Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Poseur's Guide to Art: Lesson #7

I gave the first six lessons in 2012 on this blog.  Given my standing as a political scientist among artists and art historians, these posts should really be called "An Idiot's Guide to Art," but I'd hate to invite a law suit. Click here to see "A Poseur's Guide to Art: Lesson #5."  Why?  Because it's a 1st Century portrait bust of Larry Freaking Bird, that's why.

In any case, Heather and I went to Santa Croce today, Florence's primary Franciscan church and the place where numerous Italians/Florentines of note are either buried or memorialized.  These include Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli (buried) and Dante, Marconi, and Enrico Fermi (memorialized).  This post is about Dante, whose earthly remains lie in Ravenna, but who is honored by an enormous funerary monument, shown here:


Two things to note: 1) Dante looks pissed.  Understandable given that he's, you know, dead.  2) Dante is ripped.  Is this historically accurate, Tony?  I know he was a soldier at one point, but was he Special Ops? Could Dante incapacitate critics of the Divine Comedy with a teaspoon and some dental floss?

So, Dante is pissed and he's kick ass, which suggests that he was the 13th century's answer to our own Chuck Norris. Is this also true? Did his contemporaries tell Chuck Norris jokes about Dante?  Or more accurately, do Chuck Norris's contemporaries tell Dante jokes about Chuck Norris? A quick check of the archives suggests an answer in the affirmative.  A few of my favorites:

  • Dante had a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear wasn't dead it was just afraid to move. 
  • There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Dante allowed to live.
  • Death once had a near-Dante experience.
  • When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Dante.

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