Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo’s Self Portrait
Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo (1538-1600)
A painter until blindness forced him to lay down his brush
at the age of thirty-three
His work had the quality of vaghezza
vagare to wander
in order to
His theory was a Renaissance form of pantheism
all living things animated by the same breath
Self-fashioning in the guise and attitude of Bacchus
The sylvan academicians welcomed Lomazzo into their club
the brotherhood of the Accademia della Val di Blenio
Dressed in the garb of a shepherd
the watering can, a golden escutcheon attached to his hat
a kind of emblem denoting the golden quality of wine and song
Is this an ironic stance?
A scholar, an artist, a theoretician
a gardener, a man between worlds.
The artist is not a director
but rather a magician
conscious that the universe is governed
by natural laws
which at times seem arbitrary.
Such a universe is made visible
through the figuration
of one’s own likeness.
Carol Barbour is a poet, visual artist and curator. Her work has been published by Transverse Journal, Sein und Werdun, The Fiddlehead, Toronto Quarterly, Impulse, and Matriart. She holds an MA in art history from University of Toronto and an AOCA from the Ontario College of Art. A collection of poetry is forthcoming from Guernica Editions.
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