Posted on Saturday, Jan 12
I am determined that Mother Nature will not keep me indoors.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be respectful to her.
It’s the gods of style and fashion I will snub my nose at.
So I assemble a host of cold-resistant clothing to permit me to warmly go out from place to place.
And here I post a photo of my wardrobe.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
My 275th consecutive posting, committed to 5,000.
Time is 12.01am.
On Saturday, Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 29* but with the wind will feel like 16*.
Dinner is London Broil.
Question of the Day:
Can you talk about Michelangelo’s Bacchus?
Hint: With the help of Wikipedia I certainly can.
Love your notes.
Contact me at email@example.com
On Sat, Jan 5, 2019, 5:56 PM we wrote:
“He hurts my eyes.”
This said by my twelve-year-old competitive tennis player when I asked him if he would play another time with the son of my dentist, the dentist’s son not an accomplished player.
From Tommie Toner:
Loved the story of Chris and "He Hurts My Eyes." A metaphor for life?
And to the posting re: Seeing Ghosts, Jim Pasto responds:
This last post, I just read it, reminded me of the book/film Household Saints by Francine Prose. Here is some info: http://movies2.nytimes.com/books/00/04/16/specials/prose-saints.html
I had a copy of the film but loaned it to a student and never got it back. I’m going to order another. Maybe we can watch it sometime, but it might be something to write about too. The novel is great and the film is one of those rare ones that basically stays true to the novel.
James S. Pasto, Ph.D.
Answer to Question:
Bacchus (1496–1497) is a marble sculpture by the Italian High Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect and poet Michelangelo.
The statue is somewhat over life-size and depicts Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, in a reeling pose suggestive of drunkenness.
Commissioned by Raffaele Riario, a high-ranking Cardinal and collector of antique sculpture, it was rejected by him and was bought instead by Jacopo Galli, Riario’s banker and a friend to Michelangelo.
Along with the Pietà the Bacchus is one of only two surviving sculptures from the artist's first period in Rome.
Bacchus is depicted with rolling eyes, his staggering body almost teetering off the rocky outcrop on which he stands.
Sitting behind him is a faun, who eats the bunch of grapes slipping out of Bacchus's left hand. With its swollen breast and abdomen, the Bacchus figure suggested to Giorgio Vasari "both the slenderness of a young man and the fleshiness and roundness of a woman", and its androgynous quality has often been noted (although the testicles are swollen as well).
The inspiration for the work appears to be the description in Pliny the Elder's Natural History of a lost bronze sculpture by Praxiteles, depicting "Bacchus, Drunkenness and a satyr".
The sense of precariousness resulting from a high center of gravity can be found in some later works by the artist, most notably the David and the figures on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Bacchus wears a wreath of ivy leaves, as that plant was sacred to the god. (They are not, as is often supposed, vine leaves.)
In his right hand he holds a goblet of wine and in his left the skin of a tiger, an animal associated with the god "for its love of the grape" (according to Michelangelo's biographer Ascanio Condivi).
The hand holding the goblet was broken off and the penis chiseled away before Maarten van Heemskerck saw the sculpture in the 1530s.
Only the goblet was restored, in the early 1550s.
The mutilation may have been to give the sculpture an illusion of greater antiquity, placed as it initially was among an antique torso and fragmentary Roman reliefs in Jacopo Galli's Roman garden.
At the age of 21 Michelangelo went to Rome for the first time.
We still possess two of the works he created in this period (Bacchus and Pieta); others must have been lost for he spent five years there.
The statue of Bacchus was commissioned by the banker Jacopo Galli for his garden and he wanted it fashioned after the models of the ancients.
The body of this drunken and staggering god gives an impression of both youthfulness and of femininity.
Vasari says that this strange blending of effects is the characteristic of the Greek god Dionysus.
But in Michelangelo's experience, sensuality of such a divine nature has a drawback for man: in his left hand the god holds with indifference a lionsksin, the symbol of death, and a bunch of grapes, the symbol of life, from which a Faun is feeding.
Thus we are brought to realize, in a sudden way, what significance this miracle of pure sensuality has for man: living only for a short while he will find himself in the position of the faun, caught in the grasp of death, the lionskin.
The statue was sold to the Medici and transferred to Florence in 1572.
One critical review:
Michelangelo’s Bacchus is a terrestrial young man, upon the verge of toppling over into drunkenness.
The value of the work is its realism.
The attitude could not be sustained in actual life for a moment without either the goblet spilling its liquor or the body reeling side-ways.
Not only are the eyes wavering and wanton, but the muscles of the mouth have relaxed into a tipsy smile; and, instead of the tiger-skin being suspended from the left arm, it has slipped down, and is only kept from falling by the loose grasp of the trembling hand.
Nothing could be less godlike than the face of Bacchus.
It is the face of a not remarkably good-looking model, and the head is too small both for the body and the heavy crown of leaves.
As a study of incipient intoxication, when the whole person is disturbed by drink, but human dignity has not yet yielded to a bestial impulse, this statue proves the energy of Michelangelo's imagination.
The physical beauty of his adolescent model in the limbs and body redeems the grossness of the motive by the inalienable charm of health and carnal comeliness.
Finally, the technical merits of the work cannot too strongly be insisted on.
The modelling of the thorax, the exquisite roundness and fleshiness of the thighs and arms and belly, the smooth skin-surface expressed throughout in marble, will excite admiration in all who are capable of appreciating this aspect of the statuary's art.
Michelangelo produced nothing more finished in execution, if we except the Pietà at S. Peter's.
Percy Bysshe Shelley:
"The countenance of this figure is the most revolting mistake of the spirit and meaning of Bacchus.
It looks drunken, brutal, and narrow-minded, and has an expression of dissoluteness the most revolting. The lower part of the figure is stiff, and the manner in which the shoulders are united to the breast, and the neck to the head, abundantly inharmonious.
It is altogether without unity, as was the idea of the deity of Bacchus in the conception of a Catholic.
“On the other hand, considered merely as a piece of workmanship, it has great merits.
The arms are executed in the most perfect and manly beauty; the body is conceived with great energy, and the lines which describe the sides and thighs, and the manner in which they mingle into one another, are of the highest order of boldness and beauty.
It wants, as a work of art, unity and simplicity; as a representation of the Greek deity of Bacchus, it wants everything."
Good morning on this 12th day of January.
We talked about dressing for the very cold.
And our bloggers sent in two comments.
From Tommie, a comment on the piece on gracefulness and a reply by way of a photo of Roger Federer.
And from Jim, more on seeing ghosts, a link to a relevant movie.
And we talked about Michelangelo’s Bacchus with pertinent photos.
Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?
See you soon.