Sunday, April 19, 2009

Word of the Day: MORBIDEZZA

MORBIDEZZA is pronounced "mor bee DET zah" and comes from the Italian word for softness.

Morbidezza is a term used in painting (mainly old masters or antique Italian paintings) to describe a technique that exaggerates the delicacy, softness, and fragility of the skin, as shown below in this 17th century Italian oil on canvas of Susannah and the Elders:
List price: $139,000 USD

The morbidezza technique is seen here in the masterful execution of the Susannah figure. Her skin appears almost translucent and yet luminous at the same time.

The story is from the Book of Daniel and tells of the virtuous bather startled by spying elders, who are ultimately punished for their lechery. The song "Oh Susanah" has nothing to do with this Biblical story as far as I know.

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