Magazine article Tate Etc.

Frederic Leighton's an Athlete Wrestling with a Python C1877

Magazine article Tate Etc.

Frederic Leighton's an Athlete Wrestling with a Python C1877

Article excerpt

This is the forehead of an athlete wrestling with a python. I'm really interested in this part of the face at the moment - how, in a way, there is an art-historical, pop-cultural back catalogue of foreheads in this state of stress: Michelangelo's David, Clint Eastwood's man with no name, David Gandy's underwear ads. And then there's God, of course, with His furrowed brow betwixt His bushy white eyebrows.

I took a phone photo of Benicio Del Toro's forehead from a page in one of those big matte lifestyle magazines in a Berlin art magazine shop. He was peering grimly from every page of a substantial feature: eyes overshadowed and upstaged by those complex, interlocking folds of flesh above the sockets. A labyrinth. I look at it often.

And that forehead is what is right and what is good, that is the ideal. The brooding, lone stranger, thinking hard about something you can't imagine, turns up in every advert for watches, suits, shaving foam - that bit between the eyebrows. …

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