Botticelli had made her a star, she knew. Back when painters were figuring how they might keep in the safe line of Christian paintings, he came out of left field and painted her, a goddess of Greek and Roman myth. He gave her no over-stiff limbs, wooden postures, subtle church messaging. He put her on canvas like an ideal woman. He left no doubt she was female either, painting her nude. Top exposed to the world. Long, beautiful limbs uncovered. Hair streaming in the wind. She showed those end-of-the-age medievals how glorious the body can be.
Andy admired her just like the first fans did. He meant only to touch up her image in light of the centuries. "Your picture has gained some prominence, let's admit," he told her. "I'd like it to show. You're owed it." She said she'd have no problem with the touch up. In fact, she thought it might be good insurance. Doesn't one need to be seen in a new light every so often to refresh one's celebrity?
Andy surprised her with the re-make, a poster print. For one, he showed her only from the shoulder up. Gone was the body that had drawn popular wonder. He got rid of those others in the pic, Zephyr, Chloris, and the Hora, whose close attention had made her seem the right object for social interest. He also made the background solid evergreen. At first, she worried the changes might turn people off. I mean she was left suddenly alone in the picture. It seemed strange somehow. But she gave the print a more sober look and admitted that Andy's close-up had done some justice for the details of her face. The viewer could see easily now that coy lustre in her left eye and the intelligence and care in the right. Andy underscored those features, in fact, the way he'd put a loop of green in the one eye to set it off from the other. The poster print had turned her into a personal study, really. And didn't that play well to the modern taste for psychology? This didn't seem a bad thing to her.
At the same time, Andy left no doubt that still she was vivacious and attractive in her way. He managed it through his maestro colouring. The lines of her brows, eyes, nose, he made red as her hair. The stress on red was too emphatic to miss. It conveyed energy. It created an image for adulation, akin to models in a magazine ad. What else for a goddess that fired passions? she thought and smiled. But then to have the green ribbon in her hair on top of all the red effect was brilliant. The green stood out like neon, advertising her as flashy and hip. Come look at the deity of love, it told the world, her rich hair streaked by lines of green and yellow, lifting in the wind.
The image worked. She was set to rock another century of art lovers. Thank you, Andy, she thought, her heart warm with gratitude.
Norbert Kovacs lives and writes in Hartford, Connecticut. He loves visiting art museums, especially the Met in New York. He has published stories recently in Blink-Ink, The Ekphrastic Review, and MacQueen's Quinterly. His website: www.norbertkovacs.net.
The Ekphrastic Review
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