Goat, Feet, Mirror, Stairs

i Goat ii Feet iii Mirror iv Stairs

  • William Holman Hunt, ‘Scapegoat’ (1856)
  • Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Monogram’ (1959)
  • John Everett Millais, ‘Isabella’ (1849)
  • Stanley Spencer, ‘The Last Supper’ (1920)
  • Edward Burne-Jones, ‘Mirror of Venus’ (1875)
  • Salvador Dali, ‘Narcissus’ (1937)
  • Edward Burne-Jones, ‘The Golden Stairs’ (1880)
  • Marcel Duchamp, ‘Nude Descending a Staircase #2’ (1912)
  1. I’m not a fan of Burne-Jones, but the Mirror of Venus is one of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen. To come back to what I was saying about the legitimization of comparison (or juxtaposition?), I get your point with Dali, but I hate Dali. How much does that affect my viewing of the Burne-Jones? Also, great choice of goats!

    • Sian White said:

      Well, I suppose it helps to begin with an objective view 😉

    • Sian White said:

      Actually it’s a formal, visual transition. The essence is within the individual juxtapositions (Holman Hunt/Rauschenberg, Millais/Spencer, etc.) while the transition from one juxtaposition to the next is down to a formal tie, albeit a rather small one.

      Animal > Horizontal Symmetry > Vertical Symmetry > Verticality/Form

      I realise how pretentious it all sounds. It’s not meant to.

  2. But some kind of association would have to operate there, even subconsciously, no? – even if the tie is formal. Also, the horizontal/vertical relationship was not immediately legible. Was it meant to be “read” from top to bottom? It made more sense (to me) from bottom to top.

    • Sian White said:

      That’s really interesting, I suppose it doesn’t HAVE to be read from top to bottom.

      I’d love to hear how you read it bottom to top, though.

  3. If I have to think about it, I would say standing/moving > kneeling/standing still > legs/feet (as components of the previous movements). That would make the goat the irrational crowing of that order. Animal as opposed to human? A subversion of our expectations?

    • Sian White said:

      I like it.

  4. Amy said:

    Even if just on an aesthetic level, I really like this

    • Sian White said:

      Thank you!

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