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London/Mazara del Vallo Diary: Bronze
The Bronze exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts is about an almost indestructible material, rather than about a single artist/culture/period and its aesthetic. Humans have made art with bronze since close to 4,000 BC (there are pieces in the show of that era from Israel) and they continue to do so today. The Royal Academy has assembled works from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America that were produced over the last six thousand years. You would not be wrong to think of the show as a celebration of human creativity.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the dynamic figure of a Dancing Satyr, displayed alone to dramatic lighting in the show’s first room. A Greek work from the 3rd or 4th century BC, it was discovered by fishermen off of Sicily in 1998. The statue normally resides in Mazara del Vallo, a western Sicilian fishing port near Marsala. When earlier this week we entered the museum there that is dedicated to the piece, the ticket vendor apologized that the Satyr was not present. We reassured her that its absence was not a worry; we had seen it in London several weeks before. To our surprise, she quickly called over three of her colleagues to ask about the Royal Academy exhibit. How was the Satyr displayed? What did people think of it? Was it provided a prominent position in the show? The group was happy to hear that the Satyr had been given pride of place in London.
Perhaps the Italian state owns the statue, but, in fact, the guards and administrators at the Museo del Satiro think of it as well and truly theirs.
Addendum: The short film accompanying the Dancing Satyr in Mazara notes that the bronze shows none of the touching up that is evident in a copy. Though the museum’s director does not quite say so, he gently leaves you with the notion that his Satyr is Praxiteles’ original work.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…