Stars in their skies

Things can remind you of other things, whether they’re supposed to or not.

The Origin of the Milky Way, by Tintoretto, 1575
Lady GaGa, by Lady Ga Ga, 2010
Super Mario Galaxy, by Shigeru Miyamoto, 2006

Just to start with I don’t right like this painting, but look, she has STARS shooting OUT OF HER NIPPLES! Lady GaGa couldn’t compete. Or could she?

In Greek myth, milk from the breast of the goddess Hera (aka Juno to the Romans) wafted up to the sky to become the milky way, and the ancient Greek word for milky is Galaxias. So there you have it: the creation of the universe. Brian Cox, you may step down.

Tintoretto’s bold, swirling image of a confidently naked,  larger-then-life woman,  with a god,  superhero baby and adoring cherubs whirling around her seems over the top,  dizzying and irrelevent to me.




But what have we here?

A swirling world,  in it’s centre a confident , sexual, woman, a goddess,  in a mass of bodies, arms reaching out in support and worship, with stars on her nipples.




But my Eyes of Wonderment come not from Tintoretto’s masterpiece or Lady GaGa’s enviable abandonment, but from another artist, and from another galaxy. When I look at this painting and its energetic whirls and ultra-blue sky of bursting stars, it makes me think of the colour saturated worlds of Super Mario, created by geek-adored Shigeru Miyamoto. I have no intention to back this up with any academic thesis, it’s just a personal thing, that’s all. Many pleasant hours of my unemployed youth were spent forgetting how hungry I was by playing Super Mario on the ill-fated Nintendo 64, owned by my friend and landlord, Pete.

Can a crowd-surfing diva be art? Can a computer game be art?  It’s up for debate, but to get anywhere with that you’d need to decide what art is, and good luck with that.

If it works for you, go with it. Here’s a pared-down Miyamoto quote:  ‘You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think’.

Where to see... the Tintoretto – in the National Gallery, for free; Lady GaGa –  all over the show; Super Mario – round Pete’s house.



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