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Jackson Pollock & Michelangelo

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Joseph Nechvatal reviews the exhibition Jackson Pollock: The Figure of the Fury at the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, on view through July 27, 2014.

Nechvatal writes: "The exhibition’s title, The Figure of the Fury, refers to Pollock in the act of painting as he moved around his canvases, while simultaneously alluding to the expression, 'fury of the figure' by the 16th-century art theorist and painter Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo (1584). Lomazzo pointed out that what bestowed furious qualities to a figure is a sensed motion similar to that of a flame; the same swirling motion that Michelangelo gave to his figures that is here assigned to Pollock." In this show, however, Nechvatal continues, the "immersive Pollock effect is here radically reversed — as we encounter his modest-in-scale work after a lengthy, massively engulfing walk through the Palazzo Vecchio itself, with its extravagant connected room after room of Mannerist Grotesque murals, ceiling paintings and stucco… Hence, while I found this modest show fairly uninteresting in terms of the Pollock-Michelangelo connection, I was flattened by the reversal of all-overness that we associate with Pollock. For that alone, I found this exhibition to be absolutely fascinating."

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