12 September 2006

why I get off track

These days I'm very busy with the docent classes, and trying to do some reading and quick research to stay on top of the material. But here's what happens:

- I learned a few weeks ago that there's a piece of art with Judith as the subject (in the Corcoran's new exhibition).

A quick warning: I really don't think anyone will find any of this offensive, but just in case, you should know that the painting I'm discussing is not of flowers and ladies with large hats. The subject is Biblical and violent, albeit in a very classical way - nothing will jump out at you or give you nightmares.

- One of the docents said that the piece was based on Carravagio's "Judith Beheading Holofernes" (or, better yet, if you speak Italian).

- I finally got around to looking up that painting, and reading more about Carravagio, and came across this tidbit: Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul Valéry’s secretary, said of him: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."

- Now, we could talk about "what modern means" all day (no, really, we could, and you'd like it!) but I got sidetracked by the link to Paul Valéry.

- As it turns out, Monsieur Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry is considered a polymath. (And not because he has four names.) ..quite a compliment for someone to put you in a category with people like Leonardo da Vinci, Goethe, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin.

- There are a few lists of polymaths on Wikipedia alone. Other than being disturbed that there are no women on any of these lists, I was otherwise entirely happily interested and intrigued.

And then I remembered I was trying to research a piece of art and its subject!!! How do I ever manage to get dressed and leave the house?!

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