July 2017
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Art Sharing #15: Norman Lindsay (traditional media painting & etching)


Norman Lindsay
(1879 - 1969)


I have to admit that my initial interest in Lindsay's works was the curvaceousness of the subjects (when I was practicing loving my body I hunted down images of women that looked somewhat like me in form to help expand what I saw as beautiful). But the more I've looked at zir work the more captivated I've been by the stories being told and even more than that, the expressions of the people. A lot of painters (and photographers!) of nudes have one favorite facial expression and that is what ALL of their models wear. Lindsay's subjects have a wide variety of facial expressions, one of which I've never seen in other work -- wild joy. Not just happiness, but the kind of fierce joy that throws all else to the wind.

There is a lot of sensuality/sexuality in zir work as well, an almost tangible sense of passion/desire -- and it feels genuine. Perhaps it is the facial expressions or maybe it's just the attitude of the pieces, but it's not lusterless sex-for-show which is what most art depicting sexual desire looks like to me. It feels like there is love or at least affection in it. Also, quite a few works look somewhat poly and queer to me (sadly only with females but still). A character will be holding hands with one person and kissing another, or two characters will kiss someone else at the same time. And there are several depictions of two women completely wrapped up in each other (a pleasant departure from the usual invite-the-viewer-to-join depictions of queer love/lust). And YET. Lindsay does not make nudity always sexual -- in some works it's just there.

There's also a fantastic nature to much of zir work, from simple metaphor to actual sphinxes and harpies and fauns, demons and dwarves, Deities and saints. Most of my favorites look like an illustration from a fairytale book that I'd really love to read.

Last but not least, ze seems to create somewhat genderqueer characters -- several who I thought on the first 10 glances were one sex turned out to be the other (or perhaps neither?) when I looked more carefully (when shrinking/cropping for this post).





Pearl Headdress

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Benevolence

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Dignity

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Nymphs in the Glade

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Rita 1940

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Spring

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Unknown Seas

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The Curtain

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Eros

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Revel

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Garden God

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Two Suns
(the laying-on-zir-belly one's body reminds me so much of mine!)

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Adolescence

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Beauty's Fortune

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Belinda's Reverie

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Delight

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The Dream Merchant

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Enter The Magicians
(the central figure looks so wicked, but in a pleasant way)

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Pool 1934

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Ragged Poet

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Spring Song

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Summer

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Under The Stars

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Undine

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Venus in Arcady

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Which Mask?

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Your Fate

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The Garden
(I think ze looks very much like me)

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Life In The Temple
(a nude female Jesus figure! something about the styling reminds me of Da Vinci's Last Supper)

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Our Earth

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Priestess to the Magi

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That Secret 1937

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(I think the one in the skirt is meant to be male -- either way, very androgynous)

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This Shrine

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Where Life Ascends

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Night's Frolic
(this reminds me so much of the Twelve Dancing Princesses)

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Death's Mask
(I love the contrast between those terrified by Death's mask and the two who see zir face -- one intrigued, the other delighted.

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Have Faith
(this one speaks to me of inspiration and beauty overcoming pain/anger/fear, even when it seems powerful and forceful. And of spring coming again, even if it is winter.)

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Love On Earth

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Desire ♥

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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.