19 Comments

  1. By showing the models nude or simply by using their striking looks to get attention, the artist is “exploiting” them, though I’m not sure how to judge that. If the artist pays a decent sitting fee, how is that exploiting them? If she used crackheads as models and paid them with $10 worth of crack or offering a starving person a sandwich to pose, well those would seem exploitative. But in this case, the artist just paints around them, so you don’t see their actual looks. Of course, I could argue that eliminating them like this is dehumanizing them. Art talk is fun.

  2. All good points, SBill. I’ll just add that an “exploitative” work may be taking advantage of the appetites of the audience.

  3. It’s odd when that happens. Like shrapnel – named after a real person, who did actually invent it.

    Silhouette did not invent the silhouette though… he was Controller-General of Finances under Louis XV and according to Wikipedia his penny-pinching led to the term à la Silhouette being applied to cheap and austere things, including shadow profiles cut from black paper.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tienne_de_Silhouette

  4. I may have mentioned here before, I used to think that Moiré patterns were named for someone. (They aren’t, and the term is not generally capitalized, either.) Luckily, I hesitated before raising my hand to offer that as a “correction” to a computer-graphics instructor who was telling the class that the name was from these patterns’ resemblance to the skin of a Moray eel.

  5. You’re entirely right, narmitaj: my reading skills obviously don’t kick that early in the day.

    But at least we all learn something new.

  6. Mitch4: Huh, I, too, would have assumed it was a name, not sure why. I see it’s from French for mohair.

  7. When I was on safari once, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I couldn’t tell ya.

  8. In Africa, the elephants’ tusks were embedded so firmly we couldn’t remove them. In Alabama the Tuscaloosa.

  9. Robert is, among his many interests, an award winning silhouette artist. Strangely for an 18th century reenactor his pictures tend to be 19th century reproductions. Before photographs this was the inexpensive way to have an image of someone. One of the major silhouette artists, whose name has left my head, who did silhouette portraits of many famous people would cut two images simultaneously – one for him and one for his subject.

    Early in Robert’s cutting of silhouettes he insisted cutting one of me – with my (modern) eyeglasses on and my long,straight hair down (normally it is up in a hair clip). When he was done I pointed out that I looked like Benjamin Franklin and made him cut a silhouette of me with my hair up and no eyeglasses on and that looked like me.

    At that time he was also cutting scherenschnitten – very delicate, involved pictures in the German style and won awards for those also. He also had a number of exhibitions of both. His vision went downhill a bit and he had to stop doing cut paper art.

  10. Meryl: I would assume that silhouette art in the days before photography involved tracing a shadow — a quick way to get a reasonable facsimile without much artistic talent needed. I am curious where the artistry enters into it, and I’m not trying to be snide. I remember my sister had a kindergarten teacher who made silhouettes of all her students, but she did it freehand, not mechanically, and not even from shadows. I’m also curious as to what a Scherenschnitten is, as that translates literally to a “scissor cutting” — is that pictures other than silhouettes?

  11. They were cut without any tracing of shadow (nor does he use same either) – hence the artistry.

    A scherenschnitte is cut picture in a very lacy style of German tradition (adding the last n makes it plural). This page on Ebay seemed to have the best examples that I could find quickly on line (Not sure how I could post a photo of one his pieces as an example.) –
    https://www.ebay.com/b/Scherenschnitte/357/bn_7023236978

    Many people will fold their work now if they are cutting matching details on both sides, he does not, he cuts it flat so that there is no fold line in the middle and generally will not cut matching details on both sides so it is noticeable that he cut each side separately. He can no longer see well enough to cut them. The scherenschnitten are drawn on the back of the piece before cutting.

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