Can an art parody borrow more than just the recollection of an original image from another work of art?
Surely a lava lamp and the glow-in-the-dark poster of a marijuana leaf are aesthetic. Right? A lava lamp may seem beautiful or tasteful to some, but perhaps not aesthetic. Aesthetics is actually a branch of philosophy just like ethics, logic, or politics. It does, however, concern opinions on visual art though. To say something is artistic, beautiful, or even tasteful is aesthetic.
This art parody by Dan Cretu of David by Michelangelo (1575-1564) might be an example of aesthetics. When one looks at the art parody of Michelangelo’s David (1501-1504) they recall the original image. The bubble gum modernizes it wrapping it into the realm of Contemporary art. Cretu’s work is both artistic and encompasses the original beauty of Michelangelo’s artworks. Dan Creu not only steals an artistic icon but something poetic with his statue of David.
This art parody is of the head of the famous tall, strong, and curly-haired David standing in his renowned contrapposto pose. He stands as he has for centuries holding his sling over his shoulder by the strength of his large hands. The white marble of the statue sits in the center of a deep and still sea of blue. Dan Cretu has also added a bubble of gum just over the lips of David making it appear that he’s about to pop the orb of pink chewing gum.
Dan Cretu is a beautiful and masterful thief. Dan Cretu’s David does something every art parody should. This image forces the viewer to think about what came before it. The image forces them to recall in their mind Michelangelo’s sculpture, David. This is the textbook definition of an art parody. A good art parody will not only borrow and manipulate something but the viewer has to have a previous knowledge of what’s being stolen from the original. This sort of theft can be important in art and how the viewer interprets it.
Can a mastermind thief be a master of fine arts as well? Dan Cretu transcends this stolen image into his own art parody by adding the bright pink bubble gum. Surely Cretu is using an image of a sculpture that is not his, but he’s modifying it in a way that he, the artist, sees fit. This is what makes this image his own. But Cretu is also adding content, theme, and dialogue… though be it a sticky one. Most importantly, this is what makes this image art.
But what’s really happening here is the beauty. The most important thing borrowed from Michelangelo’s David is the poetic beauty. Vasari said that, “After seeing this no one need wish to look at any other sculpture or the work of any other artist” (Vasari’s Biography of Michelangelo). Dan Cretu is taking something already appealing and comparing it with the elegantly contrasted subtle pink of the bubble and soft blue of the background. No matter the ambiguity of aesthetics, David is absolutely stunning in its allure and Cretu only amplifies this. He borrows from the original, creates masterful fine art from it, and makes it into another stunningly beautiful image.
“Vasari’s Biography of Michelangelo.” SUNY Oneonta Planetarium, www.oneonta.edu/faculty/farberas/arth/arth213/michelangelo_vasari.html.
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