Well, we finally have a source for that Hello Kitty vodka seen here last spring. As suspected, it’s a fabrication; as not suspected, it’s part of a collection by artist Anna Utopia Giordano, who specializes in messing with her audience’s heads digitally. There’s also a Barbie vodka and a Lego tequila, and now I understand why the top of the bottle was cropped out.
A more recent project, “Venus,” is on exhibit at Museum Het Valkhof in the Netherlands. You all know Venus: she’s your fire, what’s your desire? And she’s been portrayed, often in paintings long considered masterpieces, generally naked as the day she was born and blessed with a certain sufficiency of flesh generally incomprehensible in these days when Beautiful and Emaciated walk arm in lath-thin arm. What to do? Giordano to the rescue, applying to the goddess the very same Photoshop techniques routinely used in fashion magazines. In Botticelli’s half-shell work, for instance, Venus has gotten an obvious tummy tuck and smoothing of her thighs and upper arms, while going up about half a cup size.
Then again, not all Renaissance painters rendered women as, um, fleshy. Jonathan Jones points out in the Guardian:
[T]here are Renaissance nudes that are just as skinny as any fashion designer could demand. The German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder portrayed strikingly thin and narrow-waisted nudes. His Venus believed you could never be too bony or wear too many hats. But he was a close friend of Martin Luther, and believed the body to be a vessel of sin. Those sensual Italians had a more abundant and generous idea of beauty.
Peter Paul Rubens was not available for comment.