22 2017 Ekphrastic poem
Lady in Black
by Paul Robert Sanford
Style and elegance trump comfort in her pose
head turned sharply to the side to show her chiseled profile.
Wasp waisted from wearing iron corsets
which over time move the woman’s internal organs permanently.
With an impact on childbirth unknown to me.
One hand tightly and uncomfortably grips the table
to support the pose.
Note that she is thoroughly draped
but her fine white shoulders are exposed and the bodice dips across her bosom.
Although the pose seems elegant, the upper body is curiously detached from the lower,
giving a stiff rigid feel to the pose,
almost as though the flesh had been painted separately and the fabric lower parts filled in later
with all their shiny and elaborate folds and shadings.
Look closely at the unnatural pose of the right arm compared to the staight and unstraibned left.
The head is also turned in a way that might easily be uncomfortable, but elegance demands the pose.
The hair, piled on top of the head, is represented by the painter in a more haphazard manner
than the detailed shadings of the fabric, once again giving the feeling that we have
two paintings, possibly even by two different artists.