In 1641, the 26-year old parliamentarian Nicolas Fouquet, who was then the Master of Requests at the Parlement of Paris, acquired the viscounty of Vaux…View More An Invitation to Vaux-le-Vicomte
Tag: Greek deities
I’ve always had a fascination for Greek deities, an interest that makes me appreciate the art that has been created around their personalities.
As I was strolling through the National Gallery of Art one day, marveling at the Greek deities and Roman gods and goddesses involved in their adventures around nearly every corner, I was reminded of a wonderful summer I once spent immersed in classical mythology. The names forming the cast of characters came rushing back as I spotted a marble sculpture of a Nereid next to a bronze statue of Neptune; and saw a fleet-footed Mercury dance nimbly atop a fountain in the rotunda while one of Diana’s nymphs posed prettily on her pedestal.
Carved from marble by Jean-Louis Lemoyne, the latter was titled A Companion of Diana (shown below), and though she was chiseled from hardened stone, the fabric clinging to her rococo physique made her body seem downright supple. The statue was one of ten that Louis XIV commissioned for the grounds of his Château de Marly, each to serve as an artful representation of the goddess’s nymphs. After his death in 1715, Louis XV installed some of the completed statues in the forests of La Muette, another hunting retreat favored by the Bourbon kings.
Though the nymph drew me a bit off course when I spotted her, I wasn’t simply ambling at the time. I was making my way through the sculpture hall to find a painting I’ve always wanted to see in person—Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Apollo Pursuing Daphne. It was magnificent to stand in front of it and soak in the luminescence emanating from the chaotic scene. I am grateful to museums for housing such magnificent examples of art and I enjoy writing about them here on The Diary of an Improvateur.
Debating Da Vinci in Milan
This essay exploring the genius of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan is included in my most recent book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in…View More Debating Da Vinci in Milan
The Paris of a Pagan
This essay examining the military career of the last pagan emperor while he resided in Paris is included in my most recent book The Modern…View More The Paris of a Pagan
A Passion for Paestum
This essay featuring three important perceptions of the archaeological site in Paestum, Italy, is included in my new book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other…View More A Passion for Paestum
The Tapestry of History
In just a few hours, the modern ideal of a fairy tale wedding will take place at Windsor Castle. A trip I took to the…View More The Tapestry of History
Far from Oblivious in Bologna
If you find yourself strolling along the streets of Bologna near the city’s center, don’t be surprised if you turn a corner and come upon…View More Far from Oblivious in Bologna
My Porcelain Bucket List
When I am planning literary design adventures, I look for experiences that give me the feeling of transcendence—encounters during which I am conscious of having…View More My Porcelain Bucket List
Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled…View More Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
Rewriting the Myth of Pandora
I’ve always been fascinated by the myth of Pandora because the most widely accepted explanation of this parable—that feminine curiosity “is responsible for all the…View More Rewriting the Myth of Pandora
The Peacock Room à la Whistler
The most recognizable painting by artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler might lead you to believe he was as Puritan as his upbringing. The fact he…View More The Peacock Room à la Whistler