THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST
Monday, October 19, 2009
Just yesterday, I told Eric to swing by, we could ride the bicycles over to Seabright Brewery and have a brew and a bite to eat. Exercise, and a beer as a reward! The smell of the ocean...sunny Sunday afternoon!
Now I am recording this event here, because of an insight I gleaned into Gibby, by this conversation with Eric, who is an illustrator. He has a blog called "stream of consciousness comics." Eric often carries around a very small sketchbook, and at a whim will begin to draw (you can see it in the photo on the right). Here was our conversation:
"Let me seeeee Eric (I take his little sketchbook.) Oh poor lady..." (a sketch of a woman from a place he had just frequented a few days before, lots of old fasioned ringlets in her hair, and lines on her face.) I continued...."Did you see the sketch of me that my cousin did thats on the blog, I thought it made me look like the wickedwitchofthewest, skrawny mouth and absurd hair..." Eric responds. "Yea....thats why I don't like drawing women ... as much as men." I say ...."Right. Women need... (we struggle for the right word) ...more....flattery !"
I thought about that for a few moments. "Hey, I just had an INSIGHT! Maybe thats why Gilbert Stuart didn't draw as many women as men. I always thought that maybe one of the reasons for this is that...he is gay!" Eric responds, "Any evidence?"
I said, "Not really. I mean, you never know. He DID have 12 children. And just that he drew Sam Meeker with such love. But at this time you know, this was a big struggle for portrait artists, the question of how true to the sitter to be in a portrait, particularly if the female was not incredibly attractive. Men are less sensitive to this point. And Stuart was very stringent in wishing to portray his sitters as ACCURATELY as possible. So maybe he was bored with the reactions of women who were (often?) not entirely pleased with the results, expecting something more beautiful than... the reality....Maybe thats why he did so many more portraits of men!"
Well, and because of course, men had more of the "Wherewithal" .
at 4:54 PM