Sunday, March 18, 2018

Renaissance Mannerism in Painting

Renaissance Mannerism in Painting

Italian MANIERISMO (from maniera, "manner," or "style").

Mannerism is a weird overly "stylized" style that is a subset of the Italian Renaissance style and period.  Its main qualities are that it is a bit shocking in terms of the subject matter.  Often, although the themes are classical they are "sexy."  However, although they are a bit shocking and risqué, Mannerist artists still seem to know the basic rules and get away with staying inside the boundaries of good taste.  So another quality of Mannerism is that Mannerist artists seems to know the etiquette or "manner" of good taste but they also bend the rules a bit.
Correggio (Antonio Allegri) 
Jupiter and Io 
oil on canvas 64x28 in 
Kuntshistorisches Museum, Vienna 
Italian Renaissance, Mannerism
They tend to bend the rules also in terms of the formal qualities.  Mannerist art takes many of its schemas from Michelangelo but they tend to exaggerate the qualities found in his art.  The figures always seem to be perched on the edge of action.  Often they are portrayed in the moment just before they rise up from a chair.  They are nether seated nor are they actually moving.  Often the figures' anatomies are weird, twisting and distorted.  Heads are too small, figures seem to float in ambiguous space and the color and value structure are often over emphasized or exaggerated unnaturally.

Form: Correggio's style of painting is almost a shopping list of what a Mannerist painting should look like.  Correggio paints the fantastic in an illusionistic and believable manner.  The cloud, which is Zeus in disguise, is rendered in a believable manner.  The figure of Io's anatomy is distorted.  The head is a bit too small and the torso is elongated but on first glance it seems believable.  The pose is somewhat improbable but again it looks real.The space he creates is also a twist on earlier depictions of space.  Here Correggio foregoes the illusion of deep space and pushes the whole scene up against the picture plane and the space around it is strange.  The viewer after a closer look at the painting is forced to ask themselves, "where is this taking place?"
Iconography:  Correggio even takes the idea of classicism and the depiction of classical mythology and puts a spin on it.
 Io was a priestess of the Roman goddess Juno. Juno was the jealous wife of Jupiter, the king of the gods. Jupiter was indeed very unfaithful. When Jupiter fell in love with Io, he transformed himself into the shape of a dark cloud to hide himself from his jealous wife. However, noticed the small cloud and suspected that the cloud was one of Jupiter's tricks. Thus, she approached to check the true nature of the cloud. As soon as Juno arrived, Jupiter immediately transformed Io into a white cow to avoid his wife's wrath. But Juno guessed the intrigue and asked if Jupiter wanted the cow as a gift. Jupiter could not refuse such a little gift without giving himself away.  

Thus, Juno tied the poor cow and sent her faithful servant Argus to watch over Io. Argus had a hundred eyes and only a few were ever closed at any time. To free Io, Jupiter sent his son Mercury to sing and tell boring stories to make Argus sleep with all his eyes. Mercury told so many stories that finally Argus close all his hundred eyes. Only then did Mercury kill Argus and untie Io, who ran home free.  

Yet when Juno discovered what had occurred, she was so furious that she sent a vicious gadfly to sting the cow forever. Moreover, to honor the memory of her faithful servant, Juno put the hundred eyes of Argus on the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock. The hundred eyes could not see any more but beautifully decorate the tail of the peacock. 
Meanwhile, Io, who was still prisoner into the shape of a cow, could not get rid of the malicious gadfly. Finally, after Jupiter vowed to no longer pursue his beloved Io, Juno released Io from her inhuman prison, and Io settled in Egypt, becoming the first queen of Egypt. 
This tale is not a moralizing one but rather an excuse to show a semi erotic scene under the disguise, much like Titian's Venus of Urbino, of a classical or humanistic theme. Context:  Correggio and other Mannerist artists of his day were catering to the new, somewhat controversial tastes of his clients. 
"At the height of his career while working for the Duke of Mantua, Frederigo Gonzaga (1530-33), Correggio painted a group of works for presentation to Emperor Charles V representing the loves of Jupiter ("Leda", "Antiope", "Ganymede", and "Io")." 

To learn more please visit: 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Jacob Wrestling the Angel The Vienna Genesis,

Jacob Wrestling the Angel 
The Vienna Genesis,  
Probably made in Syria or Palestine. 
Early 6th century.  
Tempera, gold, and silver paint  
on purple-dyed vellum, 
approx. 9"x12" 
Osterreiche Nationalbibliothek, Vienna 
Byzantine Style
Form:  This manuscript page, made on animal skin, marks the evolution of Christian manuscript making.  Manuscripts combined two forms of art, calligraphy and painting.  The term calligraphy literally means beautiful writing (kalos: beauty graphos: to write)  The letters and words are written in silver (now tarnished black) in Greek and follow a fairly unified style of script without much of the variation and ornamentation that develops later in Christian and Islamic manuscripts.

The page was conceived of as a whole composition in which the words at the top, packed tightly and uniformly across the surface, balance with the almost frieze like image beneath.  The narrative beneath starts at the left and continues around in a reversed "C" like shape.  Multiple scenes with the same characters inhabit the same space.  This convention referred to as a continuous narrative, run throughout the entire manuscript and mimic the paintings of Dura Europos.

Iconography:  Color and the materials used to adorn the book are iconic.  The silver and gold paint elevate the physical and therefore highlight the spiritual value of the text.  The same is true of the expensive purple dye of the page which is also symbolic of royalty.  (Note the purple robes of Theodora and Justinian above.)  The decorative qualities of how things are written, called calligraphy (calos- beautiful graphy- to write) is symbolic in and of itself.  The beauty and care in which the letters, words, and decorative forms are written is symbolic of the beauty of the meaning of the words and phrases.  Figures are represented very much like Christ figure from Hagia Sofia, which exists from the 13th century. The drapery stylization and face are the same.

The story here is important Read Mencher Liaisons 15-21 (Selections from Genesis-Jacob and Esau) 

Context:  Early Christian artists or calligraphers, borrowed and developed the decorative forms of calligraphy from the Romans, Greeks and sacred books of the Jewish Torah, in order to decorate and honor the words of the Old and New Testaments. 

To learn more please visit:

Thursday, March 15, 2018


1 2

Artist: Jacques Sultana

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hagia Sophia (Sofia) 532-37
architects: Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus
Istanbul, Turkey (Byzantium)

Form:  This is a central-plan design that expands on the original basilican design.  The design incorporates the use of pendentives, buttressing half domes, and arch and dome technology creating a large many storied central area.  Expands on the concept, engineering and design function of the Pantheon by adding cross vaulting technology that the Romans had developed. A good example of this cross vaulting technology is in the Basilica of Constantine. Decorative forms (in terms of two-dimensional designs) inside the Hagia Sofia reflect early Byzantine Style, which means that even up to the 1300's they are still using many of the same things in the Hagia Sofia to depict people.

Iconography: The name Hagia Sofia can be translated as "Holy Wisdom."  The plan has the form of a Greek cross surmounted by a dome which as in the Pantheon is a symbol of the dome of heaven.  The engineering used is also symbolic of the power and intelligence of Constantine's empire.

Context:  The geographic location of Hagia Sofia places it in the region of Byzantium. The city where they moved the empire to is called Constantinople that is in modern day Turkey, and is also now called Istanbul. The four minarets that surround it were built later.  They were added by the Muslims to them to call the faithful to worship after the church was transformed into a mosque. A mosque is an Islamic place of worship. The ornamentation of the interior is Islamic looking.

To learn more please visit:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

On view as part of OUT FOR THE CAMERA: The Self-Portraits of Leonard Fink. Leonard Fink, Self-Portrait, Catwalk, Pier 46, 1979.
Nightwood: An Evening with Drag Kings
Tuesday, March 13, 6:30-8:30PM

Named after Djuna Barne’s legendary novel, Nightwood is a performance series hosted and organized by Sarah Zapata as part of Haptic Tactics, an exhibition exploring queer abstraction. more

This event is FREE and open to the public. Please RSVP
Fundraiser, Exhibition, Art Sale
BOY BORDELLO: House of Erotic Art
VIP Gala, March 22, 7-9PM (Tickets $75)

Opening: March 23, 6-9PM
Exhibition: March 24-255-8PMMarch 26, 6-8PMMarch 27, 6-9PM

Enter the exotic, flamboyant, and lavish world of Boy Bordello, House of Erotic Art. View and purchase a bevy of original and affordable artworks for sale, displaying the illusory attraction of men, as seen through the eyes of some of New York City’s most brilliant gay artistic talents on the erotic art scene today. 

All artists have generously donated their photographs, drawings, and paintings, on behalf of Charles W. Leslie, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Museum. 
Poetry Reading
Poetry of Struggle, Survival and Joy
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30-8:30PM

Hosted by Janlori Goldman
Featuring: Mark Doty, T’ai Freedom Ford and Eileen Myles

Poetry makes a space for us to know ourselves and our worlds more deeply, to express with the greatest compression and intensity that which we thought inexpressible. Poets from our LGBTQ community will read from new and older work. more

This event is FREE and open to the public. Please RSVP
Film Screening
Tuesday, April 3, 6:30-8:30PM
1928. Germany. 90 min. Directed by William Dieterle, silent with english subtitles

Join us the first of two movie nights celebrating some of the first works in film history depicting LGBTQ characters. Produced by the legendary UFA Studios before the Nazis seized control of Germany, Different from the Others and Sex in Chains were censored and banned at the time of their release. more
Leslie-Lohman Project Space
Queer Comfort: The Secret Room
Opening: April 6, 6-8PM
Exhibition: April 7-812-6PM

This work invites the public into an intimate space that explores what we as queers do to comfort ourselves and others. Branden Wallace shares sculptures that are based in eliciting comfort within craft techniques. Cupid Ojala presents photographs of a fantasy space that facilitate a soothing ritual of private selection. more
Lohman Gallery
February 18 – May 20

Haptic Tactics is an exhibition co-curated by Noam Parness, Risa Puleo, and Daniel Sander that seeks to develop new ways of thinking about and engaging with contemporary work made by queer artists. more
OUT FOR THE CAMERA: The Self-Portraits of Leonard Fink
Exhibition: January 24 – August 5, 2018

OUT FOR THE CAMERA: The Self-Portraits of Leonard Fink, curated by Jonathan Weinberg, focuses on photographs by Leonard Fink, a queer photographer, whose work was almost entirely unknown during his lifetime and is still little known today. more
Living Room Gallery
TOMMY KHA: Today Was A Good Day
Through March 25

Stations of the Cross is a citywide public art project that invites people of all faiths to consider injustice and pain across the human experience. The exhibition presents a pilgrimage comprised of 14 “art stations” located across Manhattan

Station 11 (The Crucifixion), Today Was A Good Day chronicles the narratives of Southerners who died during the AIDS Crisis of the1980s and early 1990s. The installation is experienced through two overlapping slide shows depicting family photograph , portraits, still lifes, and images taken from the contemporary Southern landscapes. more
Through June, 2018

A the site-specific installation by the Silence=Death Collective, adapting the iconic poster used by Act Up during the AIDS Pandemic in 1980s calling attention to the lack of action by the United States government. more
A Letter to Harvey Milk
The Acorn Theatre: 410 West 42nd Street, NYC
Through June, 2018

A Letter to Harvey Milk, is a musical with a soaring score and deeply-felt, surprisingly funny lyrics. It deals with issues of friendship and loss, the grip of the past, and the hard-won acceptance set in motion by the most unexpected people. more

We Are Seeking Volunteers! Volunteers at the Leslie-Lohman Museum have the opportunity to gain exposure to the workings of an art museum and contribute valuable services to a nonprofit institution. We are currently looking for volunteers to help staff events, assist with mailings, and myriad other tasks that help to further our mission. To apply, please email your resumé and a brief note describing why you are interested in volunteering at the museum to
Join a group of passionate individuals who believe in the power of art to change the world, and support the ongoing mission of the Leslie-Lohman Museum. 


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Image credits:

(Title image): Leonard Fink, Self-Portrait, Catwalk, Pier 46, 1979. Silver gelatin print, 8 x 10 in. Collection and © of the LGBT Community Center National History Archive.

(c) Riya Lerner, 2018, Leslie-Lohman Museum.

Harvey Redding, Boy Bordello, 2018. (c) Justin Winslow, typeface, 2018.

(c) Sarah Zapata, 2018.

(c) Eileen Myles, Mark Doty, and T’ai Freedom Ford.

(c) William Dieterle, Sex in Chains, 1928. Germany. 90 min. Directed by William Dieterle,
silent with english subtitles

Branden Wallace, Kendall, 2017, C-Print, 14 x 11 in./ Cupid Ojala, White Armful #4, 2015, C-Print, 17 x 11 in. (Sculptures in photo: Ernesto Pujol, ‘Intimate Body Parts’, 1995-1997, Clay and pigment.) Courtesy the artists.

Carrie Yamaoka, 14.125 by 11.625 (black & white #3), 2015 Cast flexible urethane resin, reflective mylar and mixed media. 14.125 x 11.625 x .375 in. © the artist.

Leonard Fink, Leonard Fink, My Son is Gay and That’s OK, 1975. Silver gelatin print, 10 x 8 in. Collection and © of the LGBT Community Center National History Archive.

Tommy Kha, Today Was A Good Day, color photograph, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

(c) Timothy Schenck, SILENCE=DEATH, Facade Commission, 2017.

(c) Riya Lerner, 2017, Leslie-Lohman Museum

Rob Hugh Rosen, Sylvester, 1970. Courtesy of the Leslie-Lohman Museum.
Wednesday - Sunday12-6 pm
Thursdays: 12-8 pm