the izards


“Oh, thank God, an actual post that suggests scholarly knowledge, not just a meme praying for the weekend.”
“Christ, Alice, that’s not what it says. Can’t you read?!

You know all those bloggers that have reached a measly 314K following, and they all suggest, “Oh, just write about what you love! The masses and Madewell sponsorships will magically accrue!”

Well, a.) I’m still waiting, Madewell…and I can totally rock denim better than weighted down mothers…and b.) these women all have a point. Kind of.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about the visual interpretation of a work, and I really miss doing that. To be honest, I think I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of really cool, quippy one liners (thx, thefatjewish and daddyissues_!) and while funny sporatically, it’s not what drove this blog to its fruition and inevitable success.

I digress. Let’s get to the artwork.

The presentation of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Izard in John Copley’s over-sized portrait is…overstated, to say the least. I mean the lush tapestry, references to Rome (the Colosseum, the sculpture) all suggest not only *total* well-traveled luxury, but also total nonchalant airs of intelligence and culture. Read: Sophisticated AF.

What strikes me as odd in this image, however, is this sculpture sittin’ pretty right smack in the middle of the table. Scholarship suggests it’s of Orestes and Electra, which (HELLO?!!) is the weirdest couple to present between husband and wife.

Orestes and Electra were brother and sister, and plotted to kill their mom and her lover to avenge the death of their father, King Agamemnon. Seems like a pretty messed up relationship to put in between ’em, no? Like, we can’t get a more nurturing couple in Greek mythology to suggest fidelity and love?

I mean, the answer is clearly no. It’s Greek mythology, after all. Everything’s like, rape and shower sex.

Anyway, after all this staging, the Izards didn’t even own the painting! They continued their travels, Copley kept the work, and then exhibited it under the bland title “A Conversation.” Copley’s widow then sold the work to the Izards’ grandson in 1824. It remained in the family ’til the MFA in Boston bought it in the early twentieth century.

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