Tag Archives: Frank Gonzalez-Crussi

Animality revisited in times of the coronavirus: A fable

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Jacob Savery (1566-1603). Orpheus among the animals. From Wikimedia. Imagine, as painters have done, representatives of animal species congregated in an assembly (Fig. 1). A man comes to address this motley crowd in this way: “You guys [he purposefully adopts this condescending language] have recently wronged […]

Of luxuriant manes and in praise of baldness

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Voltaire rising from bed (Le Lever du Philosophe de Fer***X), by Jean Huber (1721-1786), after a painting by the same artist. Print acquired by the British Museum in 1861. The feverish imagination of poets has ever eulogized the beauty of feminine hair. The beloved’s hair has […]

Cranium: the symbolic powers of the skull

F. Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, USA   It Was a Man and a Pot. Georgia O’Keeffe. 1942. Crocker Art Museum Of all bodily parts, the head has traditionally enjoyed the greatest prestige. The Platonic Timaeus tells us that secondary gods (themselves created by the Demiurge) copied the round form of the universe to make the head, […]

Is there a good death?

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Contemplation study Photography by Jenny Wright Is there a good death? I contend that there is no answer to this question. There is indeed a rare species of questions that are unanswerable, and this is one of them. Those who have escaped from a near-fatal accident, or recovered from […]

Of metaphoric hearts

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Sacred Heart of Jesus, c. 1767 Pompeo Batoni – Northern side chapel of Il Gesù, Rome An indescribable nostalgia, a feeling compounded of wistfulness, the alacrity of happy memories, and the pain of regret for things irretrievably lost invades me as I evoke one of my former visits […]

On a miraculous birth

 Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States For all the odes that sing the advent of a new life, childbirth is a bloody, messy affair. Those of us who, by reason of our trade, observed it at close range know that it is also a scission, a brutal separation of two beings, during which life issues […]

Lovesickness in art and medicine

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, USA   Figure 1 The lovesick: Antiochus and Stratonice, 1641–1642 Pietro da Cortona Fresco Sala di Venere,  Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy Have you ever suffered the pangs of romantic passion? Count yourself lucky if you have not, for studies show that this feeling may thrive in any world culture.1 The defining […]

Bronzino and the wages of sin

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, USA   No one knows who first conceived the idea of using a wig or precisely when this curious idea came into being. Wigs were known in Greco-Roman antiquity, as one can see in Ovid’s “Art of Love” (Ars Amatoria: book III, verses 165–168), where the poet upbraids a woman for […]

The face of a very trivial death

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photography by Rodrigo Of all the objects that our eyes can see, none engrosses so large a share of our thoughts and emotions as that little patch of bodily surface—so small that an extended hand may completely cover it—which we call “the face.” For here lies embodied and […]