Sunday, January 13, 2013

Inspired by Gastone Novelli (La Liberazione)


          Whenever I'm in the D.C. metro area, I make it a point to visit the National Gallery of Art. The East Building modern collection is a beloved old haunt of mine; the permanent collection there is home to many of my personal favorites. The collection is so large though, that each visit I always end up discovering something new! During my most recent visit, I was struck by the wintry white color and three-dimensional textures of La Liberazione (1959) by Gastone Novelli. Novelli (1925-1968) was born in Vienna and classically trained in Rome. In 1943 at the age of 18, he joined the Resistenza Italiana, and was arrested and tortured by the Nazi regime. He was released upon the Allied liberation of Italy in 1944, but was deeply affected by the experience. After completing a degree in political science, he fled to Brazil, where he began to paint. His abstract, almost graffiti-like works were ahead of his time, yet they bore the marks of his haunting past.  For today's Inspired by Art post, I've constructed a cosmetic color palette and look based on Novelli's La Liberazione.


           The airy whitewashed surface of La Liberazione is characteristic of Novelli's mixed media works in the early 1960s. (The composition of the creamy white paste was secret.) On top, he typically used pencil, ink, brushes, and other instruments to delicately inscribe letters and words.


           Wintry white is the dominant color on the canvas, and in my Novelli inspired look. Using a fluffy brush, dust a white eyeshadow from the eyelid to eyebrow. Illamasqua Sex eyeshadow is a pure paper white, while Bobbi Brown Navajo is an off-white. Taupe undertones are apparent in the under-painting of La Liberazione. A taupe like Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Cement can be used to contour the eye. (For extra credit, contour before adding a wash of white, like in the artwork).


          A simple graphite line would be the perfect way to channel the words and scribbles found in Novelli's work. A few of my grey eyeliners include MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Shadow in 4E (reviewed here), NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Madison Ave. (reviewed here), and Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliner in Charcoal Grey. Small silver or yellow accents can add dimension while maintaining an abstract feel to the look. Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Sterling and MAKE UP FOR EVER Blush Powder in #71 are my picks.


         A yellow concentration of color and texture is a highlight of the painting. Here, you can see a bright primary yellow covered by washes of white, drizzles of pastel yellow, and etches of graphite.


            A striking nail color is a great way to add detail to this Novelli-inspired look. A sunny yellow would be beautiful and unexpected, like the detailing on La Liberazione. China Glaze Happy Go Lucky is a primary yellow and Sephora by OPI IM Beauty is a pale pastel yellow. White and graphite grey are hues from La Liberazione that would make bold alternatives to a yellow nail. Revlon White on White is a pure white. NARS Storm Bird (reviewed here) is a steel colored creme nail polish; Revlon Steel-her Heart is a metallic graphite.

          In Gastone Novelli's La Liberazione, a wintry white blankets the painting, with graphite and taupe details that hint at what lies beneath. The effect is much like a ground covered by patchwork snow in the depth of winter. Novelli doesn't leave us out in the cold, however; the striking yellow accent gives us hints of sunshine and light in the days ahead. It's a hopeful color palette that I find particularly suitable for this time in January! I can't help but wonder if this was the sentiment behind the piece, after all, La Liberazione translates to 'The Liberation', a possible reference to Novelli's own experience in the twilight hours of World War II. Overall, La Liberazione is a beautiful painting with a striking color palette; I'm glad I chanced upon it during my last visit to the National Gallery of Art. Thanks for reading! What do you think of this painting? Do you ever mix yellow into your makeup routine? What colors are you wearing this January?

Love, Dovey.

28 comments:

  1. Perfect collection of products to mirror the painting! I wasn't familiar with this artist before reading your post. Will be exploring his work further! The addition of just a smidge of yellow reminds me of crocus that often push through the snow in early spring.
    I'm not one to don yellows of any variety. I love to look at them but haven't found a shade(s) that I can wear without looking dead or having the color wear me instead.

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    1. Hi Kristi, Thank you so much! Novelli is a new artist to me too. Just googling his paintings is quite fun. I really love the imagery of a crocus--- it's perfect!

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  2. amazing. perfection. your writing is phenomenal dovey! that nars nail polish looks right up my alley, it also really harmonizes with the yellow sephora nail polish. I think I got inspired now :) / Claire

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    1. Hi Claire, Thank you so much for the sweet comment! Storm Bird is quite dramatic, especially alongside the yellow :-)

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  3. Simply put...I really enjoyed this post....

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    1. Thank you so much Anonymous!

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  4. I've always loved this painting--the textures are just beautiful and the subtle yet surprising pop of buttery yellow is such a visual treat! You have some great picks to go along with it, Dovey--well done!

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    1. Hi Becca, Thank you so much! I'm so happy to hear I picked a painting you love!

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  5. I've never tried yellow anywhere but my nails, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try it.... I do love a good sunny polish in the middle of winter though!

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    1. H Caroline, I love yellows, but they are tricky in makeup! I only use hints so it doesn't get overwhelming :)

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  6. Simply beautiful and well thought out as always, Dovey! Even the organization of the products is evocative of the placement of color in Novelli's painting.

    ♥ Jessica

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  7. I am so in love with all your posts! They are so creative and eccentric. And the Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in cement looks like such a beautiful shade!

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    1. Thank you!! It makes me very happy to hear that! Cement is one of my favorite shades :)

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  8. I must say your makeup interpretation of La Liberazioni is just fantastic. It's rare to see yellow used in a look, but I guess with some creativity it could really shine! It reminds me of the goldfinches that I see perched on the snowy bushes in winter; it's a rare sight, but always refreshingly beautiful!

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    1. Hi Kate, thank you for the encouraging comment! The imagery of goldfinches sounds so beautiful!

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  9. Wow wow wow!!! Impeccably done, Dovey! And so very inspirational. I especially love your grey selections, but the contrasting yellow gives me a need to play!

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    1. Hi Alison, thank you for the sweet comment! I hope you get the chance to play :)

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  10. Oh, how lovely, Dovey! I love that you're adding polishes to the mix with your recent "inspired by" posts, as well. This is a gorgeous selection of shades that I wouldn't otherwise put together, but they work so well.

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    1. Hi Larie, thank you so much! I'm glad you liked the combo! I'll try to keep doing the nail colors, if I have the right ones in my stash :)

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  11. Great post, Dovey! I rarely incorporate yellow into my makeup looks, but I'd love to try it on my nails. The China Glaze color looks perfect for spring/summer. Thanks for yet another inspiring post! xo

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  12. Very interesting post! I normally don't wear much yellow, but that Sephora by OPI shade in IM Beauty has me rethinking it. :-)

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  13. I'm italian but I've never heard of this artist...such a shame!But thanks for expanding my culture!Who knew that beauty blogs could be so instructive...!

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  14. Your color picks are spot on! Yet again! And guh, your mini bios about the artists are just great. I admire your writing so much, Dovey. :X

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  15. I love the idea of yellow hued nails to compliment this understated and airy inspired eye look.

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  16. Amazing post! I love how educational this series is as well as useful and visually pleasing. :)

    I spent a very long time at the National Gallery the one time I went and can barely remember the fantastic works I tried to inhale in one shot. Short but more frequent visits to museums and galleries is a great idea.

    And now I wish I had a yellow to incorporate with the greys!

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