Sunday, September 20, 2015

Abel Iseyen Ancientman writes



Great men never die but sleep,

For sleep is just a rest from labour.

But even in sleep, their deeds journey on,

Gracing lives with interminable joy...


These men, to them, graves remain powerless,

For they're the sempervirent sky -

Hovering above the esoteric earth.

They're the loamy soil - where plants find comforts.

Yes, they're the salt of the world!


These men, they're the builders of Rome;

The architects of Eiffel Tower;

The painter of Mona Lisa - whose esoteric beauty 
speaks a million words.

They're the springs - quenching all thirst.

They're mentors of the new age.


Yes, there are men and there are men;

For some live to die

While others die to live.

These women, you can't find them in tombs

For the gluttonous graves just can't have it 
all! Selah


Awake from your slumber O my spirit!

Renew my strength that I may find joy in my toils.

Let me grow beyond the graves.

That someday, in a distant time,

When sleep finally embrace me, that I shall sleep to rise again.

Tour Eiffel Wikimedia Commons.jpgSee adjacent text.


  1. Abel's choices are ironic ones that say a great deal about the vagaries of time and fame. The tour de Eiffel had attracted 250 million visitors by 2010 but was at first considered an eyesore by many in the Parisian art establishment. Its design was begun in 1884 by two senior employees of the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel as a proposed entrance to the 1889 Exposition Universelle to be held in Paris to mark the centenary of the French Revolution; at first the firm's head, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, was not enthusiastic about the project as envisioned by his engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, but eventually became more supportive and assigned the company's chief architect, Stephen Sauvestre, to add some embellishments. When completed, it would be the world's tallest manmade structure. After construction began, the Committee of Three Hundred prominent intellectuals drafted a petition in protest, which read in part, "We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection ... of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower ... To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years ... we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal. ' But the project was completed, and the disenchantment continued in many quarters; for instance, the famed short story writer Guy de Maupassant was said to eat lunch in the tower's restaurant every day -- because that was the only place in Paris where the tower itself wasn't visible. it was originally been intended to be dismantled in 1909 but was allowed to stand because of its facilitated communications. However, in 1918, during World War I, Guillaume Apollinaire wrote a calligram in the shape of the tower, and the tower suddenly became a patriotic symbol for Paris and France as a whole. The structure remained the world's tallest until 1930, when it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York (eventually, an antenna was added to bring the tower to 324 meters, some 5 meters taller than the Chrysler but still far short of other buildings that had been erected in the interim.)

  2. John Lichfield called the "Mona Lisa" "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." But this was not always the case. The circumstances of its origin are murky, but the general consensus is that Leonardo da Vinci painted most of it between 1503 and 1506; he may have resumed work on it later, but it was probably completed after his death by his student Salaì (Leonardo himself regretted "never having completed a single work." it was first mentioned 31 years later by Giorgio Vasari in his biography of Leonardo, but it was not clear which work Vasari referred to (at least four different paintings have been suggested) or who the sitter was (at least 10 different people, including both Salai and Leonardo himself.) Most commonly, the painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. (In Italian, the painting is also called "'La Gioconda," meaning "the jovial one," a pun on the feminine form of the sitter's married name. It is also sometimes referred to as "Monna Lisa" because in some Italian dialects "mona" is a vulgar slang term for female genitalia.)

  3. Because of its association with Leonardo, the "Mona Lisa" was always a notable artwork, but not generally regarded as a masterpiece until the late 19th century, and then only by a small faction of Parisian intelligentsia. Between 1851 and 1880, artists visiting the Louvre only copied it about half as often as works by many other painters; the 1878 Baedeker guide book referred to it as merely "the most celebrated work of Leonardo in the Louvre." By 1883, it began to emerge as a popular satirical icon when Sapeck exhibited "Le rire" at the notorious Incoherents show in Paris, picturing Mona Lisa smoking a pipe. But true celebrity only arrived with its theft in 1911. In a fit of aesthetic denunciation, poet Guillaume Apollinaire had called for the incineration of the Louvre, so he was considered a suspect and jailed; he tried to implicate his friend Pablo Picasso, who was interrogated but released. Two years later the thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, tried to repatriate it by selling it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. In celebration, the painting toured all over Italy and wasn't returned to France until 1913. Peruggia was acclaimed a patriotic hero and served six months in jail. To capitalize on the scandal, in 1919 Marcel Duchamp displayed "L.H.O.O.Q.", a Mona Lisa parody adorned with a moustache and a goatee and an inscription, which when read out loud in French sounds like "Elle a chaud au cul" meaning: "she has a hot ass." In the 20th century the painting was reproduced in at least 300 paintings, 2,000 ads, and countless parodies. When Leonardo died, the painting we now identify as the "Mona Lisa" was purchased by François I for 4,000 écus (an écu was worth 36 3/4 sous), but in 2012 it was worth an estimated $760 million.


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