April Fool's Blawg Review Appendix 2008
"Theatre makes strange bedfellows,
and not just after the opening night party."

Women Beset by Fools

Many thanks to all those who linked to or visited Tuesday's April Fool's Blawg Review Appendix.  That post provided the largest boost this site's traffic has seen since the last time someone put the "goddess of folly" in to a crossword clue.  Most gratifying, I assure you.

The seeds for the AFBRA's Punchinello theme were unexpectedly sown last week during a visit to The Getty with our eldest son.  The official reason for the trip was to take in the big California Video show, but one of the reliable strengths of the Getty lies in its revolving menu of small, specialized one-room exhibitions.  Just now, the Getty is celebrating ten years on its hill above the Sepulveda Pass with small showings of items added during the decade to three of its specialized collections: photographs, manuscripts, and drawings.

The selection of drawings is surprisingly fool-centric.  Among them is G B Tiepolo's 1731 "Punchinellos approaching a woman" ("on an especially lascivious and even sinister outing" say the curators) which I featured in the AFBRA. 

On the opposite wall from those nosy Venetians you will find this anonymous Design for a Quatrefoil with a Castle, a Maiden Tempted by a Fool, a Couple Seated by a Trough, and a Knight and His Lover Mounted on a Horse (ca. 1475-1490), after the Master of the Housebook:


This is a preparatory drawing for a stained glass window.  There is no indication whether the window itself was ever completed, or whether it still exists somewhere in Germany.  I would suppose not. 

Let's move in closer to the critical panel, shall we?


I like this one very much, and a key reason for my fondness becomes plain when you consider the Getty's description of the panel:

[A] maiden, accompanied by an eager fool, promenades through a forest.

We eager fools in forests must needs be watched.  (That maiden could learn a good deal from my wife about dealing with such suitors, especially if she chooses to keep him.)  This fool may be somewhat lascivious, and in danger of stepping upon or tripping over his lady love's gown, but he does not seem particularly sinister.  I am, however, rather concerned for his safety, as there appears to be an unknown assailant lurking behind him among the trees. 

This fool and his fellows from the Getty drawing collections are on display until May 4.


As part of its 10-year observance, the Getty hosts a weblog -- "A Different Lens" -- centered on professional and public reaction to the Center, its site and activities.   A recent post there features a nifty selection of photos from Flickr that show off the range of visual and textural stimuli to be found on the Getty grounds.   They make a nice addition to Rick's shots from last October; unlike Rick, none of these photographers captured the legendary semi-transparent child.


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