Art Critcism: Rodeo Cowboy With A Mona Lisa SmilePosted: May 9, 2012
The art series rages on with another reader submitted painting.
All I know is that this painting comes from a restaurant. Given the presence of a cow and its boy, I think we can assume it is hanging in a steak house. It could be in a seafood restaurant, but I think that a painting of a rodeo would only hang in the most twisted of seafood joints.
That’s A Lot Of Bull
Here we have a painting of a cowboy riding a bull. I presume he is participating in a rodeo, but he could be using the animal for transportation. There isn’t really a lot of background in the painting to put the activity of the bull and his rider into perspective.
The bull is a bit out of proportion. Yes, the bull’s back-end is farther away from the viewer. You’d expect it to appear smaller. In this case, it is far smaller. By my calculations, for the bull’s hindquarters to appear that small the animal would have to be in the neighborhood of twenty-six feet long.
It strikes me that even as he kicks his hindquarters in the air, the bull’s face is the essence of bovine serenity. The presence of a man on his back isn’t the emotional experience it is for other bulls. Serenity is the bond between this animal and his rider.
The cowpoke looks out of the painting with a placid gaze that doesn’t match what you’d expect to see from someone perched atop a bucking bull. He and the bull do not look bothered by their situation. One rides on the others back. The other tries to buck the one off his back. It’s what they do, day after day; there’s no need to get excited about it.
Examine the cowboy’s Mona Lisa smile. Like Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece, the smile in this painting leaves me with the impression that the cowboy has a secret. Maybe he knows the fix is in and he’s going to win the rodeo. Maybe he knows what the Mona Lisa is smiling about. Whatever the reason, the smile doesn’t match the fight or flight reaction I believe the body would impose on anyone in this situation.
Perhaps the smile tips off that this painting is a DaVinci. The work has many of the stylistic traits of the other works of Melissa DaVinci, though without seeing the painting it is hard to know if it is a copy.
Just When You Think It Can’t Get Weirder
What’s more bizarre than a placid cowboy riding a twenty-six foot long bull? How about the artist’s decision to paint in what appear to be two sea anemones, a bell-shaped one near the cowboy’s right hand and another multi-branched one near the cow’s left shoulder?
I’ve been assured that this is not any sort of camera flash reflection, nor is it the work of a vandal. They are part of the artist’s vision.
Throwing a sea anemone is not a cool way to express emotion at any sporting event, even a rodeo. Even an experienced analyst like me can’t explain the presence of these ocean creatures in this scene. Perhaps it is another sad example of painting after a couple doses of Ny-Quil.
A piece of fine art like this should be carefully placed. I’m not sure where it should be hung, but I do think it is not appropriate for anyplace where food is served. I would be too distracted by it to eat.
My thanks to the anonymous art lover who photographed and sent me this painting to critique. In your travels, if you see fine art that needs to be criticized, please whip out your phone, shoot a photo and email it to me. I’ll appreciate it very much.
- Rodeo Clowns, Boy Bands and a Few Things That Bulls Hate (idiotprufs.com)