Masterpiece Cover Up
About a month after I finished my Birth of Venus masterpiece for my client’s grand foyer ceiling, her mother came to visit. Her mom was of the opinion that the nudity was inappropriate for a family home and was concerned with what the neighbors might think. To resolve the family dispute, the client had me back out to cover Venus up. Since they already had a lot of gold accents in the décor, I chose a stylish gold lamé one piece, something Botticelli would surely have appreciated.
In order to paint the ceiling, I used up a portaledge, the slim cot used by rock climbers for overnight ledge sleeping and attached it to a pulley system the contractor installed. I decided to stay true to the “old masters” techniques, and I mixed pure pigments into an egg tempera base. An unexpected perk was that as paint drips fell back on to my face, I could just lick it off. Most days I was able to just skip lunch.
Nine Putti Reveal the Meaning of Life
In the library of the house, I created a replica of the centerpiece of a ceiling mural painted by Rafael in 1508, the Stanza della Signatura. Rafael originally created this ceiling mural in the papal library in 1508. In 1965, Pope Saint Paul VI had the ceiling meticulously relocated to its current location in the Vatican museum because he got annoyed with all the tourists traipsing through his office.
Rafael painted nine putti to represent the nine personalities of the Enneagram, which, as was confirmed in the Da Vinci Code, was used in Renaissance Italy to determine which children would be allowed to attend university. In fact, several Ivy Leagues are currently considering reviving the tradition in order to improve the fairness and transparency of their acceptance process.
I would like to digress a moment to appreciate the amazing contributions to the arts and sciences made by Leonardo da Vinci, despite the fact he did not receive a university degree in either one. He might be proud to learn that, without one of his most prescient inventions, there would be no such thing as helicopter parents. Helicopter babies, of course, made famous by their putti cousins, have been a cultural phenomenon since they were first sighted flying in a barley field near Florence in the mid 14th century.
The owner recently decided to put this modern palace on the market. Although it might be one of the more expensive routes to procure a “Morgan”, to entice the new buyer, I hid a puzzle that will unlock 9 bitcoin into the mural. In five years, the bitcoin will be worth more than the house itself so, all things considered, it would be a worthwhile investment.
I wanted to include a QR code in the mural so that guests at their next house party could shoot me a virtual tip, but the client felt that a QR code might clash with the floral print on Spring’s dress. We compromised by including my PayPal ID under my signature. As I have said many times before in this blog, creative collaboration is all about compromise.
Thanks again for following my work and I am wishing you very happy… April Fools.
P.S. In all seriousness, I loved this creative challenge and the team that made this project awesome. Thank you, Chiara, for coming all the way from Italy to help me with this masterpiece. Thank you Alan, for meticulously managing a million moving parts, and also Liz and Calvin of Concept Creations who transformed a whole house into a singular work of art. This team was wonderful to work with every step of the way.