"LADY WITH ERMINE" ART CLASS ASSIGNMENT
My art instructor Miha Sarani at the Kirkland Art Center assigned us to base an artwork on Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Lady with Ermine”.
Miha, who holds a MFA from the University of Washington and is an art historian, says that copying the masters is a time honored art student exercise.
The portrait was made in 1470 of Cecilia Gallerani, the girlfriend of a duke who commissioned the work. Leonardo added a white ermine to the portrait because it was the duke’s namesake.
To complete the assignment I made four collages of the lady.
First, I inserted a photocopied face of Cecilia in a collage of anime and found paper artifacts.
Second, I enlarged a photocopy and the painting and cut it up for collage. To add interest I included two ermines.
Third, I took the new collage and used it for a lighthearted version of my own.
Lady with Ermines by GJ Gillespie. Mixed media collage. 17 x 15 inches.
Collage with tissue, painted papers, graphite, charcoal, dyed fabric, acrylic paint, watercolor, colored pencil, cotton bedsheets and spray paint.
When I showed instructor Miha the piece he said that the figure reminded him of the British comedy show Monty Python's opening which has a similar bulging eyed figure.
Finally, I uploaded the DaVinci image from the internet, pasted it in a Word document and reversed it so that the Lady is looking in the opposite direction. Then I digitally elongated the figure and copied it by hand, leaving out the ermine this time.
"Cecilia" by GJ Gillespie. 24 x 17.5. Mixed media collage.
I set the portrait on an old abstract collage which I didn’t think was good enough to save, adding bits of yellow painted newspaper and gray tissue. Her orange dress is made of tissue and the blue smock is dyed fabric. Graphite, colored pencil, acrylic, watercolor and cheesecloth.
I titled the final piece "Cecilia" after the Simon and Garfunkel song.
Cecilia, you're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to come home
Come on home
She loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing.
Check out the art and music of Miha Sarani at his webpage.