Art History Hotties: Jean Cocteau

7:00 AM

Amedeo Modigliani, Jean Cocteau, 1916
By MARK LUCE

Some of you of a certain middle-age may remember when Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett back in 1993. Conventional wisdom wondered what a beauty like Roberts could possibly be doing with a beast like Lovett; ever the contrarian, I wondered what woman was remotely cool enough to be with the wryest songwriter on the planet. Lovett was a personal musical hero, a man whose lyrics mined the sardonic and ironic as much as the Byronic. For all the tracks such as "I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You," he'd have a heartfelt ballad like"Nobody Loves Me Like My Baby" perfect for that staple of 1990s romance - the mix-tape.

When the students said they wanted to write about Art History Hotties, I balked. Too many innuendos, too much room for run-away puns, the pictures would be too risque. The students, though, were relentless, and in the end my inner mischief trumped whatever sense of public decorum I supposedly still possess. As I read through their responses, I found myself repeatedly snickering and being reminded that Modigiani's portrait of Cocteau looked a smidge like Lyle. And then I recalled my favorite Lovett lines. In "Here I Am," old Lyle speaks the following:

"Given that true intellectual and emotional compatibility
Are at the very least difficult
If not impossible to come by
We could always opt for the more temporal gratification
Of sheer physical attraction.
That wouldn't make you a shallow person
Would it?"

For our purposes - no, it does not make us shallow at all. It simply makes us appreciate the beauty of the human form. Right? Right. Right...it makes us appreciate the hot human form. 

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