So, on Sunday the museum ended up closing early, because of the ball game down the street. (Or rather, it closed early so we wouldn’t get stuck in the traffic when the game ended. The director is nice like that.) So, I thought I should take advantage of my newly free time to do something on the way home. Because I really didn’t want to dive into my reading, ’cause it’s on the dull side. (I’m so glad this class is almost over!)
A few weeks back, I tried to stop in at an antique mall that’s a bit outside my usual stomping grounds (actually, I only rarely stomp) but as I pulled into the parking lot, I’d seen the sign that said it closed at 5:00. And it had been 4:45 at the time. So I decided that was the day to go back and check it out. ‘Cause you never know what you might find.
I was surprised to see that there was a lot of activity going on; there was some kind of sale in the parking lot and on the sidewalk in front of the store. (Discount prices from some of the people who sell things inside, I suppose.) I looked around at the outside stuff, but most of it didn’t really appeal. (Translation: most of it was not vintage toys, and what few toys they had weren’t things I collect.)
So I went inside to look around. I had a little luck on the toy front, which I’ll post about on my other blog. But what I want to tell you about is something else I saw there. Something wonderfully apropos for this blog, and which struck me as more than a little funny.
I had noticed in a couple of the booths that they had little replicas of Greco-Roman statuary. (Not really famous pieces, apart from a somewhat shoddy replica of the Diskobolus, so I don’t know if they were Greek, Roman or merely in the ancient style.)
But then one of them caught my eye. According to the tag and the label on the thing itself, it was made in Rome, so presumably someone brought it home as a souvenir to use as a paperweight or just to sit on the shelf looking, uh, manly. The placard on the front of the base identified it as Hercules wrestling Diomedes. (It took me a while to get why it had to be those two in particular; Heracles’ lion skin had fallen off in the fight, and all that was visible was the lion’s head, down between his legs.)
What I was seeing, of course, was two naked men, one standing, and the other suspended in midair, his feet up above the other man’s head. So I was already chuckling a bit, even before I noticed what the one in midair–Diomedes of Thrace, he of the man-eating mares–was doing with his hand.
I’m not sure if the idea is that he’s trying to fight back, or keep Heracles from dashing him headfirst into the ground, or what, but he’d grabbed Heracles’ junk. Seriously, his hand wrapped fully around the whole package. When I saw that, I started cracking up. As best as I could do so silently, anyway.
If it hadn’t cost $65, I would have bought it in an instant. Honestly, I’m still kind of tempted, but $65 is a lot of money. (Okay, actually, it isn’t really; I spent more than that the last time I went to the book store. But it’s a lot to spend on something like that. Plus I’ve been overspending lately.)
Looking around on Wikimedia Commons, trying to discover if it was a famous work or some unique bit of souvenir art (targeting a particular demographic, perhaps), I found an image of a similar work. Or rather, I found another small replica, obviously based on the same original as the one I saw, but they’re really pretty different. The one on Wikimedia Commons appears to be larger (looks like, what, 12 or even 18 inches, whereas the one I saw was more like 6 inches) and there are actually a lot of pose differences. (I would post the picture here, but I’m not sure what the policy on WordPress is for posting images of naked men, even when they’re just statues like this one. So better safe than in trouble, right?) Anyway, as I recall the one in the antique mall, Diomedes was being held a bit higher in the air, and Heracles wasn’t facing quite as far away from him. (But he wasn’t facing close enough to him that anyone would think it was about to turn into a 69-type thing, of course!) Though the one on Wikimedia Commons is of a higher quality, I think I liked the one at the antique mall better.
I wonder if I could sneak my tablet in there and take a picture of it sometime? (That might come off as just a wee bit odd, huh?)
Anyway, apparently, the original is called Hercules and Diomedes, and it was by Vincenzo de’ Rossi, and is supposedly on display at the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy. Wikipedia didn’t have a listing for the sculptor, and the listing for the palace-turned-museum didn’t mention the piece, so beats the heck outta me. I’d like to see the original, though, for curiosity’s sake if for no other reason.
But I’m too
lazy busy right now to go look up the sculptor and see if I can find any photos of the original right now.
putting off doing my reading waiting for my professor to return my e-mail, I decided to run that search for the artist. Mid-16th century. Turned out there was a lot of information, and a huge number of photos and such. Here’s a bit I found about the sculpture and its history. That post has a photo of the real sculpture, as opposed to the replica on Wikimedia Commons and in the antique mall. (The question is, why aren’t there any photos of the real one on Wikimedia Commons? That seems decidedly odd to me.)