Two Colour Studies

Edward G. Nilges, “Head of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon”, pencil, pen, colored pencils and Gimp modifications, A4 size, 1 January 2011

Come on, come ON you bastards, this ain’t no porkchop, this is Artemis, this is Diana, this is Chang Er, Artemis was du, the shy-eyed Goddess of the moon.

WH Auden wrote a stunning introduction in 1954 to the Portable Greek Reader for Viking. Like CS Lewis also in that year, in his potboiler History of English Literature of the Sixteenth Century (Excluding Drama), Auden went over the top in a way permitted to intellectuals of his generation, normalized out of today’s scribblers, who dare not have an opinion that isn’t boring.

Auden contrasts two classical scholars and thus shows that the Greeks are different to different people. One scholar is quiet, grey, and his current worry is his wife’s health.

The other has marvelous teas for his favorite undergraduates and his current worry is his figure.

To the first, the Greeks represent Order and Tranquility.

To the second they represent the Eleusinian and Bacchanalian Mysteries, Dionysius messing with Pentheus’ mind in The Bacchae of Euripides, Pentheus in drag, falling out of a tree to be torn to pieces by the women of Athens!

When you colour the monochrome you go from the “classical” Greeks to the messed up wild men that the Greeks actually were. But you hold the Form.

And then you get Beethoven, neither Classic nor Romantic: the form underneath the color. Yeah baby!

I like this. I have piles of misshapen drawings and I remark that the best are evolutions of drawings I do after a long fallow period. The original line drawing for this baby was done when I walked in the Louvre in 2004.

Edward G. Nilges, “Sarabande”, pencil, pen, conte red and black crayon, colored pencils and Gimp modifications, A4 size, 1 January 2011


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