Not So Nude palette from Stila
April 17, 2012
I spotted this palette at Ulta and since it's been a while since I've purchased any Stila girl palettes, I bought it. A brunette girl wearing nothing but a short ruffly skirt (underwear?) poses against a blush pink background.
What I liked most was the quote that was included. Finally, Stila makes a return to attributed quotes AND uses one that's very apt for the particular palette.
British poet and printmaker William Blake (1757-1827) is one of the most well-known artists from the Romantic era. Heavily influenced by the work of Raphael, Michelangelo and Dürer, the subject of most of his works were Biblical figures and Christian allegories (you might remember The Great Red Dragon played a big part in the movie Hannibal). At the same time, his poems and other writings demonstrate his contempt for organized religion.
The quote above is of the many scribblings on the edges of an etching Blake made of the famous Laocoön, "the Greek statue unearthed in Rome that inspired Michelangelo's heroic depiction of the naked body, inspiring in turn the rebirth of the nude in Western art." You can see it in the upper right:
According to scholar Seymour Howard, Blake had conflicting views of nudity in his own work and in art in general. Here's an excerpt from Howard's essay "William Blake: The Antique, Nudity and Nakedness: A Study in Idealism and Regression":
"The early Romantics equated the youthful and seemingly unselfconscious nudity of antiquity with health, innocence, purity, life-giving force, and unfettered freedom - in short, natural virtue...[but] for all of Blake's use of the nude and for his confessed admiration of its powers, he often avoided the depiction of total nakedness..." The author concludes that there were 4 different approaches to the nude in Blake's art - he "presented nakedness with equanimity, evasiveness, exaggeration, or transformation". Seems Stila is equally conflicted. Releasing a palette with "nude" colors and including a nude-positive quote, but calling the palette Not So Nude and making sure the Stila girl is at least partially covered.
On a stylistic note, I do wonder whether the rays on the front cover of the Stila palette drew their inspiration from Blake as well. Some "ray-diant" examples (harhar):
The Angel of the Revelation, 1803-1805:
(image from metmuseum.org)
Jacob's Ladder, ca. 1800:
(image from keithpp.wordpress.com)
Annunciation to the Shepherds, 1809:
God Blessing the Seventh Day, 1805:
I guess we'll never know for sure, but it's interesting to consider. In any case, I enjoyed that Stila put a little more thought into the quote.
What do you think, both of the palette and of Blake's work?