Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Last night I went to see the latest film adaptation of The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonard DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire.

The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was published in 1925 and though it is now lauded as one of the greatest works in American literature, Fitzgerald died at the age of forty-four in relative obscurity. It is a commentary on the American dream and the Jazz Age as well as a story of love, dreams, and of our perceptions of the past. Nothing is what it seems.

The film has received some mixed reviews, most notably the article written by New York Times film critic A.O. Scott.  The book is very dear to many and it seems that it's most recent film adaptation is one that people either love, or love to hate. Film adaptations of books are never easy.

Personally, I loved it.

Its conception, its design, the costume, the cast... it drew me in and I was entranced. Yes, sometimes the sequences were near spastic in their presentation, but Luhrmann created a fresh and imaginative version of the film. Had he done otherwise, the film would have simply been another hum-drum version of its predecessors. I also feel Luhrmann did well in presenting the brilliance of Fitzgerald's writing. Though I knew the story before I saw the film (and that it always causes me much heartache) I still had to hide welling tears towards the film's conclusion.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Jordan & Nick

Myrtle’s Party

Nick’s Cottage

Nick & Gatsby

Jordan & Tom

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A designer and his muse: Piero Fornasetti and Lina Cavalieri

Here is something I've been fixated with for the last while. Throughout the 20th century, Italian designer Piero Fornasetti used the same face as the template for more than three-hundred and fifty designs which are instantly recognizable as his work. The iconic designs were transferred to everyday items such as dinner plates. Below, you'll see just a few examples of these designs, which I'm drawn to for their whimsy and imagination.

They're just wonderful!

The 19th century Italian opera singer Lina Cavalieri served as Fornasetti's muse after he encountered her image in an old French magazine. 

From the Fornasetti site, we learn Fornasetti's reasoning with keeping Cavalieri's face as his template for so many designs.

Lina Cavalieri’s face, explained Piero Fornasetti, was another archetype – a quintessentially beautiful and classic image, like a Greek statue, enigmatic like the ‘Gioconda’ and therefore able to take shape into the idea that was slowly building in his mind. It was this formal, graphic appeal (rather than Lina Cavalieri’s celebrity) that demanded such loyalty and inspired the spontaneous and ceaseless creativity of Fornasetti. For him, this face became the ultimate enduring motif.

And to see photographs of her, who could question him?

Hers is a beauty not easily forgotten. (And those clothes!!)


via Beautiful Century
Lina Cavalieri, 1910s
[Submitted by agreyeyedgirl]

Picture of Lina Cavalieri