Tuesday, October 10, 2006


right makes might

Yesterday I went to the National Gallery of Art and visited a wing that I never really knew about/cared existed. To get there, you have to go past the cool temporary exhibits (eg, the one that is on display now - B & W photographs of old New York and its people), and make it through the neat sculptures and paintings by Rodin and Degas without being fully arted out for the day.

(I hadn't done a thorough examination of anything...I was more in a run-through, quick peep sort of mood. And I had seen the NYC exhibit when my brother had visited.)

Anyhow, so this little section has some religious art - stained glass windows, kneeling angels, etc. All very nice. It also had a display of old Italian medallions, and I got lost imagining the hands those medallions had passed through. Who had given them as gifts? Who had worn them around their necks? What did it mean to them? I know it's fanciful, and stupid to really think about, but I really wish that I could go back in time and observe. But maybe we don't know how to go back in time so that we don't spend all of our time watching other peoples' lives?

The last room in the series is big, with a fountain in the middle. I was the only one in there, and walked around slowly. My head down, I peered into cases. I'm a sucker for good names (give me "Man In a Hat," and I want to jump out a window), and one caught my eye - "Virtue Overcoming Vice," by Benvenuto Cellini.

I saw the title first, and fully expected some sort of motivational piece - some muscular virtuous person scaling a cliff, while a vice-laden person was chowing down on cake or something at the bottom.

Raising my eyes, what I saw made me laugh out loud. Virtue and Vice were people, of course. But instead of an inspirational scene, Vice was sprawled on the ground, and Virtue was standing on him. Not only that, but she had a huge stick in her hand, raised to clobber Vice.

Virtue didn't just have a moral victory, she had a physical victory. And although one might think that Virtue wouldn't technically win over Vice through physical violence, I think it shows that Virtue doesn't always have to be quiet, and weak, as it is often portrayed. Virtue can be strong. Willful. Ass-kicking in its splendor.

Ha! Meg, that's great!

Loved it!

I like to think of Virtue literally kicking some ass.
Have you seen the movie The Red Violin? I think you would enjoy it. Also, the soundtrack is AMAZING. But then again, I dig violin music. But the movie is still great. :)
tc: no kidding! It was great.

m: nope. I'll have to check it out! do you own it?
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