweeted back...

@ That's a study for THE ORDER OF RELEASE Wow! Just wow! 

This sort of discovery is what social media is worth to me: Brilliant conversation, correspondence, a richer morning, and a richer life. I owe it to one MaryBethBass, lover of Keats and butter.

Part 2: Visible Revision

Just look at those two images. At first I was confident that the photo was a study for the painting. I'm not at all certain of that now. It might be that the photo is a re-expression of the painting.

The valence of revision is switchable; each image may have been the "first."

(This has nothing to do with revision, but one of the perils of studying images in reproduction is the loss of scale. Millais worked big. Brushwork gets lost in the transmission, too. Van Gogh's geisha has a toenail made with a single stroke. I cannot get over that. When I looked at it, I could almost feel the brush in my hand, feel the paint moving. There's some word for getting all swoony over art, whatever that word is, I'm there.)
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