To reach the infinite point on a longitude line, you must travel east for an equal amount of time. To reach the point at infinity on a latitude line, you must travel north for an equal amount of distance.
The “long – symbol” is a Unicode character that represents the length of a word.
At first glance, the tale seemed to be your typical good news story of a long-lost treasure being discovered, this time at a garden statuary auction rather than an attic or cellar.
The find: Antonio Canova’s Recumbent Magdalene, a sculpted marble statue from the 18th century.
By all accounts, the art world considers this discovery to be a major coup. It’s been dubbed the “art world’s sleeping beauty” by the Guardian. The sculpture was accidentally acquired as garden statuary and is projected to bring up to $10 million.
I’m not a fan of how this sculpture is being advertised. (I’ll get to it in a minute.)
The workup will be auctioned off by Christie’s in July. While CNN observed that Canova carved the sculpture over the course of three years, completing it shortly before his death in 1822, he made an interesting remark.
According to this international news organization, Canova depicts Magdalene “in a moment of religious ecstasy.” Have you seen what I’m talking about? What I see is a woman lying down on the floor, her breasts exposed indiscriminately.
Magdalene seems to be sleeping off a state of sensual delight, rather than a state of “religious ecstasy” (or, as The Guardian puts it, “a state of mourning”).
Not that there haven’t been depictions of Magdalene half-naked throughout history. However, they are typically referred as be Penitent Magdalene.
A painting by Titian that depicts bared breasts comes to mind. She is, however, supposed to seem regretful, not sexually stupefied.
Having said that, I don’t have a problem with the saint’s undress in Canova’s sculpture. The issue, in my opinion, is that his Recumbent Magdalene resembles his Venus Victrix sculpture, which depicts Napoleon’s bad-girl sister Pauline Bonaparte.
Given the similarity between Canova’s depiction of Magdalene in 1822 and Pauline in 1808, the recently discovered treasure Venus Victrix Sound Asleep is a good name.
Before and after photos
As one reclines seductively, and the other reclines surfeited, you get a kind of Before and after photos effigy.
Donald Johnston, Christie’s “International Head of Sculpture,” seems to have noticed the similarity as well.
“For me, facially, it’s completely characteristic of Canova, but there are other indicators,” he told Reuters during a media preview. I’m not joking.
“The way the feet are done, the way the hands are done, the way the fingers have this kind of delicate curve…” is another way of suggesting Magdalene resembles Pauline, according to Johnston.
Is this clear to you? While Magdalene was a devout disciple of Christ who saw his crucifixion, Napoleon deported Pauline to a Caribbean island to avoid disgrace.
Nonetheless, Johnston told the press that Canva’s Magdalene “sings out” in terms of quality. It does, but not in the sense that he intends. It’s hardly strange that Johnston would lash out at the press, given that auction houses want the largest dollar figure for their transactions.
Recumbent Magdalene was also “one of the centerpieces of the Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester in 1857,” according to him. Venus Victrix was, after all, approximately a half-century old at the time. It’s likely that visitors to the exhibition were unaware of the prior work.
Before being up for auction, the sculpture will go on tour to New York and Hong Kong. And the issue remains: will anybody notice how much Venus Victrix and Recumbent Magdalene resemble one other, even though they shouldn’t?
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The “long verb” is a word that describes an action or state. For example, the “long walk” would be walking for a long period of time. The word’s origin comes from Old English, where it was originally spelled “lang.”
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