The Festival of Living Pictures

“The Festival of Living Pictures” is the title of season 4, episode 7 of Gilmore Girls (which is how far in I am in the series). I found the concept very intriguing so I’d like to write about it. According to the show (fictionalized or not, I have yet to find out)- different towns in the state of Conneticut perform this ceremony every 7 years. This time, it was Stars Hollows turn to do it. The ceremony consists of real men and women posing inside oversized picture frames to imitate paintings that have been made long ago. They are all dressed up, faces and bodies painted with fancy apparels and props to capture the painting to the last detail. Is this a concept to remind people that what the characters you see in these paintings are embodiments of real people? Or is this a concept to re-evoke the feelings of looking at a painting on a grander scale, as symbolized by the oversized frames?

The first painting in “The Festival of Living Pictures” portrayed Rory Gilmore (left) as “Antea” (right) who was painted by the Italian painter Parmigianino between 1531 and 1534.

The most striking part of this image is the fur stole worn by Antea with the head of the animal preserved, uncannily enough. Interestingly, the animal’s nose is pierced with a chain while she holds her left glove in her right hand. She is dressed very well and appears to be a lady of rank. Curiously, however, she is far too broad shouldered and heavily chested to be proportional to her face and neck. Her golden dress striped with blue, white apron at the bottom and fine gloves are quite well captured on the left. The painting itself, looks to me like a lady in her youth with the cold, hard eyes of the wild animal she is wearing on her shoulder. Perhaps, the animal was painted there as a symbol of ferocity.

The second painting is “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci as it is still shown in Milan, Italy. It was painted between 1495 and 1498.

This is one of the world’s most famous paintings and requires no introductions.

The next statue is known as “Moissonneur”, or “The Reaper”, designed by Nicolas Poussin near 1679. It stands in The Versailles Park and Gardens in France:

The final painting is Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Dance at Bougival” which was painted from 1882-1883:

Although Lorelai’s eye (left) remains ostensibly open with a stern frown on her face as if being repulsed by the man she is dancing with, the actual painting of Suzanne Valadone  (Right) dancing with Paul is a pleasing picture. We see a radiant young dancer with a slight blush on her cheeks with a splendid red hat locked in passionate arms. She looks quite seductive and comely with a voluptuous figure in the painting, certainly being admired lustily by the man in blue. Her downcast eyes express a shyness, whether filled with a wilful disobedience to the charms of the man or simply an emblem of harmony is yet a raised question in my mind.


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