Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Elijah Wood as an Elizabethan man.

~ detail from Elijah Wood in "The Tailor", by Giovanni Moroni.

I've been in a creative funk. I've read loads of stories read for the MEFA awards, but have been dragging my feet writing the "votes" (reviews count as the votes in the MEFA contest, a competition in which *length* matters). My own fic? More foot-dragging, while I think it over and procrastinate doing research, etc.

But then came a moment of inspiration, this time in the form of Elijah Wood. Well, Elijah Wood's face, to be precise.

You all know how enraptured I am by Elijah Wood's face as Frodo -- so beautiful, so classical -- the inspiration for myriad "Frodo Art Travesties". But Elijah Wood's face as Elijah Wood has never produced that response in me. Perhaps it's his hair, which always looks so contemporary. I'm an art history fan, a costume history fan. Not a fan of holey jeans and t-shirts, kitty hair, faux-hawk, or shaved-head fan.

But then came the London Comic Con of July 1, 2006....

*portentious music*

Because I knew people who were attending it, I followed leads to photos from this event. And, lo, I saw the photos of melyanna_65.

I was smitten. The pictures! Elijah's look in the pictures!

"An Elizabethan gentleman!!!" I gasped, lost in admiration for the way his newly-grown out inch of hair made a thick, short, shining dark mat that showed off the shape of his fine skull; his beard was a chin-and-jaw-delineating marvel.

I had just been cruising a website filled with Tudor and Elizabethan portraiture, and I knew I had seen a perfect painting for him. I Googled, I searched, and there it was: a painting of an unknown man, apparently a tailor, by an Italian artist from the end of the 16th century.

"Perfect," I thought. A new manip was about to be born.

But first I approached melyanna_65, to ask her permission to use her photograph for the project. Not everyone is keen to see EW's photo used in this way. I sent her a copy of the painting I would be using, and the photo I thought would suit it.

She consented. Woo hoo!


*timpani roll*

I wish to present my first (and last? -- who knows how long he'll continue to wear his hair and beard this way) Elijah Wood Art Travesty.

I will include it in my "Frodo Art Travesty" album, since it is the only one.

1. The original portrait.

Portrait of an unknown man, known as, The Tailor, by Giovanni Moroni, c. 1570.

It's a shame the tailor's hands are so un-Elijah-like. Handling scissors and pins and draping fabric must have been more wearing on the hands than I would have imagined. The tailor's face is young and comely, but his hands are noticeably aged and roughened, and very much reddened, compared to his face. Still, I love the painting.

2. The face.

Cropped version of melyanna_65's photograph of Elijah Wood at Comic Con.

HERE is Melyanna's excellent LJ entry about the Comic Con (where she got to meet EW!) featuring this photo.

3. The manip.

Little was necessary beyond tweaking the lighting, colour, and focus in both the source painting and face, so that they matched. I had to draw in some wisps of hair, very tiny, to blend the hair into the background, make shadows on his face, and draw in a bit of extra collar. I also adjusted areas of colour in the original, just here and there. But not that much needed to be done. The head really was a good match for this particular painting.


~ Elijah Wood as a young Elizabethan man, in Giovanni Moroni's portrait of an unknown man, aka "The Tailor", c. 1570.

4. A bit of text.

I never am content only to present a manip; I like to have words to go with it.

Looking at the final image, knowing that it was from the age of Queen Elizabeth I, I kept thinking of Shakespeare. Perhaps the young man could have been a tailor making costumes for productions at the Globe Theatre....

No, the painting is a bit too early for that, 1570, which is only six years after Shakespeare was born. His first play wouldn't be produced until 1590 (Henry VI, Pt. I).

But I am willing to fudge a little. I thought further, what if Shakespeare noticed this young man? So beautiful, so quiet, yet with such speaking eyes as he toiled over the heavy velvets and ran prematurely roughened hands over fine linen.

As many of you know, Shakespeare was purported to have fallen in love not only with women but with men. (He did not only pant for Gwyneth Paltrow.) His first sonnets, #'s 1 -126, are often thought to be directed towards a young man whom he loved when he was in his middle years; maybe not consummated, maybe secretly, and from afar. But anyone reading this can understand the power loveliness has to attract, especially when one is *getting on*. Therefore, I thought the sonnet went wonderfully well with this "Elijah Art Travesty".

Sonnet 20

A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

Here is a paraphrase provided by the very excellent site, Shakespeare's

'You were created by Nature as a woman but more beautiful than any woman, for you do not have their faults. But Nature changed her mind as she made you, and turned you into a man, for she herself adored you, and, perhaps desiring congress, gave you male parts. Therefore I cannot love you with the fulness that I would love a woman. But let me have your real love, while women enjoy the physical manifestation of it, which I know to be merely a superficies'.


Other LJ entries presenting "Frodo Art Travesties" may be found here.

~ Mechtild

Tags: art, elijah wood, elijah wood art travesties, elijah wood manips, frodo art travesties, frodo manips

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