|Madonna with the Long Neck, 1534-40, Parmigianino|
|Study for Madonna With The Long Neck, Parmigianino,|
at the age of twenty-one
|A comparison of the two paintings leaves little doubt as to the identity |
of the girl peering over the Madonna's shoulder.
|Oscar Pistorius, 2012, Natalie Holland (unfinished)|
The famous painter, Jacques-Louis David encountered a similar confluence of events causing him to leave unfinished what might have been his greatest masterpiece. David, the most prominent French painter of his day, became a follower of Robespierre and supporter of the French Revolution towards the end of the 18th century. The unfinished canvas of the 1789 Oath of the Tennis Court (below), depicts a crucial moment of solidarity and purpose for the revolutionaries. It includes certain heads and figures partially-completed in oil paint. The exposed musculature of their sketched bodies seems to break through a surface to reveal detailed, impassioned faces. The first engravings showing The Tennis Court Oath only appeared in 1790, the year David convinced the Jacobin Club to launch a national subscription to fund a painting to depict the event. He exhibited a pen and brown ink drawing of his planned painting in the Louvre in 1791 but did not have enough money to follow it through as the subscription had only had a 10% return. The National Constituent Assembly thus decided to fund the work from the public treasury instead, topped off by selling engravings of the painting. Numerous political events intervened causing the artist to eventually leave the work is disgust. It’s possible the unfinished work is even more evocative of the National Assembly’s struggles than a completed painting would have been.
|Upper image: David's unfinished canvas when the money ran out.|
Lower Image: A copy based upon David's false start.
|Pietà Rondanini, 1552-1564, Michelangelo|
|Gilbert Stuart Self-portrait, 1778|
|Leaving his portrait of Washington unfinished made a great excuse for not delivering it to Martha Washington as promised.|
|The unfinished portrait of Washington |
as we know it today, cut down to
obtain a more pleasing composition.
|Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi, begun in 1915, still under construction today.|