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The Judgment of Paris (and a neck that can bend 140 degrees)
July 22, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Mallory Ortberg of The Toast continues the fine tradition of providing not-so-serious narration to very-serious art. This time, she tackles the Judgment of Paris, a theme "based on a legend where three supremely powerful goddesses asked a worthless male mortal to rank them in order of attractiveness in order to win a sculpture of a fruit."

Previously (I'm sure I missed more posts).

You can find the rest on pages 1 through 3 here. They are glorious.
posted by Ouverture (56 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, fuck this. I'm getting dressed.

(Undying love for that woman.)
posted by mudpuppie at 1:08 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Not just any worthless male mortal — Paris, as in the dude who started the Trojan War, which resulted from his picking Aphrodite and her rewarding him by making Helen of Troy fall in love with him. At which point he was like "so I guess I get to go steal her, right" and then hilarity ensued.
posted by savetheclocktower at 1:12 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


I love how Medieval paintings just stick ancient Greek and Roman goddesses in whatever fancy clothing happened to be popular at the time they were painted. Why don't we still do that? I demand Athena in Alexander McQueen.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:13 PM on July 22 [24 favorites]


I wanna rewrite this story where there's just a beginning scene where the goddesses are like, "Hey, I'm bored, let's go fuck with some human men today because they're complete idiots."
I would read this fanfiction.
posted by jeather at 1:18 PM on July 22 [15 favorites]


Paris, as in the dude who started the Trojan War

Stupid ass.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:18 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Why don't we still do that? I demand Athena in Alexander McQueen.

Not couture, but this series was pretty hilarious.

also

ahhh sorry ahaha this is so unexpected
i cant even believe it
my whole dress fell off is how surprising this is

this is so genius and so perfect and so super Catullus and I adore it
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:19 PM on July 22 [16 favorites]


The Judgement of Paris was just a convenient and accepted excuse to paint naked women. It was the Renaissance equivalent of a plumber's visit or a pizza delivery.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:23 PM on July 22 [42 favorites]


Also the suffering of St. Sebastien cause "Hmmm, I want to paint a nude writing young man all tied up but how..."
posted by The Whelk at 1:26 PM on July 22 [13 favorites]


I would read this fanfiction.

I feel like there is a lot of this sort of thing in X:WP
posted by elizardbits at 1:27 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


To be fair, those goddesses were a little loopy after beating up all the other goddesses to get down to the Bug Three Finalists. Eris did a pretty good job with that apple, she wasn't about to let it get screwed up with a sudden burst of divine rationality or anything.

The Trojan War? Oh, how she laughed, that Eris! What a cut-up!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:34 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


The enormous multiplicity of hats are just further proof that Eris was on the job.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:35 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


I love how many of these paintings have Eros hanging around, just holding his mom's clothes.
posted by maryr at 1:37 PM on July 22


"Honey, hold these- Mommy's got to be in a beauty contest...and then, like, destroy a city or something."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:39 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


Also the suffering of St. Sebastien cause "Hmmm, I want to paint a nude writing young man all tied up but how..."


Yeah that's totally perverted.

(says the guy who has two St. Sebastien representations on his walls and shares a bed with someone who has him tattooed on his arm.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:42 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I almost FPP'd this series the other day. Mallory Ortberg is just the best ever.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:50 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


I almost FPP'd this series the other day. Mallory Ortberg is just the best ever.

Wow. I actually had to close my office door to get through that, because stifling the laughter was producing concerning noises. Like if an elephant's truck got all plugged up.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:56 PM on July 22


Mallory Ortberg is just the best ever.

Seriously. I feel like me commenting on her is actually pretty equivalent to the scenario in the painting: "Yes definitely the Queen of Heaven wants to know if some Trojan shepherd thinks she’s still hot."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:57 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]




It's very hard not to FPP every other Mallory Ortberg post.
posted by jeather at 2:03 PM on July 22 [13 favorites]


my favorite thing about this rendition by Lucas Cranach the Elder is the flirty horse peekin' out behind the tree
posted by invitapriore at 2:08 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


Yeah, if anyone were going to design couture for the goddesses, it would be Alexander McQueen. In fact, that might be what he's doing now.


The gods, on the other hand, well, Gaultier is the obvious choice.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:09 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


"Hmmm, I want to paint a nude writ[h]ing young man all tied up but how..."

There is another fellow, name's Jesus, you may have seen his glistening abs around town.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:10 PM on July 22


Yes, Jesus was known for his impressive abs.
posted by Flashman at 2:24 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


The Hermeses in these are so great in that his expression varies between "ha ha wow this dude is fucked" and "HOLY SHIT this dude is FUCKED"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:25 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


There is another fellow, name's Jesus, you may have seen his glistening abs around town.



Uh...hey- who wants to watch me choke a giant serpent?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:27 PM on July 22


"Yes definitely the Queen of Heaven wants to know if some Trojan shepherd thinks she’s still hot."

To be fair, Paris was a prince of Troy, but he was abandoned as a baby after he was prophesied to cause the city's fall. Hecuba failed to learn from Jocasta's mistake: when your baby is fated to bring about your doom, you just set it on fire then and there.
posted by bibliowench at 2:33 PM on July 22 [12 favorites]


benito.strauss: "The Judgement of Paris was just a convenient and accepted excuse to paint naked women. It was the Renaissance equivalent of a plumber's visit or a pizza delivery."

Dear Penthouse Agora,

I thought all your stories were just myths until...
posted by mhum at 2:34 PM on July 22 [22 favorites]


"Does this make me look fat?"

"Does what make you look fat?? You're not wearing anything!"
posted by harrietthespy at 2:35 PM on July 22


Uh...hey- who wants to watch me choke a giant serpent?

Those are some fucking strategically placed lion paws.
posted by maryr at 2:37 PM on July 22


I see a lot of things on Tumblr where high fashion is specifically called out for one god or goddess or another, but here is, specifically, Hermes in Hermès.
posted by PussKillian at 2:37 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


I would watch this programme.
posted by maryr at 2:38 PM on July 22


I did not know this existed and now I am filled with joy and mirth. I've laughed at the original link, and have continued exploring. Just like the monks with maps
MONK #1: what’s the nearest country to Scotland
MONK #2: a giant lobster
posted by harujion at 2:42 PM on July 22 [11 favorites]


The Judgement of Paris was just a convenient and accepted excuse to paint naked women. It was the Renaissance equivalent of a plumber's visit or a pizza delivery.


"Lord, you can imagine where it goes from here."
"He paints a masterpiece?"
"Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:54 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Hecuba failed to learn from Jocasta's mistake: when your baby is fated to bring about your doom, you just set it on fire then and there

NOOO then the fire will spread to the whole city

You just gotta roll with it, say from the get-go that the city's done for, pack up and set yourself up someplace nice in Sparta so you can be like "what up, guys, if you ever need to go to war with Troy, I got a son right here who can be your secret weapon."
posted by Greg Nog at 3:01 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


About as good a reason as most wars, TBH.
posted by shothotbot at 3:09 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


The Judgement of Paris Nearly any mythological or historical episode with a woman in it was just a convenient and accepted excuse to paint naked women. It was the Renaissance equivalent of a plumber's visit or a pizza delivery.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:11 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Also the suffering of St. Sebastien cause

Years ago, I worked at a Catholic University. One week there was one of those vendors visiting, you know, the kind who sell students decor for their dorms, and they had these little postcards of some of their images placed at various spots around campus, and I saw one of the teaching brothers looking at one. "What's up, Brother James?" I asked. He showed me the postcard, which had a black and white image of naked man, arms behind his head, cropped from the chin to the top of the pubes. It was on the edge of tasteful let us say. Brother James stared at it a bit and said "do you think this is entirely appropriate?" "Hmmm," I replied, "I'll fix that." Then I reached behind the desk, grabbed a post-it pad and drew a couple of quick arrows and stuck them to the postcard. "All better!" I said brightly. "Haha, yes, very nice" Brother James said. I'm not sure he actually agreed with my point, but he did take the postcard for further study.

Lord knows what I would have had to do with the Judgement of Paris....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:21 PM on July 22 [9 favorites]


monks with maps

FWIW, yes, lions in Asia.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:00 PM on July 22


I was really hoping this post was going to be about wine.
posted by bswinburn at 4:42 PM on July 22


Sys Rq: Thank you for taking care of that for me.
posted by cthuljew at 4:54 PM on July 22


Prelude to a dis...
posted by Pudhoho at 5:01 PM on July 22


Women Listening To Men in Art History is making me laugh hard enough to draw attention to myself in my wee office off in the boonies.

ahhhahahhaha

that is so good

that is so funny

that is so funny and good

no I’ve never heard that before from you
posted by janey47 at 5:29 PM on July 22 [12 favorites]


how can you say that
how can you say I’m not paying attention
i just took off my clothes and threw the fruit basket to help me focus

posted by wreckingball at 5:37 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


In the Judgment of Paris, a prince of Troy is offered a choice from among kingship of Europe and Asia, wisdom and prowess in battle, and the love of Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful woman in the world, all in a context of choosing the most beautiful among the immortal godesses. In a sense, Paris is choosing his own destiny, and as prince of Troy, the fate of the city as well.

He chooses the most beautiful woman in the world, and when she chooses him, leaves Menelaus (brother to King Agamemnon), and goes with Paris to Troy, Troy comes to stand for women choosing where they want to go and who they want to have sex with, as is expressed in a slightly different way by Paris' choice of Aphrodite as most beautiful in the first place.

And that makes the Trojan war (as seen in the Iliad), a war to prevent women from making those choices, a theme which is reflected and amplified in the sacrifice of Iphigenia, the appropriation of Achille's concubine Briseis by Agamemnon, and the enslavement of the Trojan women, who are really the most valuable of the spoils of Troy.
posted by jamjam at 6:56 PM on July 22 [21 favorites]


WITH THIS WAR HELMET ON~ How I have felt all week. (Yes, I know it's only Tuesday.)
posted by Space Kitty at 7:00 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


This is the best thread.
posted by rtha at 7:08 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]




MCMikeNamara: "Also the suffering of St. Sebastien cause "Hmmm, I want to paint a nude writing young man all tied up but how..."

Yeah that's totally perverted.
"

Martyrdom iconography is generally messed up. St. Agatha of Sicily walks around holding a plate with her cut off breasts on it.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:10 PM on July 22


My introduction to the Catholic faith came when I walked into St. Lucy's Priory high school for an entrance interview and was confronted with a life size statue of Lucy holding her eye balls out to me on a plate.
posted by janey47 at 9:40 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


It was the Renaissance equivalent of a plumber's visit or a pizza delivery.
That's just what I was thinking, but this, this is art my good man Leda and the swan.
posted by boilermonster at 12:12 AM on July 23


Paris, as in the dude who started the Trojan War

Stupid ass.



Seriously. Mycenae never had WMDs.
posted by Foosnark at 6:22 AM on July 23


And that makes the Trojan war (as seen in the Iliad), a war to prevent women from making those choices

This is a REALLY charitable reading of a tale in which a woman's agency is used as a pawn to bribe a man into making a decision.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:13 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Euripides' work about the Trojan War focuses on women and their agency. I don't think I would make the same argument about the Iliad.
posted by beefetish at 8:44 AM on July 23


It's a cute schtick, putting voice balloons on classic bits of art, but she does rather ride the obvious jokes into the ground. I like my funny to be something I can't come up with on my own.

the Trojan women, who are really the most valuable of the spoils of Troy

Pretty sure that command of the sailing routes into and out of the Black Sea were the most valuable of the spoils of Troy.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:26 PM on July 23


Interesting to see the variations on ideal female beauty.
The goddesses in Niklaus Manuel-Deutsch's version look decidedly pregnant.
posted by Gwynarra at 1:53 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Some have surprisingly masculine figures - I suspect those artists' models were male, whether due to social mores or the artist's own preference.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:09 PM on July 25


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