Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jusepe de Ribera


I have had many dreams in which either I have a full beard, or a woman friend of mine has a beard, and it never seems unusual or odd in the dream. Just normal. My old friend Carlo Pittore first showed me this painting by Jusepe de Ribera. Any of you out there familiar with this image?

8 comments:

Sarah said...

No! And I had to do a bit of a double take as I became familiar with it! What a strange image. I wonder if the makers of Meet The Fockers have seen it?!

Martha Miller said...

Hi Sarah! I wouldn't be surprised! :*)

Jo-an Jacobus said...

I've meet a woman with a beard. It's a striking thing to see. I'd like to say I'm immediately easy with it but I find myself wanting to stare and ask about it. I don't have day to day contact with her but see her about once a year. She's intelligent, seeming kind and gentle. I don't know anything about her day to day life but I wonder. Does she have a family? What does she do for work? She's middle aged, like me.

Martha Miller said...

Hi Jo-an!

Yeah, I wonder if I had the capacity to grow a beard if I would choose to shave? Or go through electrolosis? I think my ego is too entrenched in the cultural "norm" to celebrate and embrace having a beard...
I have a friend who is transgendered - I met him when he was a woman, and saw him regularly as he was going through hormone treatments and started to grow facial hair. He of course was delighted when this happened! To have that happen naturally for someone who would welcome it would be a boon! Gender identity is such an interesting topic...

Don Gray said...

Not only is the image of a bearded person nursing bizarre, don't you think the placement of the breast is also very strange? It seems a little too high and almost centered on his/her chest.

Do you know the background on this painting? Why did Ribera paint it?

Martha Miller said...

yes, it's a uni-boob! i don't know anything about this painting! it's a mystery! would make a good research project!

lauren said...

I am a female who can grow a beard (chin, cheeks, under chin and neck hair) I've been that way since I was about 16, and they at the time said it was because I was Italian and more likely to be that way...I was tested for things like polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism, which are all conditions that have hirsuitism (the name for the condition of being oddly hairy) as a symptom. After some weight gain I'm being tested for those things now. My younger sister has the same problem, so it might be heriditary. I used to shave, and tried electrolosis for a long time, but now I pluck them all out. It's a bit painful and hard to keep up with, but I don't know how else to deal with it. It's too thick and dark to be bleached.
My fiance doesn't mind though, because he's awesome.

Martha Miller said...

hi lauren

after significant weight gain, my neice was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. she has dark patches of skin on her chin - noy sure if she also has facial hair - wouldn't be surprised. it's interesting that being italian might be a factor for a female to grow facial hair. on the flip side, there are some men who have no facial hair.
i love your engagement photos!! beautiful!!!