Ah, I found the perfect word for you this week, to follow the amusement and mystery of Halloween. Being the Scorpio I am, I identify most with the Halloween witch. Her familiar/muse is the sinuous black cat, and her striking, discreet beauty mark is a small, comely wart that lies aside her nose.
Beautiful, or hag? You decide …
VERISM (virʹiz’ɘm) n. – realism or naturalism in the arts. [WW #84]
First found in Roman art during the latter part of the Roman Republic, verism goes beyond beautiful to form a more expressive realism in art; one might say, as “beauty in the eye of the beholder.”
There is no denying the considerable artistic talents of the Romans—and their realism period of verism waxed and waned over the centuries. By the late 1800s, it began to infiltrate Italy’s operatic productions that created a genre with such masters as Pietro Mascagni and Giacomo Puccini (Madame Butterfly).
I often go to Wiki for further explanation of a word or phrase; not as the definitive expert, but as an enhancement to my definitions. This time, the Wiki editor(s) made a notable observation: Verism, often described as "warts and all", shows the imperfections of the subject, such as warts, wrinkles and furrows. It should be absolutely noted that the term veristic in no way implies that these portraits are more "real". Rather, they too can be highly exaggerated or idealised, but within a different visual idiom, one which favours wrinkles, furrows, signs of age as indicators of gravity and authority.
So—applied to the 2016 presidential election, the “art of politics” today is a particular form of verism at its best … um, or worst.
Word Challenge: VERISM. More broadly applied—when our friends and family have warts, and we love them anyway. Can you fit verism into your week of beautiful writings?
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