Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ludovisi Throne

Continuing with my exploration of 5thC BCE Greek sculpture,
here's the Ludovisi Throne

As I have quickly discovered --
there's not that much to be found from this period --
or at least, not much that I like.
(I'm going to leave the Roman copies of it for another project)

But here's one that I love.

Unfortunately, when this piece was dug up in 1887,
it was unaccompanied by an explanation
of its iconography

Many of us moderns like to think of the above scene
as the "Birth of Venus"

But I take a slightly different view:

I think the above presents the transformation of girl into woman
(or virgin into nubile)

...since this accompanying scene shows us a younger girl,
a few years before the transformation

..while the other side of the "throne"
shows us an older woman, or crone,
several years after.

So what we've got is the three ages of woman,
a suitable furnishing for some kind shrine
devoted to female initiation.

Or --- even if it never got used that way in ancient times,
that's how I would use it
if I wanted to design such a temple

Isn't this lovely ?

Not so much as an especially attractive woman,
but as an ordinary woman
in a beautiful moment,
rising to meet her destiny

The sisters are helping each other,
yes, it's very sweet

(this jpg is larger, but the lighting was not
as good as the first one shown above)

and here's yet another viewing,
with yet another lighting,
and doesn't this show where
Joseph Bernard got his full, thick, slow
sense of feminine form ? (he was about 20 when this
piece was discovered)

This was probably
exactly the kind of thing
that men were forbidden to see,

the transformation to becoming sexual active
being secret and mysterious
as it should be.

So out of respect for its proper purpose,
only women should be allowed to view the
pictures on this post.

(note: additional pictures,
with alternate view-points and/or lighting
would be appreciated !)


Anonymous C. Rancio said...

There are many doubts about the authenticity of the Ludovisi Throne, but I think that if it was made at the XIX century, is even more extraordinary.

August 27, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

If the challenges to authenticity do not extend beyond the uniqueness of the postures or themes -- then I'd say they're too weak. (since the sculpture is too strong to be made by an unknown 19th C. forger)

But the Boston Throne is another story. That thing is a disaster!

Here's an interesting comparison.

August 27, 2007  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

As usual, you have an interesting reading of things. While Venus or Persephone may be the more correct answer, I like yours!

I would probably alter it a little, though. While one can look at the central panel as bridal or initiate into womanhood, the left-hand panel is clearly in the realm of eros. The naked woman has her hair sacked up in a net and plays a flute--several erotic forms there! Reminds me of the woodcut of Spenser's poor old Colin Clout, who breaks his bagpipe in "peeces," all for the love of cruel Rosalinde:

And I don't know if the other woman is so old. I'd suggest that one side may refer to the sensual "side" of woman and the other to the spiritual, at least if one can trust the little censer or whatever it is--some ritual object.

September 17, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

And who, other than the poet Marly, could better assign meaning to this ancient artifact of feminine cult ?

So now it's an initiation into womanhood -- on the one side sensual/erotic , on the other spiritual ?

A fine idea ! And definitely superior to the traditional Chinese notion that the sensual woman is "bad luck"

September 18, 2007  

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