The Censor

His Eminence
Don’t toss stuff out
I put some marks on a piece of paper two or three years ago, didn’t know where I was going with it and put it away. It reappeared the other day when I was cleaning out some old stuff. This time I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had been having a discussion with some folks who thought that the models for a life drawing class should not be nude but rather should be modestly attired so as not to objectify the human body or cause salacious thought. By implication, they would have put sweat pants and a hoodie on Michelangelo’s David or Picasso’s Demoiselles; you can imagine what they might have done with some of Francis Bacon’s stuff. Somewhere along the line, a hint of religiosity got involved, particularly as it pertained to life drawing that included having naked ladies pose. That was more than enough for me. I suddenly knew exactly what to do with my recently unearthed rough sketch; turn it into a portrait of His Eminence, Lord High Censor and Grand Keeper of Purity of Essence. I gave him a goofy, 17th century moustache (like the one on Velasquez’s portrait of Philip IV), empty eyes, an old-time clerical cap, a semi-military blouse and a heavy, grasping hand. This was much better than telling those negative and sanctimonious politically correct souls with whom I was talking to perform odd acts with vegetarians. The compressed charcoal and pastel drawing is on laid textured 60 lb. Strathmore paper. My only regrets: I did not put any rings on those pudgy fingers and I failed to check Goya’s work for ideas.

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