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Posts tagged ‘pontormo’

a good cry

There’s a lot to cry about these days.  The headlines are lurid, devastating.  Bad news after more bad news.  And it’s increasingly hard to be shocked by it, or to feel something real.

I don’t cry often.  When I do, it’s not pretty.  I watch movies where the heroine is crying and her face is all soft and sympathetic and lovely in its vulnerability, and I think, I want to cry like that.  But I don’t.  When I cry, I look like a monster whose face is melting off.

I don’t cry when I’m happy.  I didn’t cry when my kids were born.  I still feel badly about it.  I felt love for the little goobers, but mostly I was shell-shocked, as I’d been throughout both pregnancies.  I barely knew where I was.  Added to the fact that I had an unplanned c-section with ten-pound Finn, and then another c-section with Tate, it all leaves me feeling like I should have a third kid to have a childbirth do-over, with the pushing and the tears of joy, and all the rest of it.

Tom’s dialed into his emotions and secure in his manhood and what that means is he’s not scared of a good cry.  Sometimes I’ll come downstairs and find him sitting alone in front of the TV, crying.  It might be Notting Hill.  Or a Red Wings win.  My Dog Skip.  The ESPN special about the Fab Five.  The Biggest Loser.  Love Actually.  I’ve seen Tom cry in front of Love Actually every December for the last twelve years.  A particularly devastating episode of CSI: Special Victims Unit.  The Olympics.  GOD, the Olympics.  He cries nonstop during the Olympics.

I envy Tom.  I wish I was more in touch with my emotions.  I guess it’s not crying that I crave, but the depth of feeling that leads to crying.

I once stepped into a small, dark church in Florence, put a coin into the light box, and was wrapped in the otherworldly glow of this.


As far as art goes, this painting is really uncool. It’s by Pontormo, and he is a Mannerist, and one thing you learn very quickly as an Art History major is that you can’t ever admit to liking Mannerist art. Caravaggio made the Baroque ok.  But not Mannerism.  I mean, you can’t even like it ironically. It’s like saying you like Nickelback or Juicy Couture. I’m no scholar, but what I learned in my High Renaissance classes is this: Mannerism took the beauty and refinement of the Renaissance and forced it into grotesque places, by elongating proportions and using lots of pastel.

But man, you can’t control what speaks to you. Standing there in that cold, dark church, and seeing this thing as people must have seen it in the 16th century when people died young and often, I felt a rustle in the cold air around me. I felt religious. I felt MOVED. I sobbed my eyes out.  Who knows why.  But it felt amazing.

I cried for an ugly painting.  Why can’t I cry for something real?  I must be pent up, overdue.

I eagerly await the deluge.