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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sixteenth century alien


This is a detail from The Deposition from the Cross, painted by Il Rosso Fiorentino in 1528. There appears to be an alien visitor lurking in the background! [TZZZNP5JVJK3]

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alien? Or representation on the Devil or a Demon, given the religous context?

PJ

Andrew said...

You may be right - I've no idea what it's really meant to be. It looks quite ape-like actually, although I don't know what that would symbolize in this context.

Micah Hanks said...

Strange... I'm trying to discern whether that "face" could be construed as anything but just that... a face! If not, what else could it be? It certainly looks anthropomorphic enough... but all the same, it's not really human looking, either. Again, I ask "if not human, then what is it?"

-Micah Hanks

Andrew said...

Thanks for the comment Micah. Yes, I'm sure it's a real face, and I expect there is a rational explanation for it in terms of 16th century symbolism -- but I have no idea what it is!

Anonymous said...

To me it looks a bit like a hirsuite freak (i.e. a "dog face boy") such as Jo Jo http://josefragoso.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dogboy1.jpg

Where there any notable hirsuite freaks in that era?

Anonymous said...

P.S. Andrew the "Jo Jo" comment was from me!

PJ

Andrew said...

I saw this post yesterday and thought the aliens on the Startling Stories cover looked a bit like mine!

Anonymous said...

A little bit perhaps.

Did you happen to notice the gold lingerie that the woman was wearing? Perhaps the inspiration for Princess Leia's outfit in The Return of the Jedi??

PJ

Andrew said...

Definitely - maybe not this exact picture, but it was drawn by Earle Bergey who is famous as the "inventor" of female metallic underwear. His wikipedia article says "His illustrations of scantily-clad women... served as an inspiration for Princess Leia's slave-girl outfit in Return of the Jedi".

Anonymous said...

A good guess by me then :-)

PJ

Anonymous said...

And if you look really close just above the ape looking face it appears to be another smaller face more in detail like a little demon smirking.

John Cowan said...

It's almost surely the Barbary macaque (tailless, but a monkey rather than an ape) that Il Rosso owned. It may represent slander in this context.

Andrew May said...

Thanks - that's a brilliant suggestion, and I'm sure it's the right answer. It all hinges on knowing that he owned a pet monkey, which of course I didn't know. It's also confusing because the creature's head is at the same height as the humans (presumably sitting on someone's shoulder). But the face does look very like a Barbary macaque.