Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kanye and Kim, Joseph Ducreux Style

One of my favorite Memes is the Joseph Ducreux Meme. Take a current song and translate it into words more fitting for the 1700s, or as Joseph Ducreux, the man who made this awesome self-portrait might have said them. Like this:



It took me a minute to get the lyrics on this one. It's Gold Digger by Kanye West. More on that in a minute. (Oh, and the lyric from Kanye's song is: "Now I ain't saying she's a gold digger, but's she ain't messing with no broke n****s.")

First, Joseph Ducreux. Joseph, Baron Ducreux (June 26, 1735 – July 24, 1802) was a French portrait painter, pastelist, miniaturist, and engraver, who was a successful portraitist at the court of Louis XVI of France, and was able to resume his career after the French Revolution. His less formal portraits show an interest in expanding the range of facial expressions beyond those of official portraiture.


Ducreux specialized in portrait painting, and his early portraits were done in pastel, and include those done of the connoisseurs Pierre-Jean Mariette, the Comte de Caylus and Ange-Laurent de la Live de July. These works may have been copies after De La Tour. From 1760 onward, Ducreux kept a list of his works, but throughout his lifetime, he rarely signed his paintings. Thus, many of his works remain erroneously attributed to other artists.

Other portraits by Ducreux include those done of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and Maria Theresa of Austria, as well as those mentioned above of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Ducreux also made several well-known self-portraits in the 1780s and 1790s, including one (now in the collection of the Getty Center in Los Angeles; c. 1783) in which he painted himself in the middle of a large yawn. In another, Portrait de l'artiste sous les traits d'un moqueur (c. 1793, Louvre;), the artist guffaws and points at the viewer.
As evidenced by these self-portraits, Ducreux attempted to break free from the constraints of traditional portraiture. Interested in physiognomy, the belief that the study and judgment of a person's outer appearance, primarily the face, reflects their character or personality, he attempted to capture the personality of his subjects, as well as his own, through his warm and individualistic works. Le Discret (ca. 1790), for example, is the portrait of a man asking for silence. His expression is timorous, his finger is pressed against his mouth in alarm as he silently demands discretion or prudence.

In this, these portraits recall the tronies of Dutch Golden Age painting, and the "character heads" of his contemporary the Austrian sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1783), some of whose busts were self-portraits with extreme expressions.

Now, Kanye and Kim. I have long thought that Kanye West has made a tremendous amount of money on a very small amount of talent and a lot of bravado. Good for him, I have no problem with that. The more outrageous he gets, the more he spends on stupid things, the sooner we'll see him in the MC Hammer school of broke ex-rappers. (Did you see MC Hammer hanging out with Psy at the New Year's Eve thing? I loved it when Anderson Cooper said "Oh wow, that was MC Hammer? Really?" after they'd left, (and after Kathy Griffin had told Psy he must have money falling out of his butt).

Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, is just a talentless skank in my humble opinion. She came to fame with a sex tape, which no one would have cared about except that that name "Kardashian" rang a bell thanks to her dead father's work as a "famous" lawyer. Then, once we learned that she is the step sister of then-famous Brody Jenner and step-daughter of Bruce Jenner, and that Ray J was in it too, we watched it again. By then, her OMG is that woman evil mother Kris had their show ready to sell and the rest is what we're stuck with.

Now, obviously Kim is not a gold digger because she now has money falling out of her own (huge) butt, but she's obviously looking for someone famous to date to keep her in the spotlight now that their ratings are plunging. Along comes Mr. Crazy himself, and voila, we get to watch this trainwreck happen. Personally I can't wait.

Thanks guys, America needs Court Jesters, Kanye and Kim, thanks for volunteering, it will be awesome watching you guys crash and burn!

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