Thursday, December 14, 2017
GLEAMING white marble and limestone sculptures dominate our image of the Mediterranean world in classical antiquity.
However, it is not generally known that ancient architecture and sculptures were once painted in vivid colours.
But now, thanks to technology, experts are delving into the "archaeo-polychromy" of ancient reliefs and sculptures. They use digital scanners to detect faint smidgens of pigment. And then they do computer projections of what the original must have looked like.
For 10 years now, the traveling exhibit GODS IN COLOR (original title in German: Bunte Götter – Die Farbigkeit antiker Skulptur) shows statues such as "Paris the Trojan Archer" (above), from the west pediment of the Aphaia Temple in Aegina, the way that scientists believe the Ancient Greeks intended them to look.
The exhibition opened in San Francisco on 28 October 2017 at the LEGION OF HONOR and runs through 7 January 2018.
The traveling exhibition has been seen in major cities on every continent and is still heading to new cities. Watch for it at a museum near you ....
The experts stress that these mock-ups are only "best guess scenarios" of what the originals must have looked like. And there are many, many possible variations. The result is very flat and uniform.
After all, the experts are going by only minute flakes of pigment on a chin or cheek to project the color of the entire face.
No doubt the Ancient artists used varying hues, so that this bust of Caligula (left) would look much, much more lifelike than it does here in this modern mock-up.
The experts claim that even bronze statuary was often gilded and painted. We think of bronze being beautiful when it has acquired a patina of greenish age. But the Ancients thought that was dreadful.
They went to great pains to keep their bronze statues polished so that they gleamed in the sun. They put gemstones in the eyes and they gilded the lips and the brows and eyelashes.
Be sure to watch for this traveling exhibition at a museum near you!
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
AMAZING meteor shower this week! Go outside about 20:00 hours (8 p.m.) and look up to see the GEMINIDS ... meteors shooting out of Gemini. The Geminid meteor shower appears every year about this time and is our best shooting star display, with more than 100 meteors appearing each hour. Sadly, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere the winter weather makes viewing bad. But if you are lucky enough to live in the Southern Hemisphere, you have a perfect view on a clear summer night!
Meteoro chuveiro incrível esta semana! Vá para fora cerca de 20:00 horas ( 8 pm ) e olhar para cima para ver os Geminidas ... meteoros que disparam fora de Gêmeos. A chuva de meteoros Geminid aparece todos os anos sobre este tempo e é a nossa melhor exibição estrela cadente , com mais de 100 meteoros aparecem de hora em hora . Infelizmente, se você vive no Hemisfério Norte o inverno torna a visualização ruim. Mas se você tiver sorte o suficiente para viver no Hemisfério Sul , você tem uma vista perfeita em uma noite de verão, claro !
Increíble lluvia de meteoros de esta semana! Salir a la calle a unos 20:00 horas ( 8 pm) y mirar hacia arriba para ver las Gemínidas ... meteoros tiro de Géminis. La lluvia de meteoros Gemínidas aparece cada año en esta época y es nuestra mejor visualización de estrella fugaz , con más de 100 meteoros que aparecen cada hora . Lamentablemente, si usted vive en el hemisferio norte el clima de invierno hace que la visualización malo. Pero si tienes la suerte de vivir en el hemisferio sur , se tiene una vista perfecta en una clara noche de verano !
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
THE Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe) is a Catholic feast that celebrates the belief that a man encountered the Virgin Mary, Mexico's patron saint, in Mexico City on December 9 and 12, 1531.
It was said that she was the reincarnation of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.
Born on the banks of the Rio Grande between the US and Mexico, Antonius Subia was inspired to paint this portrait of Antinous as Guadalupe.
I told them I had seen Antinous on the hilltop but they didn't believe me, something about drugs and alcohol and that I am a Mexican, and must be delusional.
So I let my poncho unfold and pink lotus flowers fell to the floor and behold there was a miraculous image of ANTINOUS on my poncho, by no means painted by human hands!
"Rebuild my Temple, Antonyus," he said to me in Nahuatl.
Monday, December 11, 2017
ON December 11th the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT ALESSANDRO ALBANI, who was an Italian aristocrat and cardinal, and a collector and patron of the arts.
It is largely thanks to Cardinal Albani that Antinous experienced a resurgence of interest in the 18th Century which continues to this day.
It is also believed that Albani secretly worshiped the Beauteous Boy as a gay god.
Albani became a trend-setter and an arbiter of taste. Albani, whose sexuality was ambivalent, and the openly gay Winkelmann more or less single-handedly launched a craze throughout the European aristocracy for Classical art.
When he was 29, by special dispensation from his uncle Pope Clement XI, Alessandro Albani was made a Cardinal, although he had never been a priest or member of a lower order.
Indeed, he would have preferred to pursue a military career. But chronic eye problems, which eventually resulted in total blindness in old age, convinced him to take up his uncle's generous offer.
He is said to have been a continuing cause of great concern to his uncle, due to his worldly and irreligious obsessions, first among these his passion for art.
Cardinal Albani used his vast wealth to collect Classical art, and to patronize artists of his day, such as Anton Raphael Mengs, and the "Father of Archaeology" Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who was an open homosexual.
The art collection of Cardinal Albani contained an extraordinary number of statues of Antinous, and these were studied by Winckelmann, who had taken up residence in the sprawling and very lavish Villa Albani outside of Rome (pictured at left).
And Antinous was the pre-eminent example of male beauty in Classical art. Every aristocrat in Europe wanted a statue or Antinous. And monarchs such as Frederick the Great of Prussia (who never married and favored intimate friendships with males) sent out experts to find statues of Antinous.
Thus, the science of archaeology was born largely through a desire by aristocrats to furnish their palaces with the sort of Antinous-style Classical art which Albani had made fashionable.
By the time he died on December 11th in the year 1779, it was rumored that Cardinal Albani, along with his intimate friends Winckelmann and neo-classicist painter Anton Mengs, had been secret worshippers of Antinous and Priapus.
It was asserted that they reinstated the religion of the Beloved Boy as a kind of underground cult along with other, unnamed persons.
For this reason, though based largely on rumor, Cardinal Alessandro Albani is sanctified as a Saint of the Religion of Antinous.
Although he was a Cardinal of the Catholic Faith, he may in fact have been the first High Priest of Antinous since the extermination of the ancient religion 1,300 years before.
Albani's secret cult ... assuming it truly existed ... is the only known predecessor since ancient times to the current Religion of Antinous.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
EGYPT on Saturday announced the discovery of two small ancient tombs in the southern city Luxor dating back some 3,500 years and hoped it will help the country’s efforts to revive its ailing tourism sector.
The discoveries prove once again that the sands of Egypt still have many mysteries ... and they raise hopes of one day finding the Lost Tomb of Antinous, if not in Egypt then elsewhere.
The tombs, located on the west bank of the river Nile in a cemetery for noblemen and top officials, are the latest discovery in the city famed for its temples and tombs spanning different dynasties of ancient Egyptian history.
"It's truly an exceptional day," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said. "The 18th dynasty private tombs were already known. But it’s the first time to enter inside the two tombs."
The ministry said one tomb has a courtyard lined with mud-brick and stone walls and contains a six-meter (yard) burial shaft leading to four side chambers. The artifacts found inside were mostly fragments of wooden coffins.
Wall inscriptions and paintings suggest it belongs to era between the reigns King Amenhotep II and King Thutmose IV, both pharaohs of the 18th dynasty.
The other tomb has five entrances leading to a rectangular hall and contains two burial shafts located in the northern and southern sides of the tomb.
Among the artifacts found inside are funerary cones, painted wooden funerary masks, clay vessels, a collection of some 450 statues and a mummy wrapped in linen who was likely of a top official.
A cartouche carved on the ceiling bears the name of King Thutmose I of the early 18th dynasty.
The Antiquities Ministry has made a string of discoveries since the beginning of 2017 in several provinces across Egypt ... including the tomb of a royal goldsmith in the same area and belonging to the same dynasty, whose work was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Amun.
TODAY is the 300th anniversary of the birth of the flamboyantly gay man who is the father of modern archaeology, our own Saint Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
Born in Stendal, Germany, on December 9, 1717, he is called the father of modern archaeology because of his scientific studies of the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy.
He was a student of classical art and his many writings, including the famous History of Ancient Art, are a testament to his adoration of the male form as manifested in Greek and Roman sculpture. He wrote openly about his homosexual relationships as early as 1763, and eventually found employment with Cardinal Allesandro Albani, whose art collection he catalogued.
Winckelmann is among the first to conduct a serious study of the art of Antinous, and to have written openly about the significance of the relationship between Hadrian and Antinous.
He is also believed to have been part of the first revival of the Religion of Antinous, and Priapus, led in secret by Cardinal Albani.
Winckelmann was murdered in his hotel room in Trieste by a young man with whom he was having a casual love affair, on the 8th of June 1768.
He was stabbed multiple times including repeated wounds to the groin, evidently out of sexual violence.
For his work as a student of the art of Antinous, and as an early believer the Religion of Antinous, and for the violence of his death, Johann Joachim Winckelmann is revered as an Innocent Martyr of the Religion of Antinous, perhaps the most specifically Antinonine of all those who died as a consequence of their desire for beautiful men.
Notice the painting above by Anton Von Maron. Winckelmann sits in a magnificent costume, gazing on an engraving of Antinous and writing his thoughts, as though the painter has distracted him from his meditation ... but we can be be sure that Winckelmann wanted us to know that Antinous was at the forefront of his thoughts.
THE most brilliant novel about Antinous to appear in over half a century ... THE LOVE GOD ... is authored by our own MARTINUS CAMPBELL, priest of Antinous.
While that sounds like biased praise, we Antinomaniacs are hard to please and would not hesitate to pick apart a poorly researched book or one that denigrated Antinous, even if it were written by one of our best friends ... perhaps especially if it were.
At the same time, a sycophantic book that presented Antinous as being cloyingly sweet and angelic would be unbearable and not believable.
So we are gratified (and greatly relieved) to report that this book truly is a remarkable work of historical fiction right up there with Marguerite Yourcenar's landmark MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN 60 years ago.
Martin traces the life of Antinous from the moment his tousle-haired head emerges from his mother's womb under auspicious stars in Asia Minor to the moment his head sinks beneath the swirling waters of the Nile on a starry evening in Egypt.
Antinous comes to life as a young man of breath-taking beauty who is filled with conflicting passions and loyalties. He is a young man who at times is naive, yet at other times worldly wise with an ability to see the world as it is ... and to describe it with at times brutal honesty to the most powerful man in the world.
Above all, this is a gentle love story between Antinous and Emperor Hadrian, himself a man of contradictory passions and priorities.
Martin himself is a man shares these passions. He has rebounded from a series of debilitating strokes to resume a daunting array of political activism for LGBTIU health and rights issues ... while working on this novel.
Based in a hilltop home overlooking the sea in Brighton England, he spent the best part of a decade researching this novel, retracing the footsteps of Antinous across Greece and Italy, as far north as Hadrian's Wall and as far south as the Nile in Upper Egypt.
Historical facts are excruciatingly accurate ... even the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of the birth of Antinous have been calculated to precision.
An academic scholar can read this book with satisfaction, noting obscure and arcane references which only the experts in the field of Antinology fully appreciate.
At the same time, however, this is a fun book to read even for those who have never heard of Antinous in their lives and who have no firm grasp of Roman civilization in the 2nd Century AD.
There is intrigue, skulduggery, near-death by lightning, getting lost in a subterranean labyrinth, a storm at sea, earthquakes ... and some fairly hot man sex as well, albeit tastefully brought to the page.
The narrator is the Classical Love God himself: Eros. He shoots his amorous arrows and ensures that Antinous and Hadrian fulfill the destiny which the Fates have in store for them ... despite efforts by certain people in the Imperial Court to thwart the Fates.
But the genius of this book is that there are no black-and-white villains or heroes. Antinous is a young man with all the problems and drives of late adolescence. Hadrian is a man with a mid-life crisis of doubt and regret.
Others such as Empress Sabina and her constant companion Julia Balbilla and their coterie of fawning courtiers and freedmen are not really hateful towards Antinous so much as they are simply perplexed by him.
They view him the way some members of the Royal Household might look at the favorite Corgi of the Queen, unable to comprehend her affection for it, her grief when it dies.
They whisper amongst themselves: What hold does Antinous have over Hadrian?
Just who does he think he is? And is he a threat to them?
What is so different about Antinous that Hadrian doesn't grow weary of him ... as he always has with previous toy boys?
Because they cannot understand how he fits in the scheme of Imperial court life, some really rather wish he would just disappear ... voluntarily or otherwise.
And through it all is the boyhood friend of Antinous who has accompanied him on this long journey with mixed feelings and with growing envy and jealousy.
The boiling emotions all stem from Eros, who winks knowingly at the reader as he shoots one arrow after another with unerring accuracy to ensure that Antinous fulfills his destiny ... to take his place alongside Eros as a God of Love.
The result is a richly entertaining and beautifully written novel which appeals to those seeking authoritative scholarly accuracy as well as readers who just want a riveting and memorable adventure yarn.
The Love God is available as Kindle and as a paperback ... CLICK HERE to order.