And neither does scientific analysis of paint pigment. Yes: it’s true. After three years (the time it takes to get a BA if you’re really smart, the time it takes to turn a fetus into a pre-schooler, the length of time you can spend renovating your house if you run out of money half-way through) the experts have decided that a portrait of Shakespeare owned by Alec Cobbe, an art restorer, is the only painting of Shakespeare actually produced while the bard was alive.
“[Professor Stanley] Wells told CNN that the two other confirmed portraits of Shakespeare are “very dull” and that this newest portrait is of much higher quality.
The piece has been in the Cobbe family for generations before it came into Alec Cobbe’s possession. The Irish family owned a number of pieces from the collection of the third Earl of Southampton, a patron of Shakespeare’s. That lineage offers even further support that the painting is authentic.” [click for full article]
Other images of Shakespeare accurately depict him, but were not painted in his lifetime thus not are not “authentic.” This issue of authenticity in the art world always makes sense when we start talking about it, but then not so much when you really think about it. Who cares if it is a Picasso or just really looks like a Picasso? The role that “Art” plays in our culture is clearly not just about aesthetics, it’s about process, foundation, historical context. There’s definitely a philosophical question at hand here, and while I can’t answer it in those terms, it does make me think of….yes! you guessed it…yoga! (This is the momentous turning point in the blog post where I answer the question, Why is this post called “Hips Don’t Lie?”)
You see, for some time, I have been practicing forged yoga. I have been able (in my humble opinion) to look like I’m doing a good job at yoga. In my classes at Crunch, people are always saying how flexible I am, and I thought I had really open hips. I thought, Wow. I am like THE Demoiselles D’Avignon of yoga, ya know? I should really take an immersion.
Well! It turns out that when you run my paint through just a few rounds scientific testing, it turns out that I am..how can I put this nicely? Pretty gosh darn not good at yoga. Basically, I’d been using poor form to fake my way through appearing to be open. It turns out, when I set up my foundation correctly, my hips are TIGHT. My yoga practice, like my teeth, is pretty on the outside, rotting on the inside. And it is my hips, my non-lying hips, that have spoken out to reveal that I have been faking my way through yoga.
And what is locked in the hips? Creativity, Emotion, Pain, Intention, and other things that can remain unmentioned on my pG-13, company-affiliated blog. And while part of me wishes that I waited to do an immersion until I was actually at the right level of practice, there is still a lot I can glean from the Tantric philosophy of embracing both the good and the parts of life and embodiment.
In Anusara/Tantra, the bad things in life are shrouds, and we have them so that we can undergo the experience of removing them. So, yes, I’ve enrolled in an intensive yoga course that is a bit beyond my level. It hurts, it’s hard, there’s little I can be “proud” of. But it’s shown me if you fake it, you eventually get caught, because (here it goes): Hips don’t lie! Your creative impulses will come back to bite you in the ass. (And that strained tendon in my hamstring really does feel like a bite, believe me. But apparently it’s called “yoga butt” and is common enough to get its own name-at least I’m not alone!)
What I’ve done by enrolling in the immersion is to commit to an exploration. And if exploring has so far done nothing but show my weakness, so be it. The demand for authenticity, whether it be in a Shakespeare portrait, or in my hips, is apparently in a necessary condition for creative expression.
So let’s go real slow…