Saturday, April 12, 2008

babylon

I was standing in line to buy a ticket when a woman came up to me and asked me in French if I was going to see the Babylon exhibit. I said I was and she handed me a ticket. She started to tell me why she had an extra, but I couldn't follow her explanation. I must have looked dubious, because she said "yes, it's a real one." And it was.

The first part of the exhibit consisted of objects from ancient Babylon -- things like cuneiform tablets and mosaics of snake-necked dragons and gape-jawed lions from the great blue gate dedicated to the goddess Ishtar.

The second part of the exhibit gathered works about ancient Babylon, created after the city had been destoyed and was envisioned less as an actual place than as a archetype of hubris or wickedness. There was a whole room ringed with paintings of the Tower of Babel, each depicting a ziggurat rising to the clouds, looming like a strangely menacing wedding cake.

But what I liked best was a woodcut by Durer (see picture below), depicting the Whore of Babylon riding sidesaddle on my favorite symbol of evil -- the beast with seven heads and ten horns. I was inordinately pleased to see that Durer's beast looked vaguely like the sketch I drew awhile back. And (because it's kind of hard to see and I know you're wondering) there were two horns on three of the heads and one on each of the others.

12 comments:

Tash said...

Huh. Odd exhibit to find vindication I suppose, but there you go! (And how bad can she be, really, riding side saddle on the thing?)

Julia said...

Hey, riding that thing, sidesaddle to boot, must be the sign of a real bad-ass. I am thinking they are all just jealous.
Cool deal scoring the free ticket.

Rita said...

One of the reasons I love your writing: you have a favorite symbol of evil.

Maggie said...

How nice of her to give you a ticket! Even if the explination was a little hard to follow...

And what a cool sounding exhibit! And, like Rita, I love that you have a favorite symbol of evil!

luna said...

I love that the evil beast has been realized. do you feel at all vindicated as a visionary artiste? ~luna

allypally said...

Glad you and Albrecht are on the same evil page. Hope you had the same beautiful spring day that we had here in Brussels. It would have made standing in line tolerable. Tres gentil de la dame en plus!

Monica H said...

Cool a free ticket :-) I really like the mosaics.

a- said...

Paris sounds really nice Niobe. Thanks for solidifying the image as well. How'd you know it's been on my mind? ;)

m said...

She is totally bad-ass....

painted maypole said...

ha! i was wondering about the horns! ;)

i've had people do that to me, and I've done that others, when I've had an extra ticket to something. It's a great feeling from both ends, a true gift

Lisa b said...

Yay Free ticket!
I voted for that distribution of horns. It was the only one that made sense.

Antigone said...

mmmm....wedding cake