Where have you gone, Caravaggio…
Saturday November 19th 2011, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Family

(With apologies to Simon and Garfunkle on the title.)

Art Museum. Caravaggio exhibit. A painting of St Jerome by an artist of Caravaggio’s time and influence, and I said to Jef, my sister-in-law, Come look at this one. (I didn’t quite say, what’s wrong with this picture.)

I had been taught to see this detail by an art historian I took a class from in college: I told her, Look at his extended arm

(What about it…?)

That’s a female arm, not male. Women’s arms have a distinct change of direction between the elbow and tips of the fingers, as if designed to cradle a baby; men’s lower arms, on the other hand, are by comparison straight from elbow to wrist.

(How many of you are holding out your arms and looking right now…)

12 Comments so far
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Ummm, I just did. And I dragged The Boy over to look at his arm too! Now I’m off to look for art work…

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 11.20.11 @ 12:11 am

My husband always joked that the curve in the female arm was so that she could reach into her husband’s pocket for cash. That’s when I would take my gracefully curved female arm and smack him upside his head! LOL!

Comment by Jody 11.20.11 @ 6:49 am

Yeah, you got me!

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 11.20.11 @ 7:11 am

Nope, mine is covered by a sweater, can’t see it and too cold to take it off. 🙂

Comment by afton 11.20.11 @ 8:06 am

That’s what the artist gets for having the wrong gender for a model.

I love Jody’s comment!

Comment by Don Meyer 11.20.11 @ 10:25 am

i cant tell on my arm. i need a photo for reference.

Comment by Tola 11.20.11 @ 3:53 pm

Interesting. Maybe Caravaggio’s mind wasn’t on his painting that morning?

Comment by Erica 11.20.11 @ 6:49 pm

Fascinating. Wish you – or your father? – had been when I was going to museums regularly! That’s the kind of stuff that makes art truly fascinating for me.

Comment by Channon 11.21.11 @ 8:44 am

not only my own arm, but people in the office! Men vs. women, and there is a difference!

Comment by Sandra 11.21.11 @ 9:33 am

I’m curious — which of the paintings was it — St Jerome Writing or St Jerome Meditating —

(and can I have you do critique on my art work?!)

Comment by Bev 11.22.11 @ 9:35 am

oh fine; now I will have to go to the museum and see for myself

Comment by lynn 11.25.11 @ 1:50 am

You teach a lot – sometimes by sending me to search the internet to seek more information! The carrying angle is indeed reported to be around 173 degrees in men and 167 in women (Steele and Tomlinson, J Anat. 1958 April; 92(Pt 2): 315–317).

Challenge: work “carrying angle” into your conversation today!

Comment by twinsetellen 11.25.11 @ 7:05 am

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