Friday, January 27, 2012

The Triumph of Winter

January 27th is the birth anniversary of the immortal Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer of Don Giovanni, 27 sublime piano concerto's and many other monumental classical works. Its also the birth-date anniversary of Lewis Carroll, an Oxford professor, author of Alice in Wonderland (1865) and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, author of Venus in Furs (1870). It is also World Holocaust Memorial Day. These are the main historical characters and events associated with my birthday.

Because this morning is frosty, with a return to real Winter temperatures, The Triumph of Winter (1568) by Antoine Caron (1521-1599) seems a fitting selection. Caron was a French painter of the Northern Mannerist school, an art movement sandwiched somewhere between the Renaissance and Baroque (c.1560-1610) which delighted in unusual perspectives, animated movement and scenes allegorical and mythological. The figure of Mercurius, a god closely associated with the art of alchemy, can be seen holding his Caduceus wand. Standing next to him is a dancing Bacchanalian violinist. Winter, sitting upon a chariot, drawn in procession by storks in harness, is Triumphant. Any of the four statuettes of the Layer monument would, dare I suggest it, not be incongruous or out of place in this decorative and theatrical winter scene. 
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