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Rome in Washington

Yesterday, I cried.  In public.

Yesterday, I went to the National Gallery of Art, to see the statue The Dying Gaul.  The Gaul lives in Rome, in the Capitoline Museum, where I saw him about two years ago.  We came across him at the end of a long day of sight-seeing, when our backs ached with “museum-ache”, when our knees refused to bend double, when our heads were full of beautiful sights and historical knowledge and countless tourist details.


And I was captivated.  I stood in a crowded room, ignoring the people who zoomed in with their cell phones so they could take a picture of the Gaul from all possible angles.  I forced my tortured knees to let me squat so I could look up into the Gaul’s face, and I told my back it could stretch out later, thank you very much.

For the second time since it was discovered on the grounds of a Roman villa in the early 1600s, the Gaul has traveled outside of Italy.  (The first time was when Napoleon claimed him for France.) He’s displayed (just until this Sunday) in the Rotunda of the National Gallery of Art here in DC.  He’s on a plinth that places him waist-high, so that there’s no kneeling necessary.  There were a dozen or so people around him, and two security guards, but far fewer viewers than in Rome.  (I was told that the crowd becomes ten-deep on weekends.)

And he’s every bit as captivating as he was in Rome.

The Dying Gaul

I don’t know why this work of art speaks to me so much.  I’m not an artist — I have no desire to sketch him or paint him in oils or to make my own maquette.  I don’t even *like* most sculpture — I know the way to talk about it filling space, and presence and voids, etc., but it almost never interests me.

But this piece does.

I want to tell his story.  I want to know who carved him.  I want to know what the bronze original looked like.  I want him to be real.

What works of art that speak to you, in a loud clear voice?

Mirrored from Mindy Klasky, Author.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2014 02:28 pm (UTC)
Wow. Some day I am going to come visit you and get culture...

That face--I think one of the things that appeals to me about it is that it looks like he *lived* not like so many of the young innocent faces on other sculptures.

I actually really like sculptures, if they are of real things...you know, like people...or dragons.
Mar. 12th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
I saw it in Rome.. and every time I see a picture of it, I remember a line about English spinsters viewing classic marbles, discussing the works, and it had something to do with the marble being "oh so cold" (I actually think it was a dirty joke to begin with, but, its such a line)
Mar. 12th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
A million miles from the real thing but if you enjoy him that much (or maybe enjoy is the wrong word), getting one of these guys might be nice
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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