Monday, May 21, 2012


The cover of the book dedicated to the study of ugliness, with an anthology of texts, illustrations and comments by the author, Umberto Eco: " On Ugliness" forebodes the 400 plus pages dedicated to the subject.
Excerpts from ancient texts or Ian Fleming's " Live and Let Die", paintings from Mathias Grunewald or Otto Dix, the concept of ugliness is analyzed, dissected in fifteen chapters, covering the Classical World until today.

Call it morbid, disgusting, horrible, perverse, sickening, gruesome... there are not enough adjectives to qualify the horrors depicted by visuals and texts. The comments by Eco help interpret the significance of these. The author, a scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge gives an aesthetic, historical, scientific and philosophical outlook on ugliness and after digesting this book, the reader will have a grasp on the subject.
It appears that ugliness has a wider range of representation than beauty.
I just visited the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and found two paintings which could be added to the illustrations.

"History of Beauty" is another book from Umberto Eco.

photographs by the author
"Judgment Day", John McCrady, 1938, permanent collection Ogden Museum of Southern Art
"Two Ladies", Benny Andrews, 1962, permanent collection Ogden Musem of Southern Art

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