I was reading one of Mallory Ortberg’s posts on The Toast and I stumbled across this painting.
Let’s just . . . let’s just soak in this image for a minute.
I didn’t know what is the sweet, ever-loving fuck was happening in this photo, so I just stared at it for about 16 hours, focusing particularly on the face that Miley Cyrus-horse is making.
Then I looked it up, because all things had ceased to have meaning. Sometimes you stare into the horse and sometimes the horse stares back into you.
Turns out, this painting is aaaaaaall about female orgasm, which suddenly made all the sense in the world. The painting is called Frenzy of Exultations, or otherwise just known as Frenzy, and it was rather scandalously created in 1893 by the Polish artist Władysław Podkowiński.
Apparently the concept for the painting was refined as the artist went through some drama in his romantic life. According to Wikipedia, “In his vision, Podkowiński elevates erotic ecstasy to an absolute value, regarding it, in accordance with the psychologism current for that time, as the cosmic power and determinant of the human condition.”
I haven’t a fucking clue what this means. Help me, I can’t art, and I most certainly can’t art when a horse is looking at me like that. Make it stop.
Regardless, people got the message that something profound and sexy and scandalous was happening, and his painting earned oodles of money for the museum in which it was displayed. However, he wasn’t able to find a buyer for the painting. I’m sure it was one of those ‘let’s go look at it in the museum and be indignant, but also maybe a little titillated, but never admit it, and certainly not admit it through purchasing the painting, gross’ things.
Come on, fuckos, you know you want that in your front parlor. If for no other reason than because Aunt Mildred will never visit again.
Anyway, about a month into the painting’s display at the museum, Podkowiński came in and slashed his own painting with a knife. The artist, who was very ill, then died within the year, leading some people to speculate that his death was a suicide and his slashing of the painting was the result of being spurned by the woman whom inspired it and is likely depicted in it.
(or maybe he was spurned by the horse? I don’t judge)
The painting was restored after his death. If I’ve learned one thing from reading the Charlie Mortdecai novels, it’s that cutting up paintings is actually not that serious a deal. I mean, obviously, it’s not good for them, but an expert art restorer should be able to lift the paint perfectly from a damaged canvas and place it on a new canvas without the artist’s work being compromised. Which is more or less what happened in the case of this painting.