Saturday, April 15, 2017

Botticelli, ripped from the headlines

 


     Some things are obvious.
     Not the painting "The Calumny of Apelles" by Botticelli. That isn't obvious. Almost subtle, actually, hung as it is immediately to the left of the enormously big and enormously famed "Birth of Venus" at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Such a magestic masterpiece sucks up all the attention. So the relatively modest, relatively unknown 1495 artwork hardly gets a second glance from most visitors, who don't get close enough to even be tempted read the explanatory text on a card next to it. 
     But I did. Because I gave it a long look. Since it is an enigmatic painting. And I wanted an explanation. Which I got. This is what it says:
   On the right King Midas, poorly counselled by Suspicion and Ignorance, prepared to judge the victim of Slander, who is dragged by the hair by Calumny and accompanied by Fraud, Deception and Spite. Repentance looks at the naked Truth, who raises her eyes to heaven. 
     I don't have to say another word, do I? Some things are obvious.




5 comments:

  1. Amazing painting. I would guess that there are whole classes dedicated to explicating just this one work by Botticelli. Makes me want to run down to the Art Institute right now to immerse myself in other works of that era.

    john

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  2. and the DARK AGES immediately followed

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    Replies
    1. I suppose the term the Dark Ages is pretty elastic, but I think the general view is that that period runs from around 500 to 800 or 1200 or maybe even 1500 A.D. But I think by Botticelli's time, the Dark Ages, if not over, were lightening up quite a bit.

      john

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    2. Yes, the Renaissance was well underway. Sad thing I learned from looking up his bio: in his last years he came under the influence of Savonarola, and gave up some of his graceful early paintings on pagan subjects to feed the "Bonfire of the Vanities." It is fair to tab the reign of Savonarola as a mini-Dark Age for Florence.

      Tom

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  3. i know sarcasm does not translate well in text . but with the comparison Neil is drawing to the context of the painting and our current administration i thought better of saying : and the earth didn't fall from its axis , nor civilization come to an end. there have been many fitful, troubling and terrible events over time and life goes on ... til death befalls us all

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