dionysos' ear
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    Caravaggio accepted commission of two flanking paintings for Contarelli Chapel summer 1599 in situ following summer. Meant to accompany centerpiece carving by Flemish sculptor Jacob Cornelisz Cobaert commissioned long before (1587). 'In January 1602 Cobaert's still unfinished sculptural group of St Matthew was transferred to the chapel, evidently without fulfilling the expectations of the Congregazione of the French national church. /.../ It was agreed instead to commission an altarpiece for the Contarelli Chapel from Caravaggio' and 'His magnificent side paintings had attracted great attention /.../ and their glaring contrast with Cobaert's statue no doubt prompted the idea of completing the chapel with an altarpiece by the same hand.' (no 24 in the Catalogue of Paintings, Caravaggio, The Complete Works, Sebastian Schütze, 2009)

    'glaring contrast'? Caravaggio better artist hence crowning piece of decoration go to him? Or one medium killing and killed by another? Or even Caravaggio paintings stronger pieces of sculpture than the Cobaert group. Cf Bernini Cornaro Chapel in St Maria della Vittoria sculptural program takes over from painting for integrated pictorial depth more convincingly than would some set of paintings some decision maker might have argued. Not the least since Bernini crowning piece of the assembly: The Ecstacy of Teresa twist of irony close variation of Caravaggio Mary Magdalene in Ecstacy. Cf turn page children books raise letterpress flatland of pictures into 3D of buildings and sceneries with hideaways and secret passageways.

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    Purpose of investigation: unveil make see or unravel make some tangle disappear. Of course, cases where unravel coincide with unveil. Lies leave us with nothing. Read Las Meninas (LM) through The Large Glass (LG) and the other way round. Start localize element-aspects by asking straight-forward questions like for example, Where is:

    1) the frame of Las Meninas to be found in the Large Glass?
    2) the canvas of LG to be found in LM?
    3) the surface of LM to be found LG?
    4) the screen of LG to be found in LM
    5) the image of the picture of LM to be found in LG?
    6) the author of LG to be found in LM?
    7) the spectator of LM to be found LG?

    Investigating affinity brings subtle complexity of acknowledgment to the fore. Always rewarding.

  • [2593]

    Answer prompted by question reference to language of consecutive questioning:

    Are you his brother?
    –No, cousin.
    –On your mother’s side?

    Wittgenstein asked no questions did not pursue investigation into language proper for there is none. On other hand could imagine philosophy consisting of nothing but questions never satisfied by Yes or No. Question urgent but answer no more than reference to language in vitro. 'Why' is no question but response. Merit of 'why' philosophy response althrough. Grammar built from why no question.

  • [2594]

    Striptease considered investigation pursued in such way unravelling perplexing complexity coincide with unveiling nature of complexity. Besides, cannot be decided who investigates whom who exposed to whom.


    Caravaggio Martyrdom of St Matthew and Jan van Eyck Arnolfini Betrothal through Velázquez Las Meninas. Position of author witness: van Eyck observing scene from doorway no meddling while Caravaggio amidst turmoil look back at deed. Testimony, confession? Michael Fried stresses guilt-driven Caravaggio. Common denominator of van Eyck and Caravaggio: unreserved immediacy.

    Mirror trick enabled van Eyck handle appearance and apparition. Although mirrors and mirroring essential instruments in Caravaggio's toolbox, he would not relegate himself to passivity of looking into mirror since exempt of responsibility.

    Velázquez distracted taciturn panoptic vision included mirror Informed by van Eyck and Caravaggio in like proportions. Las Meninas is Arnolfini Betrothal inside out: author centre of scene witnessed by displaced king and queen, present only in effigie of reflection. Supreme Royalties could claim they were there at the very moment when nothing else than infinite number of neglectable shifts and passes nobody but Velázquez would register.

    In Las Meninas  author does not seek escape from mess he recorded as did Caravaggio in St Matthew. Velázquez, was he guilty of the scene? Taking focus position had it all in his hands. Like sand.


    Eastman View Camera preserved integrity of Caravaggio studio considered sheltered space of camera obscura. Digital technique did away with it, 'camera' no more than name. Box camera: small room in box. Duchamp Boîte-en-valise box in suitcase portable miniature monograph containing replica works, suitcase museum larger space contained in smaller.

    Scaling means preserving integrity of dimensionality across scaling. Linear perspective veduta school of Piero forerunner of digital technique by not acknowledging relative obscurity of camera but net or grid, as starting-point of picture-making.

    Dark room different invitation for something to emerge, no plotting action of positions. 'A VOICE comes to one in the dark. Imagine.' opening phrase of Company, Samuel Beckett, 1980. Good camera work!


    Photo finish lapse of time, deformation of shape. Some photographs, Cartier-Bresson for example, simply come out perfect shapes of synchronicity naked eye would never register.

    Photo finish slit of simultaneity rush across medium registering with precision shapes of speed bending body parts of different velocities out of proportion.

    Peder Severin Krøyer perfect photographic model to start from when painting his Ladies on Beach. Hugo Simberg used his camera to study aspects of picture already composed in his mind while Henri Cartier-Bresson explored geometries of unforced synchronicity, hence no interest in darkroom phase of emergence. Left to assistants what was heart of Caravaggio.


    Uniform underpinnings of gesture detectable to eye and ear: Cartier-Bresson Leonardo and Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 28, Op. 101. 


    Science stops at nothing less than arbitrary axiom: Shortest distance... and definitely firm as terra firma Give me a place to stand...move the whole world point where science resigns fundamentally flawed like vanishing-point of perspective. Duchamp Given... suggests nothing firm or indisputable but permanently variable: the waterfall. The waterfall affordance of endless variation no point of resignation. Background waterfall in study for 'Étant Donnés...' and Helga on Couch by Andrew Wyeth (cropped).


    Excellence of craft: Pygmalion marry his marble, buddhist monk lost in landscape he painted, portrait of Christ absorbed by Veronica's Veil (Zurbaran honoring, not diluting validity of origin). And people of Cycladian Archipelago whose first wooden figures xoana (xoanon) fallen down from sky reproduced in marble skillful craftsmen retaining validity pertaining to source cf. Michelangelo, throughout his career repeating dug up Torso di Belvedere, his carvings variations of earth giving birth.

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